Comedian Eddie Murphy recently received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and delivered a rare stand-up set with the very topic he refused to joke about: Bill Cosby.
Murphy was awarded on Sunday at the Kennedy Center, taking to stage his first stand-up performance in 28 years. Upon receiving the award, he joked, “Bill has one of these. Did you all make him give back?”
To put this into context, several universities have revoked Cosby’s honorary degrees in light of his several sexual abuse allegations. Cosby was a previous recipient of the Mark Twain award in 2009.
Previously, Murphy explained his reasons for declining to reprise his Bill Cosby role on the Saturday Night Live anniversary tribute, stating, “It’s horrible. There’s nothing funny about it. If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people. You’re hurting him. You’re hurting his accusers.”
So why was he singing a different tune this time?
Fellow comedian Arsenio Hall, who was present at Sunday’s celebration, explained Murphy’s sudden change of heart. Murphy had apparently spoken to him and actor Chris Rock regarding his stint at the awards show.
“[Murphy] said, ‘Because Cosby’s gonna get sick of this soon, he’s gonna get sick of people hating, and eventually he’s gonna have to say something,” Hall explained. “And we’re like, ‘That is funny, man. Are you willing?’”
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia
Besides the Mark Twain Prize, other accolades Murphy has received include the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for his work in American musical drama, Dreamgirls. He also took home the Saturn Award in 2002 for The Nutty Professor.
Murphy was last seen on the big screen with his film, A Thousand Words, in 2012. He wrapped up the filming of his new movie, American drama Henry Joseph Church early this year. Henry Joseph Church is set to hit the cinemas in 2016.
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