The Kennedy Center has announced it’s awarding the 2017 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to David Letterman!
The most recent annual winners for the Mark Twain Prize have been Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy.
Letterman, who inspired a generation of comedians and helped revolutionize late-night TV on Late Night on NBC and then the Late Show on CBS, joked: “For 33 years, there was no greater guest, no greater friend of the show, than Mark Twain. The guy could really tell a story.”
“For decades, David Letterman delivered comedy to America that was smart, authentic, and frankly, what many of us came to rely upon to elevate our spirits after a long day,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “Raise your hand if, like me, you shifted your bedtime because you didn’t want to miss a moment of Dave on television lest you not be part of the conversation with friends and co-workers the next day. His 30-year late-night presence — filled with pranks, antics, and his quintessential deadpan humor — remains a fixture of the American experience. I’m probably not the first to say that Dave is ‘comedy royalty’ and we are thrilled to present the Mark Twain Prize in his special anniversary year to such a deserving individual.”
Letterman, 70, will be honored this October at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.