Kevin Hart will receive the Mark Twain Prize
The 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor has been awarded to Kevin Hart, a multitalented individual known for his stand-up comedy, acting, writing and entrepreneurship. This prestigious award is regarded as the pinnacle of achievement in the comedy industry and has previously been bestowed upon acclaimed names such as Tina Fey, Bob Newhart, David Letterman and Jon Stewart.
Initially, Hart began his career by performing comedic routines at a nearby club in Philadelphia, during amateur night. Today, his standup shows are incredibly popular and draw huge crowds to stadiums. He entertains audiences with hilarious anecdotes about his experiences with dating, marriage troubles, his daughter’s first swear word, attempting to appear tough despite being just over 5 feet tall, his fear of rollercoasters, and dealing with his father’s struggles with drug addiction and frequent jail stints. It appears that no story or situation is too insignificant for Hart to comically address. These performances have even been filmed and turned into specials.
In his latest stand-up routine, Kevin Hart cleverly transforms the challenges and monotony of being a parent into relatable jokes. As a result, many exhausted mothers and fathers can easily identify with his comedic material. It’s no surprise that Hart has been selected as this year’s recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebrates individuals who have had a significant influence on American culture, much like its namesake, Samuel Clemens – known by his pen name Mark Twain. The inaugural recipient of this award was Richard Pryor in 1998.
“I have been performing comedy for the past 25 years since the award was established. Being recognized in this special year is truly unbelievable,” states Hart. “Through humor, I am able to express my views on society and everyday experiences… I am eagerly looking forward to the celebrations!”
Hart has become a major draw at the box office, with an impressive list of credits that includes popular movies like Jumanji, Ride Along, and Secret Life of Pets. Despite not always receiving critical acclaim, his 11 films have collectively earned over $4.23 billion worldwide, according to the Kennedy Center.
According to Deborah F. Rutter, President of the Kennedy Center, Kevin Hart has been a comedic force for more than 30 years, bringing joy to audiences in the United States and around the globe through his unforgettable roles, unmatched physical humor, and relatable storytelling.
Hart received backlash after previously deleted homophobic posts resurfaced, as well as for material in his early standup. Many expressed outrage when he was chosen to host the 2019 Academy Awards. In a Tweet, he shared his excitement for the opportunity but ultimately declined, stating that he did not want to take away from the celebration of so many talented artists on that night. He also issued an apology to the LGBTQ community.
He expressed regret for causing harm to others and stated his desire for personal growth. He aims to promote unity, rather than division.
Hart is set to be honored with the Mark Twain Prize at a gala held at the Kennedy Center on March 24, 2024. Viewers can catch the broadcast of the ceremony at a subsequent date.