There are few comedians, or entertainers of any kind really, that get the amount of love that Bill Murray does from people of all ages. He has had a massive impact on comedy for more than three decades, and he is about to receive a very big honor for his accomplishments. The Ghostbusters actor and former Saturday Night Live cast member will be receiving the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year, becoming the 19th recipient of the award.
The Kennedy Center recently made the announcement that Murray will be this year's recipient of the award, which is meant to honor people who have made a significant impact on American society, through the medium of comedy. Murray will be receiving the award during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on October 23, which will feature a lineup of entertainers to salute him and his accomplishments. Murray responded to the honor in a statement shortly following the announcement. Here is what he had to say.
"I'm honored by this award and by its timing. I believe Mark Twain has rolled over in his grave so much for so long, that this news won't disturb his peace."
Bill Murray will be in very good company in receiving this award, as a lot of very well respected comedy legends have received it before him. Last year, it was Eddie Murphy who took home the prize for his trailblazing work in movies like Beverly Hills Cop, and for his stand-up. Other past recipients of the prize include Steve Martin, Ellen Degeneres, Richard Pryor, Tina Fey, George Carlin, Lily Tomlin and Bob Newhart. Not a bad group to be a part of, and Murray seems very deserving of having his name included in that bunch.
His career has spanned four decades, but starting in the early 1980s, Bill Murray became one of the biggest comedic stars on the planet. With roles in movies like Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day, his place among comedy royalty was cemented even before he turned in some of his best performances. In the late 90s and throughout the 2000s, Murray, working with directors like Wes Anderson, also started taking on some more dramatic roles, all while maintaining his classic, comedic sensibility. Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter heaped praise upon Murray in a statement following the announcement that he would be receiving the award this year.
"His brilliant wit and infectious spirit continue to inspire our laughter across generations both on and off the screen. His unique brand of humor seems to defy time itself - always remaining relevant and relatable to new audiences - much like our award's namesake,"
The event is taking place on Sunday, October 23 at 8 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington D.C. If you happen to be in the area, tickets for the event are available, starting at $75. There is no word on whether or not the event will be live streamed or televised, but it doesn't seem likely since they haven't released any information suggesting that will be the case.