Dave Chappelle, the comedian and star of “Chappelle’s Show” and recently, “A Star is Born,” will be the 22nd annual recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Tuesday.
Chappelle will receive the prize at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Oct. 27. The gala will then be broadcast on PBS on Jan. 6, 2020.
Last year’s winner of the prize was “Veep” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and previous recipients are 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Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016) and David Letterman (2017).
“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 is a hometown hero here in Washington, D.C., where he grew up. We’re so looking forward to welcoming him back home,” Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement.
In 2017, Chappelle celebrated 30 years in comedy by releasing four stand-up specials on Netflix and a residency at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Chappelle won his first Primetime Emmy in 2017 for his hosting “Saturday Night Live,” and he won again in 2018 for his stand-up special “Equanimity.”
The event will be co-chaired by Tamia and Grant Hill.
This year’s gala is under the direction of the creative team from Done + Dusted, the Kennedy Center’s producing partner for the Mark Twain Prize since 2018. It’s also the 22nd year that the gala will be broadcast on PBS.
The event was created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and John Schreiber.