Bill Murray Receives Mark Twain Prize For Humor

When I die, I want to be reincarnated as Bill Murray. Some people dream to be rich and famous; I’d like to be the guy that can crash White House press briefings, or weddings and dispense marriage advice.

Every guy can quote Murray’s “Cinderella Story” from Caddyshack verbatim, but there’s more to him than Carl Spackler or just being a funny guy. Here is a man who is elusive and hard to reach (he doesn’t have an agent or publicist) but who is also quirky and considerate. This past Sunday night at D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Murray received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, joining the likes of Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, and Saturday Night Live alumni Steve Martin, Tina Fey, and Will Ferrell among others.

And what did he do after being presented the award? He handed it to someone in the first row and urged the crowd to pass it around.

The evening was lively with some heartfelt emotion when former host of The Late Show, David Letterman, made a rare public appearance. Murray was a guest on his program 44 times over the years and they grew close off camera, as the two spent time in Letterman’s vacation home in Montana.

The Kennedy Center turned into a comedy factory as the evening went from honoring Murray to roasting him. Roasters included Jimmy Kimmel and Aziz Ansari. But the best rib may have been from Sigourney Weaver.

“I worked with Bill on two Ghostbusters movies and we did this love scene. … Where the hell is my prize?”

The show wasn’t without flaws as pop singer Miley Cyrus let out a few curse words after botching lyrics to “My Way.” Not to fear – Bill Murray came to her rescue.

I’m surprised it has taken Murray to get the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Here is one of the original Saturday Night Live players who had a meteoric rise in movie comedies in the 1980s before switching to more dramatic work. He picked up an Oscar nomination for Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. He’s also been a frequent collaborator with director Wes Anderson, has worked with Jim Jarmusch, and recently voiced Baloo in the live-action version of Disney’s The Jungle Book. As for what’s next for Mr. Murray? Chances are he’ll be rooting for his Chicago Cubs during the World Series. He may even come to your house just because he can and no one will believe you.

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