Eddie Murphy was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday night during a prestigious ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
But it wasn't the recognition of Murphy's pioneering work on Saturday Night Live and in multiple Hollywood blockbusters that caught everyone's attention...
...it was Murphy's comments on Bill Cosby, himself a Mark Twain Prize recipient, and Cosby's massive sexual assault allegations scandal.
Murphy also trotted out his famous Cosby impersonation.
Murphy put on his best Cosby face and, continuing in character, attacked comedian Hannibal Buress, whose stand up routine calling Cosby "a rapist" helped spark the current wave of accusations.
These are Murphy's first remarks on stage about the Cosby scandal, especially notable since he famously refused to mock Cosby on the SNL 40th anniversary special. Norm Macdonald attributed Murphy's reluctance to "not wanting to kick a man when he's down."
Murphy elaborated on declining to make fun of Cosby on SNL in a recent Washington Post interview:
"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.' "