Presenting the honour to his pal at the Dolby Theater, Martin joked he knew nothing about his fellow Brit and had to rely on a script awards show bosses had given him.
He had Elton and his husband David Furnish chuckling as he said, "Elton John was born in the U.S.A. He and his collaborator, Bernie Sanders, lived and worked together in an apartment that his partner David furnished."
And he got a little racy when he added, "My favourite Elton songs are the romances, particularly the one he wrote for his husband's parents, Don't Let Your Son Go Down on Me", referring to Elton's track "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."
Lil Nas X then introduced H.E.R., Demi Lovato, and Brandi Carlile, who performed a musical tribute to the icon - H.E.R. tackled "Benny & the Jets", country star Carlile sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", and Demi belted out "I'm Still Standing".
Martin then returned to fill 30 seconds of the broadcast and after learning that his brief personal tribute wasn't long enough, he gave the censors a heart attack when he said, "Are we still on TV? We're still on (live TV). Oh f**k me. Oh s**t!"
Accepting his prize, Elton said, "I'm very humbled because when I first came to Los Angeles in 1970 radio was so important... I was a pig in s**t, basically. But I have to say radio is such an important thing to all others; that's where you hear things, that's where you discover things..."
"I still covet new artists - that's what my life is about now. When I do my shows, I try and promote young artists because they need exposure, they need the radio. I've had my time... I'm still glad people play my records."
He also honoured Lil Nas X, adding, "He is a wonderful artist and has balls of steel."