Legendary comedian Eddie Murphy accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in New York on Sunday night and told his first joke on stage in almost three decades.
“Bill (Cosby) has one of these,” Murphy said. “Did y’all make Bill give his back?”
“I know there was a big outcry from people, they was trying to get Bill to give his trophies back. You know you fucked up when they want you to give your trophies back,” Murphy said.
He then launched into his Cosby’s impersonation, marked by the voice Cosby made famous in his Jello Pudding Pop commercials.
“You may have heard recently that I allegedly put the pill in the people’s stomach,” Murphy said in a Washington Post write-up of the night. “…If I ever see or meet this Hannibal Buress in person I am going to try and kill this man!”
Murphy previously declined to perform his Cosby impersonation on the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live.”
From the Washington Post:
“I totally understood,” Murphy says, speaking about the anniversary show for the first time. “It was the biggest thing in the news at the time. I can see why they thought it would be funny, and the sketch that Norm [Macdonald] wrote was hysterical.”
So why not?
“It’s horrible,” he says. “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. I was like, ‘Hey, I’m coming back to SNL for the anniversary, I’m not turning my moment on the show into this other thing.’ ”
Watch part of Murphy’s set at 2:20 in this video from the Associated Press: