It’s been announced that Dave Chappelle will be the 22nd recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center.
Richard Pryor was the first comedian to receive the honor in 1998, and other recipients include Eddie Murphy, Whoopi Goldberg and David Letterman. It was also given to Bill Cosby, but it was stripped in 2018 due to his sexual assault charges.
The honor will be given to Chappelle on October 27 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, the comedian’s hometown, and the taping will air on Jan. 6, 2020, on all PBS stations.
In a press release, the Kennedy Center’s president, Deborah F. Rutter, explained why Chappelle was chosen as this year’s recipient.
“Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain’s observation that ‘against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,'” she said. “For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective. Dave’s a great guy and a hometown hero here in Washington, D.C., where he grew up. We’re so looking forward to welcoming him back home.”
Fans of the comedian were excited to hear the news.
“Funniest man ever. Long overdue.”
“Wow, how absolutely wonderful. Major props.”
Chappelle began doing stand-up at Washington’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts when he was just 14 years old. And many probably saw him for the first time in the early ’90s on the series “Def Comedy Jam.”
The funnyman’s entry into the film business came with the stoner comedy “Half Baked” in 1998, which he wrote. He then released a couple of classic comedy specials, including “Killin’ Them Softly” in 2000 and “For What It’s Worth” two years later.
He then broke into the stratosphere of fame with his “Chappelle’s Show” series, which ran from 2003 to 2006.
The 45-year-old has won two Emmy awards, one in 2017 for hosting a 2016 episode of “Saturday Night Live,”and another in 2018 for his Netflix comedy specials.