The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is an American award presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to it is presented to individuals who have “had an impact on American society in ways similar to Twain.” Recipients of this prestigious prize include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Letterman, and Eddie Murphy. Now, Dave Chappelle will add his name to the list as the latest honoree.

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In a statement, Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said: “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.”

Chappelle, a two-time Grammy winner for albums released of his Netflix stand-up specials Equanimity and Bird Revelation. He has also released The Age of Spin: Dave Chappelle Live at the Hollywood Palladium and Deep in the Heart of Texas: Dave Chappelle Live at Austin City Limits, though both of those were filmed prior to his deal with Netflix.


A stand-up comedy icon, Chappelle is one of the most influential comedians of all-time. His sketch comedy series, Chapelle’s Show, reached legendary status and became a fixture in the lexicon of American pop culture.

In 2017, Chappelle won his first Emmy award for hosting the first post-2016 election of Saturday Night Live, where he tackled the political issues of the day. He performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 2017 and appeared opposite Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born in 2018.

Chappelle, who is from Washington, D.C., will receive the honor in a ceremony and gala performance October 27.

The program will air on PBS on January 6, 2020.