22nd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Celebrating Dave Chappelle

Presenting Sponsor Capital One

Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Concert Hall

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.

Sun. Oct. 27, 2019 8p.m.

Production Information

  • Genre

    Comedy

  • Runtime

    2 hours

Celebrating Dave Chappelle

Celebrating Dave Chappelle

An outstanding lineup of entertainers will gather in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to salute Dave Chappelle, recipient of the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on October 27, 2019. The Prize, which is named to honor one of the world’s greatest humorists, will be given at a gala performance featuring some of the biggest names in comedy. The program will be broadcast on PBS stations on Tuesday, January 7, 2020. Tickets are now available. To purchase, click the Buy Tickets button above. Sponsorship packages for the Mark Twain Prize gala performance are also available now.

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

A No-Holds-Barred Comedian

Dave Chappelle is an internationally recognized stand-up comedian and actor whose trademark wit and sharp, irreverent social commentary explores race, popular culture, sex, drugs, politics, and fame. Arguably the most-touring comic on the circuit, Chappelle has performed more than 1,600 concerts worldwide in the past four years, selling out shows within minutes of their announcements.

Dave Chappelle could always make people laugh. Once he realized the power of his natural talent, he set some ambitious goals for his art. As a 14-year-old student at Washington, D.C.'s Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Chappelle crafted his stand-up comedy act out of the realities of his life growing up Black in the nation's capital.

 

 

Two Decades of 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 memorable characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled and outraged 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."

Watch Past Shows

Julia Louis-Dreyfus acceptance speech

Julia Louis-Dreyfus acceptance speech

David Letterman acceptance speech

David Letterman acceptance speech

Bill Murray acceptance speech

Bill Murray acceptance speech

Eddie Murphy acceptance speech

Eddie Murphy acceptance speech

Past Recipients

*2009 Bill Cosby; rescinded in 2018

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