Monday, October 19, 2015 3:49 pm
Known for his roles in “Beverly Hills Cop”, “Trading Places”, and “Coming to America”, comedian Eddie Murphy has been awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Murphy joked that even his less popular projects contributed to his success.
“It’s all one body of work … because everything … all together leads to this moment — even the movies that didn’t work”, he said ahead of the ceremony on Sunday.
According to the Associated Press, Murphy offered a reminder of his willingness to do politically incorrect humor by offering some jokes about the 2009 Mark Twain award winner, Bill Cosby – who was one of his “heroes”.
Cosby has been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct,including allegations by many that he drugged and raped them.
Murphy joked that you know you’ve messed up “when they want you to give your trophy back”. He did an impersonation of Cosby refusing to give back his award.
The evening’s most emotional tribute came from Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan, who received a standing ovation from the audience. He called Murphy his “comedic hero”.
Morgan survived a serious car crash last year that left him in a coma. He said Murphy was the first person to call him on the phone and make him laugh after the tragic accident that killed one person and seriously injured two others
“He’s the reason I’m in comedy. He’s the reason I have a job. He’s the reason I have a career,” Morgan said.
Murphy called the prize a “tremendous honor”, but asked the center to clear up any confusion over the prize for future recipients.
“Actually, it’s an award, but they call it a prize,” he said. “Usually when there’s a prize, there’s money.”
The humor prize honors those who influence society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer and satirist known as Mark Twain. Past honorees include Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Richard Pryor.