Kevin Hart receives Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Kevin Hart stole the spotlight with his usual swagger to accept the Mark Twain Prize for American Comedy on Sunday night, taking over the stage lit up with his signature pyrotechnics.

“Can I pee?” John F. in Washington. After a heartfelt tribute from his friend, comedian Dave Chappelle, Mr. Hart said. Kennedy Center President Emeritus David M. He reappeared to accept a bust of Mark Twain from Rubenstein.

44 year old Mr. Hart is the 25th comic to receive the prize from the Kennedy Center, an annual honor given to the best comedians in American comedy. Mr. Hart was joined by his wife and four children and smiled broadly even as he shed tears during the bitterly funny roasts and emotional tributes from friends and colleagues in the industry.

“I played the arena with Chris Rock, and I'd never played an arena before I saw you do it,” said Mr. Chappelle said that even after selling out arena tours, Mr. Adapted by Hart. A football stadium in his hometown of Philadelphia. “You make me dream big, you're younger than me – it's a shame.”

In a nearly 25-year career — notable since the inception of the Mark Twain Prize in the late 1990s, he dabbled in comedy — Mr. Hart has sold millions of tickets. He has built a loyal fan base through movies, TV series and many live events – enhanced by some fireworks – including eight comedy specials featuring relatable narratives, physical comedy and silly re-enactments. But even as he squeezes a cast of characters in and out of his life, he's usually the punchline of his own jokes.

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His colleagues praised him on Sunday for his work ethic, which includes “Jumanji” sequels, casting and starring friends in a slate of Hollywood films such as “Fatherhood” and “Night School” and several comedy activities. movies.

“I didn't start doing what I started doing to get awards,” said Mr. Hart said. “I fell in love with the idea of ​​comedy. It made me say, 'Oh, my God, I've fallen in love with something I can do for the rest of my life.'

His fellow comics Mr. Chappell featured; Chris Rock, who headlined a tour and became the 2023 Mr. “Headliners Only” documentary with Hart; JP Smoove, Mr. met Hart at the Laugh House in Philadelphia, where he started; Jimmy Fallon performed a tribute in the form of an original country song, complete with heavy twang and cowboy hat; as well as Jerry Seinfeld, Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Chelsea Handler, Nick Cannon and Keith Robinson. Singer Robin Thicke and rappers Nelly and Dave Burt performed.

The Plastic Cup Boys, a stand-up and sketch group that opened for Mr Hart for 17 years, also paid tribute.

Receiving the Mark Twain Prize, considered by many to be a lifetime achievement award in comedy, was more than just his colleagues honoring him, Mr. Hart said. After taking a dig at his comedic style, pulling pranks and poking back at several speakers who reminded the audience of his small frame (Ms. Haddish compared the comedian, a few inches above 5 feet, to a leper), Mr. Hart tearfully accepted the award.

“All jokes aside, there's no drug without real relationships and real energy, thanks for showing up on a very inspiring night,” said Mr. Hart said.

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Festival will be available for streaming on Netflix from May 11.

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