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The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Photo Credit:  PBS
  • Premiered: 
    January 20, 1999
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Comedy Central
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Award
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
    Created by Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky, Bob Kaminsky & Cappy McGarr 
  • Subject Matter: Comedy
  • Tags: celebrity

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Plot Synopsis

Each year since 1998 -- except in 2020 & 2021, because of the COVID-19 pandemic -- the Kennedy Center has conferred the Mark Twain Prize to recognize a person who used comedy to impact American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain. Each honoree is presented a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain, sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). 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. That first ceremony premiered three months later on Comedy Central. The second ceremony, which honored Jonathan Winters, was the last program to air on Comedy Central, and the Mark Twain Prize then switched to PBS for the 2000 awards program, where it aired annually through 2022. In 2023, the event moved to CNN.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents the 25th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Kevin Hart at event held on Sunday, March 24, 2024 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and first presented by Netflix weeks later on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 10pm ET/7pm PT on Netflix. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Regina Hall, Dave Chappelle, Tiffany Haddish, Jimmy Fallon, J.B. Smoove, Chelsea Handler, and others honor Kevin Hart in this 80-minute special.

"For over three decades, Kevin Hart has been a source of laughter across America and throughout the world with his iconic characters, inimitable physical comedy, and relatable narratives. An accomplished writer, producer, actor, and comedian, he has made lasting contributions to the comedic landscape and represents our celebration of American humor at the Kennedy Center," said Kennedy Center President, Deborah F. Rutter. "We express our gratitude to Kevin for enriching American culture and look forward to celebrating his exceptional career."


Other Titles

  • Full title: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor


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