The Nutty Professor funnyman was the guest of honour at Spike TV’s Eddie Murphy: One Night Only special, which was kicked off by his Dreamgirls co-star Foxx.
He declared, “Not one comedian can tell you that they didn’t look at Eddie Murphy and want to be like him.”
Tracy Morgan then stepped out wearing Murphy’s signature red leather suit from his 1983 special Delirious, before joking, “I’ll tell you what Eddie’s real legacy is – he made comedy sexy.
“Before Eddie, young men like me had to choose between being sexy and being funny. But when Eddie came out in his fine-a** leather suit in Delirious, that’s when I realised, ‘Eddie! I can be sexy and funny at the same time!’ I don’t have to choose anymore.”
Sandler also referenced the stand-up TV show, telling guests, “I’m here to talk about one of the most legendary comedy specials of all time, Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. As I watched, I said to my father, ‘I want to be that guy when I grow up.’ My father said, ‘You can’t, you’re not black.’ My mother said to my father, ‘As far as you know.'”
Jackson also showed off his funny side in his tribute, adding, “Eddie Murphy is the man that changed the course of American film history, and I don’t exaggerate when I say that. He did it in 1987 when he gave me, Sam Jackson, my first big role in a major film (Eddie Murphy Raw), and thereby launched my career. If it weren’t for Eddie, the world would not have all the wonderful films I have made.”
Russell Brand, Chris Rock and Martin Lawrence also made appearances, but the highlight of the evening came when Stevie Wonder – who Murphy famously spoofed on U.S. comedy show Saturday Night Live – gave a surprise performance.
The star sang My Cherie Amour before Murphy joined him onstage to perform Higher Ground, leaving the crowd cheering and giving a standing ovation.
Opening up about the TV honour, Murphy says, “When you get an honour like this, you feel like an old person. I am a very, very bitter man. I don’t get touched easily, and I am really touched.”
The show is set to air in the U.S. on 14 November (12).