David Letterman: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize
November 20 on PBS (check local listings)

The 2017 Mark Twain Prize 

David Letterman: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize premieres on Monday, November 20 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings).

David Letterman: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize

The special will be recorded at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 22, and it features a star-studded cast of Letterman’s friends and colleagues including top entertainers and comedians. The evening pays tribute to the humor and accomplishments of the broadcasting icon.

“This is an exciting honor,” said David Letterman upon learning he is to receive the nation’s top prize for comedy and humor. “For 33 years, there was no better guest, no greater friend of the show, than Mark Twain. The guy could really tell a story.”

David Letterman has been hailed as one of the most innovative and influential broadcasters in the history of television. In 33 years on late-night television, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night (NBC) and The Late Show (CBS), surpassing his mentor, Johnny Carson, for the longest-running late-night broadcaster in American history. As a writer, producer and performer, Letterman is one of the most-nominated people in Emmy Award history, with 52 nominations, resulting in 10 wins. Letterman is also a Peabody-Award winner and a Kennedy Center Honoree.

David Letterman: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize is a production of WETA Washington, D.C.; CoMedia; Mark Krantz Productions; Cappy Productions and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Executive producers are Dalton Delan, Deborah Rutter, Peter Kaminsky, Cappy McGarr, Mark Krantz and Bob Kaminsky.

Corporate funding for David Letterman: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize is provided by Capital One. Major funding is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Air travel is generously provided by American Airlines.

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About the Award

About the Award

The history behind the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Previous recipients

Previous recipients

From Eddie Murphy to Richard Pryor - the complete list of Mark Twain Prize winners.

"Humor must not professedly teach, and it must not professedly preach, but
it must do both if it would
live forever."
— Mark Twain

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