The PBS special for Eddie Murphy’s Mark Twain Prize at the Kennedy Center airs November 23rd. It was taped last night but there’s a part I doubt you will see when the show is put together. Accepting the prize, Murphy finally broke down and did his post-rape allegation Bill Cosby impression. Gut busting funny, the extended riff included Cosby bragging “I put the pill in the stomach” and Cosby threatening to get comedian Hannibal Burress, who blew the whistle on him.
Murphy simply savages Cosby in what could have gone one for an hour. The audience at the Kennedy Center was alternately gasping and howling as Murphy ripped Cosby to shreds. Certainly this piece will turn up on YouTube soon. But I doubt that PBS will include it in the final edit.
Murphy hasn’t done stand up in three decades, but he was just brilliant even before he got to Cosby, asking if he’d won a prize, where was the money? That part should make it to the show.
The guests who roasted Murphy included Saturday Night Live alumna Tracy Morgan, Kevin Nealon, and Joe Piscopo, who did a neat Sinatra imitation; current SNL star Jay Pharoah, plus Kathy Griffin, George Lopez and comic superstars Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle. Backstage, J.B. Smoove was a surprise guest. Smoove told me he’d heard about the show and drove down from Philadelphia. Plus, Sam Moore– just a few hours after laying it down with Justin Timberlake in Memphis–flew in and performed his classic “Hold On I’m Coming” with the remarkable Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes.
Also in the audience: the great Laugh In producer George Schlatter, and comedian-writer Bruce Vilanch. Kudos to producers Mark Krantz and Peter Kaminsky, among others.
This is a VERY edited version of what Eddie said. The real thing goes on and on, and is hilarious and savage:
Whatever PBS includes, the Eddie Murphy special is going to be a big hit. The show wisely concentrates on Eddie’s SNL years and his stand up, with some, but not a lot, of focus on his movie career. What you do get over the two hours is a clear sense of Murphy’s early comic genius. His work, like the “Mister Rogers” parody and “C-I-L-L My Landlord,” stands up very well over time.
By the way, I’m told that in 2016 we’ll see an independent movie currently titled “Cook,” which could earn Eddie an Oscar nomination for 2017. The movie is quietly being shown to distributors right now. From the sound of it, “Cook” might wind up at Sundance.
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