The 16th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
A star-studded lineup of the nation's top comedic entertainers will salute Carol Burnett at the 16th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, October 20, 2013. The Prize, which is named in honor of one of the world's greatest humorists, will air on PBS stations nationwide November 24, 2013 (check local listings).
"From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters," stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "We are delighted to pay tribute to this unique and beloved entertainer."
Upon learning she will receive the Mark Twain Prize, Carol Burnett remarked, "I can't believe I'm getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington."
As a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Carol Burnett will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940) at the awards ceremony on October 20, 2013. The event is created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and executive producers Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and Cappy McGarr.
Special Event Packages are available at the $50,000; $25,000; $10,000; and $5,000 levels. Single tickets are $1,000 each.
The proceeds from the evening's event are used to support the Kennedy Center's programs, performances and outreach activities.
About Carol Burnett
Carol Burnett, award-winning actress and best-selling author, is widely recognized by the public and her peers for her work on stage and screen, most notably The Carol Burnett Show. Named in 2007 by TIME magazine as one of "100 Best Television Shows of All Time," The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 years, averaged 30 million viewers per week, and received 25 Emmy Awards, making it one of the most honored shows in television history. But it is Carol's artistic brilliance, her respect and appreciation of her fans, and her graciousness, integrity, warmth, and humor on and off screen that have made her one of the most beloved performers in entertainment and one of the most admired women in America.
About the Mark Twain Prize
The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said "against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."
The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr. The Kennedy Center established The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October 1998, and it has been televised annually. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been 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), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), and Ellen DeGeneres (2012).
History of the Mark Twain Prize
The first annual Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor took place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 18 through October 20, 1998. The celebration included lectures, symposia, and master classes, and culminated in the Concert Hall on Tuesday, October 20, 1998 when Richard Pryor was presented with the inaugural Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, named after one of the world's greatest exponents of humor. The program featured a gathering of leading American artists including Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Damon Wayans, and Robin Williams.
As a social commentator, satirist and creator of memorable characters, Samuel Clemens – the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist also known as Mark Twain – was a fearless observer of society, who outraged many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly.