Last night's first annual Comedy Awards ceremony was filled with unforgettable moments, including Eddie Murphy's acceptance of the Comedy Icon Award. But the biggest and most prestigious award came at the end of the show, when Bill Murray presented late night legend David Letterman with the inaugural Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence.
Murray began by describing what it was about Johnny Carson that made the Tonight Show host such an incomparable comedy giant. He followed that by demonstrating great reverence for Letterman, calling him "the most important person in late night," and making it very clear why Letterman was the obvious choice to be the award's first recipient.
Then, in one of the most special moments of the entire night, Letterman took to the stage, entering from behind Johnny Carson's original Tonight Show curtain, which had not been publicly displayed in nearly 20 years. Letterman got his first of many laughs by congratulating Murray for reaching the point in his career at which he got to introduce curtains.
In his acceptance speech, Letterman was humble, gracious and hilarious, equating the honor to NASA awarding the Neil Armstrong Award to the balloon boy. He also expressed deep respect and admiration to both Murray and Carson, and in keeping with the night's previous speeches, dropped a well-received f-bomb.
Letterman closed his speech and the evening by declaring, "God bless basic cable. Goodnight."
To see David Letterman accept the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence for yourself, be sure to tune-in for the premiere of The Comedy Awards, Sunday, April 10 at 9/8c simultaneously on Comedy Central, Spike TV, CMT, Logo, TV Land, VH1 and Nick at Nite.