WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, George Lopez, Kathy Griffin and Arsenio Hall were among the humorists on hand as the Kennedy Center honored comedian Eddie Murphy as an "American Icon."
Murphy was presented with the nation's top award for humor, the Mark Twain Prize at a gala at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night.
Among the speakers was Tracy Morgan, who offered a heartfelt tribute to his fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum. Morgan, who recently recovered from a serious car crash, said that Murphy had been his "comedic hero" and an inspiration for Morgan to take up comedy. The accident, which left one dead and several seriously injured, left Morgan in a coma. Morgan said that Murphy was the first person to make him laugh after he woke up.
"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 said that the recognition was a tremendous honor, but playfully took exception to the appellation of prize.
"Actually, it's an award, but they call it a prize," he said. "Usually when there's a prize, there's money."
Murphy also used the opportunity to take a poke at beleaguered fellow comedian Bill Cosby who is now facing dozens of allegations of sexual misconduct. Murphy noted that Cosby had also won the Mark Twain Prize and wondered aloud about the movement to make Cosby return the prize. "You know you've fucked up when they want you to give your trophies back," he joked.
Murphy then did a spot-on impression of Cosby arguing to keep his award.
The tribute will be aired on PBS on Nov. 23. – Staff Writers