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Jay Leno to Receive 17th Annual Mark Twin Prize for American Humor

Jay Leno to Receive 17th Annual Mark Twin Prize for American HumorA lineup of top entertainers will salute Jay Leno at the 17th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The Prize, which is named after one of the world's greatest humorists, will air on PBS stations nationwide November 23, 2014 (check local listings).

Upon learning he will receive the Mark Twain Prize, Jay Leno remarked, "What an honor! I'm a big fan of Mark Twain's. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books!"

In addition to honoring this country's greatest comedians, the Mark Twain Prize also serves as a major fundraising event-all contributions help support the Center's year-round educational and artistic initiatives that reach millions of students, educators, and families throughout the nation. Sponsorship packages ranging from$1,000 to $50,000 feature an array of benefits, including an invitation to attend an exclusive Artist Rehearsal Brunch with Mr. Leno and other esteemed guests at the $25,000 and $50,000 levels. All packages include the festive pre-show dinner in a pavilion on the South Plaza, the tribute performance and formal presentation of the Mark Twain Prize in the Concert Hall, and a post-show reception with the cast.

About Jay Leno

It was in May of 1992 when Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson as Tonight Show host. Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on the show, as well as NBC's former programLate Night with David Letterman. An indefatigable performer, Leno loves to test his humor live on audiences across the nation, performing over 100 live appearances in nightclubs, theaters and stadiums each year, including during Tonight Show hosting.

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About 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 characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled 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."

The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr. The Kennedy Center established The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in October 1998, and it has been televised annually. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize have been 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), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), and Carol Burnett (2013).


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