Published by NPR on May 7, 2019
Written By: Elizabeth Blair & Patrick Jarenwattananon
Comedian Dave Chappelle will be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor this year, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has announced.
The stand-up comic, actor, producer and director joins a prestigious groups of comedians to receive the award. Among them are Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart and Richard Pryor — who won the very first Twain Prize in 1998.
“Dave is one of the truly original voices in comedy — the definition of a creative artist,” Matthew Winer, director of comedy and special programming at the Kennedy Center, said to NPR. “He’s a modern-day sociologist, skewering stereotypes, defying boundaries, and showing us that laughter can be a way to contextualize issues that we struggle to understand.”
“Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,'” Deborah F. Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center, said in a prepared statement. “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective.”
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