Dave Chappelle Accepts Mark Twain Prize During Evening of Tributes on PBS

Rick and Christina Gables
Jati Lindsay

This dynamic, newly-reimagined PBS program honors comedian, actor, writer and producer Dave Chappelle, chronicling his extraordinary life and career through an intimate hybrid of documentary film and star-studded gala performance to celebrate his receipt of the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, taped in October at the Washington, D.C. Kennedy Center Concert Hall and the DC Improv, airs Tuesday, January 7 on PBS stations around the country (check your local listings).

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Also, check out a few highlights ahead of the show's September premiere.

The 90-minute special features a star-studded lineup of friends, admirers and entertainment industry colleagues paying tribute to the comedian’s humor and accomplishments. In a twist on the beloved annual event, this year’s broadcast shares raw, behind-the-scenes looks and insights with Chappelle and his friends.

Participants include Neal Brennan, Michael Che, Common, Bradley Cooper, Morgan Freeman, Tiffany Haddish, Colin Jost, John Legend, Lorne Michaels, Q-Tip, Trevor Noah, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, Keenan Thompson and others.

In his acceptance speech Chappelle said, “Standup comedy is an incredibly American genre. I don’t think any other country could produce this many comedians. And I don’t think there’s an opinion that exists in this country that is not represented in a comedy club by somebody…The First Amendment is first for a reason. Second Amendment is just in case the first one doesn’t work out.”


Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Award, Premiere, Tuesday, January 7, 9/8c, PBS (Check your local listings)