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Kennedy Center Announces 2019 Mark Twain Prize Talent Lineup

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A lineup of leading performers, including Bradley Cooper, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart, John Legend & Chrissy Teigen, and others will salute Dave Chappelle at the 22nd annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 8 p.m. The program will pay tribute to the humor and accomplishments of Chappelle, and will be broadcasted on PBS stations on January 6, 2020. On-sale and ticketing information for this event will be available at a later date, and sponsorship packages and Party Passes for the Mark Twain Prize gala performance are on sale now.

Capital One is the Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor as part of the bank’s three-year, $3 million gift to fund Comedy at the Kennedy Center, a signature program at the Center focused on elevating comedy as an art form and uniting the community through laughter. The event will be co-chaired by Tamia and Grant Hill.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor 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. As a social commentator, satirist, and creator of characters, Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly.

As recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Chappelle will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853–1940). Previous recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize are Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016), David Letterman (2017), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2018).

The 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is under the direction of the creative team from Done + Dusted, the Kennedy Center’s producing partner for the Mark Twain Prize since 2018. This year’s ceremony marks the 22nd consecutive year that the Kennedy Center’s marquee comedy award will be broadcast nationally on PBS (January 6, 2020 at 9 p.m. ET; check local listings). 

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. Feature film credits include Bradley Cooper’s award-winning remake of A Star is Born, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, Undercover Brother, Screwed, Blue Streak,  200 Cigarettes, You’ve Got Mail, Woo, Half Baked, The Real Blonde, Con Air, Joe’s Apartment, The Nutty Professor, Getting In, Undercover Blues, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. In 2000, Chappelle recorded his first hour-long special in Washington, D.C. for HBO, Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly. Chappelle’s second comedy special, Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth, was filmed in San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium and aired on Showtime in 2004.

For more information, please visit the Mark Twain Prize website.