WASHINGTON — Out of a star-studded lineup of top actors, comedians and musicians in attendance at the Kennedy Center to toast Bill Murray, it was Miley Cyrus who generated the most attention from the honoree.
After Cyrus botched her performance at Sunday night's salute to Murray, who received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the actor stood from his seat in the balcony and declared, "We're safe now. How 'bout those pipes? Do it again! Do it again!"
"This is live entertainment!" shouted Murray, 66, as the audience roared with laughter. "This is happening now in Washington, D.C. — the 51st state! If it had statehood, that wouldn't have happened!"
And so Cyrus gave it a second shot, nailing the lyrics and cleaning things up for the version that will broadcast Friday on PBS as Bill Murray: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize (check local listings for times).
While Cyrus garnered laughs for her expletive-filled snafu, the evening was filled with many touching moments.
A bearded David Letterman showed up to honor Murray, who was a guest on his late-night shows 44 times. They became good friends, and Letterman spoke of how in 2003 he received a package at his office containing a handmade Irish christening gown. Earlier, he had mentioned to Murray that his son, Harry, was to be christened that weekend. "That Saturday, my son, in Bill Murray's christening gown, was christened at St. Ignatius in Manhattan, and we have this memory, we have this gift, we have this gesture for the rest of our lives," Letterman said.