Actor Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California

Actor Eddie Murphy speaks onstage during the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California

*Eddie Murphy will head to Washington DC this fall to receive this nation’s top prize for humor by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Officials announced Thursday that the comedian, 54, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Oct. 18 in a show that will be broadcast nationwide.

The humor prize honors those who influence society in the tradition of Samuel Clemens, the writer, satirist and social commentator better known as Mark Twain.

Through his work, Murphy “has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter.

In a written statement, Murphy said he was deeply honored by the recognition and to join the list of past recipients of the Twain Prize. Past honorees include Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Tina Fey and Whoopi Goldberg.

Murphy has had a “consistently brilliant comedic career” in many different aspects of comedy, said Cappy McGarr, one of the humor prize show’s executive producers. “He is truly a transformative comedian and humorist,” McGarr said. “Like Mark Twain, he talks about provocative issues and he is really, really funny while doing it.

Murphy’s films have been among the highest-grossing comedies, including “48 Hours,” “Trading Places,” “Dr. Dolittle” and “Coming to America.”