Watch a playlist of appearances by Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Dana Carvey, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, Robert Smigel, Ben Stiller, the “Sandman” himself, Adam Sandler, and more!
“To be honored in this commemorative year feels surreal. Comedy is my outlet for social commentary and observations on life—I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for recognizing my voice and impact on culture. I can’t wait to celebrate!”
— Kevin Hart
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, presented by Wells Fargo, recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, colloquially known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist, and creator of characters, Clemens was a fearless observer of society who delighted and informed onlookers with his uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly.
About Kevin Hart
Emmy® and Grammy®–nominated Kevin Hart was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he launched his career as a comedian during an amateur night at a local comedy club. Over the years, Hart has become Hollywood’s box office powerhouse, opening 11 films at number one at the box office and grossing more than in $4.23 billion global revenue. Hart has also become a successful entrepreneur; he is chairman of Hartbeat, a global, multi-platform media company creating entertainment at the intersection of comedy and culture with a mission to “keep the world laughing together.”
Two Decades of the Mark Twain Prize
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 was created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and John Schreiber and is televised annually. ²ÝÝ®ÊÓÆµÃâ·Ñ°æapp is grateful to Cappy McGarr for his steadfast support of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since its inception.
Previous recipients of the Mark Twain 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Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009, rescinded in 2018) Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013) Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016), David Letterman (2017), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2018), Dave Chappelle (2019), and Jon Stewart (2022).
Explore artist pages below.
Adam Sandler acceptance speech
Jon Stewart acceptance speech
Dave Chappelle acceptance speech
Julia Louis-Dreyfus acceptance speech
*2009 Bill Cosby; rescinded in 2018
© All Rights Reserved. Licensed by the Mark Twain Foundation Trust. Authorized by CMG Worldwide, Inc.
Are you ready to laugh? Watch performances by and for comedians from the cast of Saturday Night Live.
Fri. Jan. 12, 2024
Comedian and actor Vir Das has hit the global comedy mega-leagues thanks to his boundless comedic talent, wildly successful world tours, and four incredible Netflix specials. The New York Times says “no artist embodies the globalization of stand-up like Vir Das.”
Apr. 19 - 20, 2024
Asian AF (Asian As F***) is the premier Asian American variety show in Los Angeles and New York. Asian AF spotlights the best Asian American actors, stand-up comedians, improvisers, sketch performers, storytellers, and more.
²ÝÝ®ÊÓÆµÃâ·Ñ°æapp performances of Asian AF will be headlined by Joel Kim Booster. Additional casting to be announced at a later date.
Fri. May 3, 2024
Known as the King of Rant, the Grammy Award®–winning stand-up Lewis Black uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and finger-pointing to expose the absurdities of life. His comedic brilliance makes people laugh at life’s hypocrisies and the insanity he sees in the world.