The 15th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
A lineup of top entertainers including Kristin Chenoweth, Steve Harvey, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, John Krasinski, John Leguizamo, Jane Lynch, Jason Mraz, Lily Tomlin, Loudon Wainwright III and others will salute Ellen DeGeneres at the 15th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. The Prize, which is named to honor one of the world's greatest humorists, will air on PBS stations nationwide October 30, 2012 at 8:00pm ET (check local listings). Artists subject to change.
"The Kennedy Center is happy to recognize Ellen DeGeneres' unique contributions to the world of comedy," stated Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Through her television programs, stand-up appearances, movies, and even commercials, her special brand of humor has allowed us to find hilarity in the mundane and has kept us laughing for years."
Upon learning she will receive the Mark Twain Prize, Ellen DeGeneres remarked, "It's such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize. To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder… why didn't I get this sooner?"
As recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Ellen DeGeneres 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 22, 2012. 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 Ellen Degeneres
Beloved television icon and entertainment pioneer, Ellen DeGeneres' distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world.
Ellen DeGeneres has made a home for herself in the daytime arena with her hit syndicated talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The show entered its ninth season on September 12, fresh off winning the Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Talk Show." During its eight seasons, the show has earned a total of 35 Daytime Emmy Awards. Additionally, DeGeneres has won 12 People's Choice Awards and most recently, the Teen Choice Award for "Choice Comedian" for a third consecutive year. Additionally, the show has won two Genesis Awards and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Talk Show Episode."
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), and Will Ferrell (2011).
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.
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