Eddie Murphy Concludes Cecil B. DeMille Award Speech With Will Smith Slap Joke

Eddie Murphy at Golden Globe Awards - Season 80
Rich Polk/NBC

Hollywood veteran Eddie Murphy received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton hotel, and like the iconic comedian he is, he took a moment to make a joke (at Will Smith‘s expense) during his acceptance.

The HFPA organization has honored the award to various performers since 1952 and is “presented to a talented individual for their outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.”

In the middle of the evening celebration, fellow Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan took to the stage to present Murphy with the honor, stating the comedian is the reason he got into comedy, calling the veteran a comedian rockstar. He mentioned acclaimed films he’s starred in, like Beverly Hills Cop, Harlem Nights, and Doctor Dolittle. After telling the audience what an honor it was for him to present Murphy with the tribute, Morgan stood aside as a reel of Murphy’s best roles began to play, featuring everything from Norbert and his time on SNL to his voice talents in Mulan and Shrek.

Jamie Lee Curtis, his co-star in the film Trading Places, also took the stage to honor the artist, praising his evolution and his career as a friend.

Murphy then came up to accept his award, first thanking the HFPA organization alongside his family, team, and a handful of producers. He closed by speaking to the dreamers and newcomers in the audience, informing them there’s a blueprint for achieving success, longevity, and peace of mind. There are three things: pay your taxes, mind your business, and “keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out your f***ing mouth!

“We’re honored to present this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award to the iconic and highly esteemed Mr. Eddie Murphy,” said HFPA President Helen Hoehne during the initial announcement. “We’re thrilled to be celebrating the lasting impact on film and television that his career – in front of and behind the camera – has had through the decades.”

Recent honorees include Jane Fonda (2021), Tom Hanks (2020), Jeff Bridges (2019), Oprah Winfrey (2018), Meryl Streep (2017), and Denzel Washington (2016).

Admit the controversy and subsequent boycott of the Golden Globe Awards following concerns over diversity at the HFPA (which had no Black members at the time) — among other accusations — there was no recipient in 2022.