Eddie Murphy delivered a rare stand-up set with the very thing he didn't want to do a few months ago: a Bill Cosby joke.
Murphy received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night, where he took to the stage for his first stand-up performance in 28 years. Back in February, we learned via a tweet from former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Norm Macdonald that Murphy had declined to portray Cosby on the "SNL" 40th anniversary special, not wanting to "kick a man when he is down."
But Murphy wasn't holding back on Sunday. "Bill has one of these," the Oscar-nominated comedian joked, referring to the Mark Twain bust that honorees receive. "Did you all make him give it back?” (Several universities have revoked Cosby's honorary degrees in the wake of his numerous sexual abuse allegations.)
Murphy then morphed into Cosby's sing-songy lilt, saying, "I would like to talk to some of the people who feel that I should give back some of my motherf**king trophies." Continuing in his best "Pudding Pop" voice, a callback to his Cosby impression from his famous 1987 stand-up film "Raw," Murphy reportedly said, "You may have heard recently that I allegedly put the pill in the people's stomach ... If I ever see or meet this Hannibal Buress in person, I am going to try and kill this man!"
Days earlier, Murphy had explained his decision not to do Cosby at the "SNL" anniversary tribute: "There's nothing funny about it," he told The Washington Post. "If you get up there and you crack jokes about him, you’re just hurting people." But Arsenio Hall, who was at Sunday's celebration, told the Post that Murphy discussed the potential Mark Twain bit with him and Chris Rock, eventually changing his tune. “[Murphy] said, ‘Because Cosby gonna get sick of this soon, he’s gonna get sick of people hating, and eventually he’s gonna have to say something,’” Hall said of Murphy's decision. “And we were like, ‘That is funny, man. Are you willing?'”
You can see a snippet of the set around the 2:25 mark in this video from The Associated Press. A full broadcast of the event airs Nov. 23 on PBS.
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