The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts just announced that it will
be awarding Dave Chappelle the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Fellow comedians who have won the Mark Twain prize include the likes of Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Carol Burnett, and Bob Newhart which puts Chappelle in a rather elite class of comedians to receive the special honor.
Dave’s True Character
Matthew Winer, the Director of Comedy and Special Programming at the Kennedy Center said the following about Dave Chappelle when asked about his decision to give him the prestigious award “Dave is one of the truly original voices in comedy, the definition of a creative artist.” Winer also said, “He’s a modern-day sociologist, skewering stereotypes, defying boundaries and showing us that laughter can be a way to contextualize issues that we struggle to understand.”
Dave Chappelle will receive the award on Oct. 27th of this year at the Kennedy Center gala. The event will air on Jan. 6, 2020 on PBS. Deborah F. Rutter who is the President of the Kennedy Center said the following in a statement about the event and Chappelle “Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand.” She also went on to say “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective.”
What This Means for Chappelle
Dave Chappelle has always been a superstar comedian with his rather raunchy and profane sense of humor most notably originating on his hit TV series “Chappelle’s Show” which lasted from 2003-2006. Chappelle’s Show, co-created by Neal Brennan, was one of the most popular comedy series in history. Some of the most famous moments from Chappelle’s Show include his iconic Rick James, Prince, and Lil Jon impersonations and more notably one of his most controversial skits which involved a KKK rally.
Rembert Browne, a former writer for GrantLand said the following when asked about Chappelle’s Show, “It was unacceptable to show up to high school the next day without knowing all the material from the previous night’s episode.” With Chappelle now receiving the Mark Twain award, he has been catapulted into an entirely new class of comedians and fame.
Chappelle’s Show earned several Emmy nominations during its time on-air and was also a bestseller when it was released as a compilation on DVD. While Dave Chappelle has undoubtedly faced many controversies throughout his career, that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to provide fans worldwide with humor that they can’t find anywhere else.