2011 Mark Twain Prize Recipient
The Kennedy Center presented the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Will Ferrell. The award, named to honor one of America’s—and the world’s—greatest humorists, featured a lineup of the biggest names in entertainment, including Jack Black, Green Day, Larry King, Nathan Lane, Adam McKay, Lorne Michaels, Conan O’Brien, John C. Reilly, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, and Molly Shannon.
This cast of top entertainers saluted Will Ferrell in the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The evening payed tribute to the humor and accomplishments of the television icon and motion picture star.
The broadcast is traditionally a popular special on television, and, each year, the show continues to grow in audience appeal. In addition to the performance and Prize presentation, guests are invited to the post-show dinner reception with the artists, held on the Center’s Roof Terrace Level.
History of the Mark Twain Prize
The first annual Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor took place at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 18 through October 20, 1998. The celebration included lectures, symposia, and master classes, and culminated in the Concert Hall on Tuesday, October 20, 1998 when Richard Pryor was presented with the inaugural Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, named after one of the world’s greatest exponents of humor. The program featured a gathering of leading American artists including Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Damon Wayans, and Robin Williams.
As a social commentator, satirist and creator of memorable characters, Samuel Clemens – the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist also known as Mark Twain – was a fearless observer of society, who outraged many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly.