Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is an American award presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts annually since 1998. Named after the 19th century novelist, essayist, and humorist Mark Twain, it is presented to individuals who have "had an impact on American society in ways similar to" Twain.[1] The JFK Center chose Twain due to his status as a controversial social commentator and his "uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly."[1] A copy of Karl Gerhardt's 1884 bust of Twain is presented in an autumn ceremony taped in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C., during which the honoree is celebrated by his or her peers. The event is a significant fundraiser to benefit the Kennedy Center, which sells tickets as well as access to dinners and after-parties featuring the celebrities.

Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
A bronze bust of Mark Twain on a pedestal
The award is modeled after this bust
Awarded forhaving "had an impact on American society in ways similar to" Mark Twain
CountryUnited States
Presented byJohn F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
First awarded1998
Currently held byJulia Louis-Dreyfus (2018)
WebsiteOfficial website

The inaugural recipient of the award was comedian Richard Pryor.[2] The first two years of The Mark Twain Prize (Richard Pryor and Jonathan Winters) were taped and broadcast on Comedy Central.[2] Since then, the award presentations have been taped for broadcast on PBS. The youngest recipient was actress and comedian Tina Fey, at age 40 in 2010.[3] Bill Cosby accepted his award at the Kennedy Center in 2009. He had twice refused the honor, stating that he was disappointed with the profanity used in the inaugural ceremony honoring Richard Pryor.[4] After Cosby was convicted of sexual assault in 2018, the center stripped Cosby of his award and his 1998 Kennedy Center Honors.[5] As of 2018, 20 individuals have received the honor, six women and 14 men.

Contents

RecipientsEdit

Year Image Recipients Notes Ref.
1998   Richard Pryor Those who were there to honor Pryor included: Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Gene Wilder, Chevy Chase, Tim Allen, Danny Glover, Damon Wayans, Kris Kristofferson, and Dick Gregory.[6] [7]
1999   Jonathan Winters Those who were there to honor Winters included: Steve Allen, Sid Caesar, Robin Williams, Eugene Levy, Bonnie Hunt, Michael McKean and Robert Wuhl.[8] [9]
2000   Carl Reiner Those who were there to honor Reiner included: Mel Brooks, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Joy Behar, and George Wallace[10] [11]
2001   Whoopi Goldberg First female recipient of the award. Those who were there to honor Goldberg included: Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Wanda Sykes, Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Tucker, Alan King, and Harry Belafonte[12] [13]
2002   Bob Newhart Those who were there to honor Newhart included: Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, The Smothers Brothers, Don Rickles, Tim Conway, Bernie Mac, Jane Curtin, Fred Willard, Steven Wright.[14] [15]
2003   Lily Tomlin Those there to honor Tomlin included: Jane Fonda, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Elaine Stritch, Doris Roberts, George Lopez, and Dolly Parton.[16] [17]
2004   Lorne Michaels The only recipient to be born and raised outside of the United States, (Michaels is Canadian-American).

Those who were there to honor Michaels included: Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Tim Meadows, David Spade, Paul Simon, Conan O'Brien, Christopher Walken, and Sen John McCain.[18]

[19]
2005   Steve Martin Those who were there to honor Martin included: Tom Hanks, Carl Reiner, Martin Short, Larry David, Dave Barry, Eric Idle, Diane Keaton, Claire Danes, Queen Latifah, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, and Mike Nichols[20] [21]
2006   Neil Simon Those there to honor Simon included: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Jason Alexander, Robert Klein, Paul Reiser, Christina Applegate, Richard Dreyfus and Robert Redford.[22] [23]
2007   Billy Crystal Those there to honor Crystal included: Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, John Goodman, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Lovitz, Martin Short, Rob Reiner, Barbara Walters.[24] [25]
2008   George Carlin The only posthumous award, due to the timing of Carlin's death the same year.[26]

Those there to honor Carlin included: Joan Rivers, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Lewis Black, Denis Leary, Margaret Cho, Garry Shandling, and Lily Tomlin.[27]

[28]
2009   Bill Cosby Rescinded in 2018 due to sexual assault conviction.[29]

Those who honored Cosby included: Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Sinbad, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Steven Wright, Willie Nelson, Carl Reiner, Dick Gregory, Rita Moreno, and Phylicia Rashad.[30]

[31]
2010   Tina Fey Youngest ever recipient of the award.

Those who honored Fey included: Alec Baldwin, Amy Poehler, Steve Martin, Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm, Fred Armisen, Jennifer Hudson, Betty White, and Lorne Michaels.[32]

[33]
2011   Will Ferrell Those who honored Ferrell included: Conan O'Brien, John C. Reilly, Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Paul Rudd, Adam McKay, Tim Meadows, Matthew Broderick, and Ed Asner.[34] [35]
2012   Ellen DeGeneres Those there to honor DeGeneres included: Jane Lynch, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, John Leguizamo, John Krasinski, Steve Harvey, Kristin Chenoweth, and Lily Tomlin. [36]
2013   Carol Burnett Those there to honor Burnett included: Julie Andrews, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, Martin Short, Tony Bennett, Vicki Lawrence, and Tim Conway.[37] While Carl Reiner and Ellen DeGeneres appeared in pre-taped segments in which they honored Burnett. [38]
2014   Jay Leno Those there to honor Leno included: Jerry Seinfeld, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Robert Klein, J.B. Smoove, Jamie Foxx, Wanda Sykes, Chelsea Handler, Kristin Chenoweth, and Garth Brooks.[39][40] [41]
2015   Eddie Murphy Those there to honor Murphy included: Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Arsenio Hall, Jay Pharoah, Tracy Morgan, Trevor Noah, George Lopez, Kevin Nealon, and Kathy Griffin.[42] [43]
2016   Bill Murray Those there to honor Murray included: David Letterman, Emma Stone, Bill Hader, Aziz Ansari, Miley Cyrus, Jane Curtin, Jimmy Kimmel, Brian Doyle Murray, and Sigourney Weaver. [44]
2017   David Letterman Those there to honor Letterman included: Bill Murray, Steve Martin, Martin Short, John Mulaney, Norm MacDonald, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmie Walker, and Eddie Vedder. Michelle Obama appeared in a pre-taped video to honor Letterman.

Al Franken appeared but was cut from the broadcast due to the sexual assault allegations against him.[45]

[46]
2018   Julia Louis-Dreyfus Those there to honor Louis-Dreyfus included: Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Tony Hale, Lisa Kudrow, Keegan-Michael Key, Kumail Nanjiani, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, and Jack Johnson.[47] Larry David appeared in a pre-taped video to honor Dreyfus. [48]
2019   Dave Chappelle To be announced

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor". Kennedy-center.org. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  2. ^ a b de Morales, Lisa (December 1, 2015). "TV One to repeat PBS's Mark Twain Prize ceremony honoring Eddie Murphy". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  3. ^ http://thecomicscomic.com/2010/11/15/watch-the-entire-telecast-from-pbs-of-tina-feys-ceremony-honoring-her-with-the-mark-twain-prize/
  4. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (October 27, 2009). "Bill Cosby receives Mark Twain Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  5. ^ "Bill Cosby's Kennedy Center Honors, Mark Twain Prize Revoked". Yahoo!. May 8, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  6. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251225/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  7. ^ Johnson, Allan (January 20, 1999). "Kennedy Center Honors Pryor with Initial Mark Twain Award". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  8. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0881281/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  9. ^ "Jonathan Winters Wins Twain Prize". The New York Times. April 30, 1999. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  10. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1542962/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  11. ^ The New York Times (October 26, 2000). "Carl Reiner Honored With Mark Twain Prize for Humor". SFGate. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  12. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0499235/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
  13. ^ Brennan, Patrick (November 18, 2001). "The Mark Twain Prize: Whoopi!". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  14. ^ https://www.pbs.org/weta/onstage/twain2002/
  15. ^ "On Stage – The Mark Twain Prize 2002 – Bob Newhart". pbs.org. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  16. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389147/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  17. ^ "On Stage – The Mark Twain Prize 2003 – Lily Tomlin". pbs.org. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  18. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0451114/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  19. ^ "'SNL' creator Michaels honored". Today. October 26, 2004. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  20. ^ https://weta.org/press/steve-martin-celebrated-pbs-kennedy-center-presents-2005-mark-twain-prize
  21. ^ "The Kennedy Center Presents: The 2005 Mark Twain Prize Celebrating Steve Martin". pbs.org. 2005. Archived from the original on November 24, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  22. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0910924/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  23. ^ Gans, Andrew (October 15, 2006). "Neil Simon Receives Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Oct. 15". Playbill.com. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  24. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1169151/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  25. ^ "Billy Crystal: The Tenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize". WETA. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "George Carlin becomes first posthumous Mark Twain honoree". Yahoo! News. June 23, 2008. Archived from the original on June 28, 2008. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  27. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1341172/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  28. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (June 12, 2008). "Bleep! Bleep! George Carlin To Receive Mark Twain Humor Prize". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  29. ^ "Kennedy Center rescinds Bill Cosby's Honors and Twain awards". The Washington Post. May 7, 2018.
  30. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1542961/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  31. ^ Farhi, Paul (October 27, 2009). "Bill Cosby is awarded the Twain Prize for humor at the Kennedy Center". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  32. ^ http://thecomicscomic.com/2010/11/15/watch-the-entire-telecast-from-pbs-of-tina-feys-ceremony-honoring-her-with-the-mark-twain-prize/
  33. ^ http://thecomicscomic.com/2010/11/15/watch-the-entire-telecast-from-pbs-of-tina-feys-ceremony-honoring-her-with-the-mark-twain-prize/
  34. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2095007/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  35. ^ Powers, Lindsay (December 5, 2011). "Will Ferrell to Receive Mark Twain Comedy Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  36. ^ Jacqueline Trescott (May 16, 2012). "Ellen DeGeneres selected to receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  37. ^ https://www.kenw.org/post/carol-burnett-mark-twain-prize-can-be-seen-sunday-november-24th-8-pm
  38. ^ Mary Daily, Carol Burnett: UCLA's class clown takes national honors, UCLA Today, October 22, 2013
  39. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4332758/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  40. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4332758/?ref_=nv_sr_1
  41. ^ Clark, Cindy (October 20, 2014). "Jay Leno honored with Mark Twain Prize". USA Today. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  42. ^ https://www.pbs.org/video/mark-twain-prize-eddie-murphy-kennedy-center-mark-twain-prize/
  43. ^ Falcone, Dana Rose (April 10, 2015). "Eddie Murphy to receive the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  44. ^ McGlone, Peggy (October 23, 2016). "Bill Murray accepts Mark Twain Prize: 'As much as I dreaded this ... there's love'". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  45. ^ https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/al-franken-cut-pbs-david-letterman-mark-twain-prize-sexual-harassment-claim-1059971
  46. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (May 16, 2017). "David Letterman Wins Mark Twain Prize for American Humor". New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  47. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9419054/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  48. ^ Rao, Sonia (May 23, 2018). "Julia Louis-Dreyfus to receive the 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2018.

External linksEdit