Bill Murray accepted the nation’s top honor for comedy on Sunday, the John F. Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and although Murray was incredibly gracious in his acceptance speech, he almost had to skip the event.
Murray’s favorite baseball team the Chicago Cubs clinched the pennant by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, and had the Dodgers forced a game seven, Murray might have attended the game instead of the prestigious award ceremony. “I’m glad they won last night so I could be here this evening,” Murray told The New York Times. “If they hadn’t won last night I would have had to have been there, because, honestly, I do not trust the media to report the story.”
As you might expect, Murray’s acceptance speech included both heartfelt thanks and jokes at the Kennedy Center’s expense. “As much as I dreaded this, I really had to come back to this idea that there is love,” Murray said, adding that he owes much of his success to his older brother Brian. “My brother had more guts than anyone I ever knew, and the only reason I’m here tonight is because of the guts of my brother Brian. He’s been waiting a long time to hear that.”
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has been awarded every year since 1998, when Richard Pryor won. Before the ceremony began, Murray told People that the significance of winning the award still hadn’t quite sunk in yet. “I’m not really processing it too well,” Murray said. “It’s sort of like winning the lottery, or something really lucky.”