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Dave Chapel accepts the Mark Twain Award for American Humor: NPR



Dave Chapel accepts the Mark Twain Award for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. PBS will broadcast a television show at the ceremony in January.

Tracy Salazar / Courtesy of the Kennedy Center


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Tracy Salazar / Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Dave Chapel accepts the Mark Twain Award for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. PBS will air a television special at the ceremony in January.

Tracy Salazar / Courtesy of the Kennedy Center

Dave Chapel grew up near Washington, DC. So when she received the Mark Twain Award for American Humor last night at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, it was a family affair.

Chapel's wife and children were there. A selection of his favorite musicians – people like yasiin bey, Common, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Frederic Yonnet and John Legend – featured throughout the evening. And his fellow comedians spoke of him as a relative.

"Dave, you've always been a mentor," said Tiffany Hadish of the scene. "You were my mentor, my big brother. Every time I step on stage – every time – I think about you because I always want [ed] to make you proud." I cause you the biggest. "[19659010] Dave Chapelle will be awarded the Mark Twain Award for American Humor “/>

Hadith joins Sarah Silverman, Neal Brennan, Morgan Freeman, Lorne Michaels, Bradley Cooper, Aziz Ansari, John Stewart and 19 members of the Board28 Saturday Night Live Kenan Thompson, Michael Che and Colin Jost take the stage to pay tribute to their friend and character.

Silverman expressed a general sentiment: "His critical thinking is his art," she said of the scene. But she also broke a few jokes about her friend.

"Dave, can you believe that? You get the awesome Mark Twain Award," she said from the stage. "You deserve it. That's the right thing. It's actually perfect to get the Mark Twain Award because you both like to use the n-word in your masterpieces."

Although he was already well known as a stand-up comedian, Chapel's career began in the early 2000s with Comedy Central's Chapel Show. The show blurs the boundaries. In the first episode, Chapel plays Clayton Bigsby, a white supreme who is blind – and thus does not know he is black.

" It was the funniest thing I've seen in my life," SNL Kenan Thompson said on the red carpet. Thompson also reflected a little on Chapel's style as a comedian: "Whatever your fears are, he wants to clear the air and digest and understand what's really funny in different situations. And that's the best work of a comedian, and he's great at that. "

Chapel famously walked away from Comedy Central midway through the show's third season. John Stewart also worked at Comedy Central at the time, hosting The Daily Show . On the stage, Stuart called the Chapel Show Chopel (19459030) a "cultural phenomenon" that Comedy Central would do anything to continue. "

" And they offered Dave $ 50 million just to give us … one more, – said Stewart. "But Dave was conflicted at this point because of the difficulty of the way the show was supposed to be held, because he was wondering about his impact on the audience he was referring to. And he wondered if the creative process was not appropriate for that." And he left.

"And at that moment I remember thinking, 'Comedy Central has $ 50 million? "

Chapel eventually came back to stand, often intertwining his rude jokes with serious social considerations. It was undertaken for the #MeToo movement and the cancellation of culture.

Chapel became angry recently when he said he did not believe Michael Jackson's accusers and when he joked about transgender people. pressed to find a group that Chapel wasn't joking about.

"If you are in a group that I used to make fun of, then just know that I would probably only make fun of you if I saw myself in you," he said in his latest special special tripod, Sticks and stones .

Prior to receiving the Mark Twain Award, Chapel told NPR that the stand was his "favorite way of expression" and called it "the American phenomenon."

"This is the best part of the First Amendment to me that I can express myself in this way and live a viable life by doing it," he said. "And it doesn't have to be easy to live with, but … it's worth everything I've been through – especially for nights like tonight, and people just recognize that it's not an easy thing. And it's humbling to receive a reward . "

From the scene, he was delighted to see so many friends from different parts of his life and to be part of the comedy community. "I want you to know that [the award] belongs to all of us," he said.

Chapel had special praise for three people: comedian Tony Woods, great early influence; director Stan Lathon, who has mastered his five recent Netflix specials; and his mother, who encouraged him to be a scoundrel of his day.

"But at the beginning of my career, if you remember, Mom, you sat in the club with me," he said. "She would be working all day. You would go back there, asleep, just waiting to go on. She would watch my show every night. Do you know how long this car is at home?" [19659008] He paused for a round of applause and then offered this detail: "How many of you have ever heard your mother say, 'P *** y jokes were too much tonight, son?' "

Television special from the Mark Twain Award Ceremony will air on PBS stations beginning January 7, 2020.

Patrick Jarenwatananon adapted this story for the network.


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