Eddie Murphy accepted the "tremendous honor" as his girlfriend Paige Booker and kids watched from their balcony seats

By Arnesa A. Howell
Updated October 19, 2015 10:50 AM
Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

Eddie Murphy‘s had a change of heart.

It’s been decades since the actor brought his humor to the stand-up circuit, and fans finally got a long-awaited taste of his comedic roots as he accepted the coveted Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 18, and delivered his much-talked about Bill Cosby impression.

Walking onstage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to accept a prize previously given to his comedic inspiration and mentor Richard Pryor, Murphy said he was honored to receive an award that has been taken home by his “heroes.”

“It’s a wonderful thing to be included with some of my heroes – Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Carl Reiner, Lily Tomlin, who else? Bill Bill has one of these,” Murphy said as the audience erupted in laughter, asking if Cosby was made to “give his back?”

Murphy then launched into his best Cosby impression: “I would like to talk to, some of the people, who feel that I should give back my m———— trophy.”

The actor made headlines for declining to play the disgraced comedian during Saturday Night Live‘s 40th anniversary special earlier this year.

“Just because you may have heard recently that I allegedly put pills in the people’s chocolate,” Murphy continued in Cobsy’s famous tone. “I’m not giving back s—.”

Murphy accepted the “tremendous honor” as his girlfriend Paige Booker and kids watched from their balcony seats.

See Eddie Murphy in 1982 Bill Cosby SNL Sketch!

While Murphy brought laughs to the star-studded audience – which included comics like Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and Kathy Griffin – he told PEOPLE earlier on the red carpet that his fans might be surprised to learn his humor stops at the stage door.

“I’m really not that funny behind closed doors. I’m a very serious man,” he admitted, posing a straight face. “I’m only funny when I leave the house.”

Murphy told the crowd that he was happy to be standing before an audience “alive, and looking like myself still.”

Eddie Murphy: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize will air on PBS stations nationwide on Nov. 23, 2015, at 9 p.m.