Eddie Murphy will receive this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center announced. The annual prize is awarded for “a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with [an] uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly” according to a release from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Eddie Murphy found a resurgence in media coverage following his (short) appearance on the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special and rumors of a return to stand-up. He was also recently cast to play the father of Richard Pryor, the first-ever Mark Twain Prize recipient, in an upcoming biopic starring Mike Epps. Murphy commented that he is “deeply honored” by the announcement
“Through his appearances on Saturday Night Live, groundbreaking stand-up comedy, and work as a movie star, Eddie Murphy has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time,” said Deborah F. Rutter, the Kennedy Center’s president. The Delirious comedian will be honored on Oct. 18 in a recorded ceremony which will be broadcast on TV. Previous recipients include George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Tina Fey. was honored last year after his newsworthy departure from The Tonight Show.