Dave Chappelle To Receive Mark Twain Prize

Dave Chappelle will be the recipient of this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The honor, in its 22nd year being handed out by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, will be bestowed at an gala performance event October 27 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain. Richard Pryor received the first honor in 1998. Recent recipients include Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Jay Leno, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, David Letterman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus last year.

“Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,’” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective. Dave is a hometown hero here in Washington, D.C., where he grew up. We’re so looking forward to welcoming him back home.”

Chappelle was the mastermind behind the 2003 sketch comedy hit, The Chappelle Show—one of the highest rated programs on Comedy Central. The show earned three Emmy nominations and went on to become the best-selling TV show in DVD history.

Chappelle won his first Emmy in 2017 for his debut episode on Saturday Night Live. He celebrated his 30th year in comedy that same year by releasing four stand-up specials on Netflix, all of which won Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album in 2018 and 2019. He captured his second Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special with Equanimity in 2018.

His feature film credits include Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, Undercover Brother, Screwed, Blue Streak, 200 Cigarettes, and You’ve Got Mail, among many others.

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