Kennedy Center Will Honor David Letterman with Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will present the 20th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to David Letterman on Sunday, October 22, 2017 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The Prize, which is named to honor one of the world's greatest humorists, will be given at a gala performance featuring some of the biggest names in comedy.
This year's ceremony marks the 20th consecutive year that the Kennedy Center's marquee comedy award will be presented and broadcast nationally. On-sale and ticketing information for this event will be available at a later date. Sponsorship packages for the Mark Twain Prize Gala Performance will go on sale Wednesday, May 17.
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 memorable characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled and outraged 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 Inaugural Mark Twain Prize was presented to Richard Pryor during the first annual Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor, October 20, 1998. The event is created by the Kennedy Center, and executive producers Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr and is televised annually. Previous recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize include 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), Carol Burnett (2013) Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015) and Bill Murray.