The Kennedy Center Mark Twain PrizeLatest News and Opinion
Posted Wednesday 5/23/18 at 2:17PM EDT
Julia Louis-Dreyfus to be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
“Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand of humor,” Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said in a statement. “Over four decades, her wildly original characters and her gift for physical comedy have left us in stitches.” The Veep star said in her own statement: “Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying."
Posted Monday 5/07/18 at 8:06PM EDT
Bill Cosby stripped of his Kennedy Center Honors and Mark Twain prize
"Today the Board of Trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts voted to rescind two artistic achievement awards the institution had previously bestowed upon Bill Cosby: the Kennedy Center Honors (1998) and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2009),” the Kennedy Center said in a statement. “As a result of Mr. Cosby’s recent criminal conviction, the Board concluded that his actions have overshadowed the very career accomplishments these distinctions from the Kennedy Center intend to recognize.”
Posted Friday 4/27/18 at 9:17PM EDT
Kennedy Center mulls revoking the two awards it presented to Bill Cosby
The disgraced comedian was presented with the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in the performing arts in 1998 and was the 12th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2009. "The status of the Kennedy Center Honor and the Mark Twain Prize is under review by the appropriate board committees,” says Kennedy Center spokeswoman Michelle A. Pendoley. If the committees endorse revoking the award, it would be up to the full board to vote on approval. There is no timetable on the review.
Posted Tuesday 11/21/17 at 9:19PM EST
Would David Letterman have survived his 2009 sex scandal in 2017?
PBS’ decision to cut Al Franken out of PBS’ Mark Twain Prize ceremony celebrating Letterman is, says Anna Silman, “a particularly striking of example of just how selective our cultural memory is when it comes to deciding which men are Bad.” As she notes, “while there were no public allegations of sexual harassment made at the time, it’s hard to imagine that a man of Letterman’s influence engaging in affairs with multiple female staffers didn’t involve a fraught and possibly exploitative power dynamic.”
Posted Sunday 11/19/17 at 8:34PM EST
PBS cuts Al Franken from David Letterman’s Mark Twain Prize tribute following groping allegation
"PBS will air an updated David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize on Monday," PBS said in a statement. "Sen. Al Franken participated in the event, but will not appear substantially in the PBS program. PBS and WETA, the producing station, felt that the inclusion of Sen. Franken in the broadcast at this time would distract from the show's purpose as a celebration of American humor. Every year, this program is edited for both length and content to keep it entertaining and focused on its intended purpose as a celebration of American humor."
Posted Wednesday 11/01/17 at 7:58PM EDT
John Mulaney: Fox’s cancelation of my Mulaney sitcom was “the best thing that ever happened”
Mulaney, whose sitcom ran on Fox during the 2014-15 season, has seen his career take off since his sitcom failure, with acclaimed performances that include his Oh, Hello Broadway show with Nick Kroll. “This is the future of comedy, ladies and gentlemen," David Letterman said of Mulaney at the Mark Twain Prize ceremony after the comedian paid tribute to the late-night legend. Nowadays, Mulaney says his heart really wasn’t in his network sitcom. “I don’t like to say I’m glad it didn’t work because a lot of people lose a job,” Mulaney says, adding: “But I’m glad it didn’t work. It was like, the best thing that ever happened.”
Posted Monday 10/23/17 at 7:10AM EDT
David Letterman’s psychiatrist helps roast him at Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony
“If you ever need a solid 45-minute nap, drop in,” Dr. Clarice Kestenbaum said in a surprise appearance, garnering one of the night’s biggest laughs. "'I’m dumb. People hate me. I have E.D.’ Oh, Jesus, what a f*cking pity party. Don’t get me wrong: He’s crazy. Not Trump crazy. But who knows?” Letterman attended the ceremony with his wife Regina and son, Harry, who looks grown up as he turns 14 years old next month. At the end of the ceremony Letterman said, “Because of this award, I am now the most humorous person in the world.”
Posted Friday 10/20/17 at 11:40PM EDT
Al Franken, Martin Short and Elayne Boosler reflect on David Letterman’s career
Dave’s fellow comedian contemporaries, along with Chris Elliott and former Late Night producer Robert Morton, look back at his career as he is honored with the Mark Twain Prize for Humor.
Posted Friday 10/20/17 at 1:55PM EDT
Jay Leno pays tribute to David Letterman: “There was no animosity there”
“The one thing about Dave was, even when he was mean to me, it was funny, and that's all that matters,” Leno says in a Hollywood Reporter tribute to his former friend/late-night rival, who is being honored this weekend with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. “I haven't spoken to Dave recently,” the former Tonight Show host adds. “He can be a quirky character. It's just Dave being Dave. When I see him with the beard, I smile because other people go, ‘Why does Dave have that beard? He looks creepy.’ That's just his sense of humor. But I'm thrilled that Dave is getting the Mark Twain award.” ALSO: Watch more than eight hours of Letterman interviewing Leno.