The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presented the 21st annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to 11-time Emmy winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has starred in the acclaimed comedies “Seinfeld,” “Veep,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “Arrested Development” and Saturday Night Live. Enjoy the laughs as a star-studded cast to honors the comedic actress for this prestigious lifetime award Dec. 31 at 8:30 p.m. on Arizona PBS.
Louis-Dreyfus earned worldwide acclaim for her portrayal of Elaine Benes in the hit NBC series “Seinfeld,” and as Christine Campbell in the CBS hit comedy “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” She currently stars in, and executive produces, the HBO series “Veep.” Between all shows combined, she has received 11 Emmy awards (six consecutively for “Veep”) with 24 nominations, a Golden Globe award, nine Screen Actors Guild awards, which makes her the most decorated actor in the history of the SAG awards. She’s received three Television Critics Association awards, five American Comedy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy. She has broken the record for the most Emmy’s won by a single performer, as well as the most consecutive wins for a single role (“Veep.”)
The Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist, and creator of characters, Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the 21st recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Past recipients of the prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016) and David Letterman (2017.) As a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize, Louis-Dreyfus will receive a copy of the 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and its images are courtesy of the Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut.