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The Kennedy Center

Eddie Murphy

The 18th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: Eddie Murphy

Sunday, October 18, 2015 8:00 PM

The Kennedy Center will award the 18th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Eddie Murphy in an event featuring a lineup of the biggest names in comedy.

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The Kennedy Center awards the 18th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Eddie Murphy, one of America's--and the world's--foremost humorists in a star-studded show filled with fun and laughter featuring Dave Chappelle, Kathy Griffin, Arsenio Hall, Brittany Howard, George Lopez, Sam Moore, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Nealon, Trevor Noah, Jay Pharoah, Joe Piscopo, Chris Rock, and other special guests.
 
"We look forward to paying tribute to Eddie Murphy's important and lasting impact on American culture," said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. "Through his appearances on Saturday Night Live, groundbreaking stand-up comedy, and work as a movie star, Eddie Murphy has shown that like Mark Twain, he was years ahead of his time."
 
Upon learning he will receive the Mark Twain Prize, Eddie Murphy commented, "I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Kennedy Center and to join the distinguished list of past recipients of this award."
 
Eddie Murphy is the most commercially successful African American actor in the history of the motion picture business, and is one of the industry's top-five box office performers overall. Murphy is on the very short list of actors who have starred in multiple $100 million pictures over the past three decades, from Beverly Hills Cop to Daddy Day Care. He is also the voice of Donkey in the Oscar(r)-winning animated film Shrek and its sequels. Murphy began his career as a stand-up comedian nearly 40 years ago. In 1980, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, and went on to establish a successful career on the big screen.
 
Past recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize are Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, and Jay Leno.
 
The program will be taped by WETA Washington, D.C. for airing on PBS stations nationwide on November  23, 2015 (check local listings). For more information about the events surrounding the Mark Twain Prize, please email mtp@kennedy-center.org or call (202) 416-8335. Event reservations will be available through the Kennedy Center's Special Events Office on Monday, May 11.

Performance Timing: Two hours, with no intermission

Watch and Listen

Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Sizzle Reel