Eddie Murphy, famous for his stand up routines, films and his early breakout on “Saturday Night Live,”will be awarded the nation’s top prize for humor this year by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, officials said Thursday.
Murphy, 54, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 18 in a show that will be broadcast nationally. The humor prize honors those who influence society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer, satirist and social commentator better known as Mark Twain.
Through his work, Murphy “has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter.
Tracy Morgan, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson have all hailed Murphy for his influence and for breaking new ground in films. Morgan has called Murphy his “comic hero” and saidMurphy set the tone for the entire industry long ago.
In a written statement, Murphy said he was deeply honored by the recognition and to join the list of past recipients of the Twain Prize. Past honorees include Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey and Whoopi Goldberg.
Murphy has had a “consistently brilliant comedic career” in many different aspects of comedy, said Cappy McGarr, one of the humor prize show’s executive producers.
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