Chappelle, a two-time Grammy winner for albums released of his Netflix stand-up specials, follows previous award winners including Julia Louis-Dreyfus (won in 2018), David Letterman (2017), Bill Murray (2016), and Eddie Murphy (2015).
He is now one of only five black comedians (out of 22 total recipients) to be honored since the prize was first given out in 1998 to Richard Pryor — Murphy, Bill Cosby, and Whoopi Goldberg also won the award. For added perspective, only six women received the honor in the award’s history: Dreyfus, Goldberg, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey, and Lily Tomlin.
Chappelle will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in a ceremony held at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall this Oct. 27. “An outstanding lineup of entertainers” will be present, according to the event description.
In 2017, Chappelle won his first Emmy award for hosting the first post-2016 election of Saturday Night Live, during which he wasn’t afraid to address the political climate. He then released four stand-up comedy specials on Netflix in commemoration of his 30-year career in comedy: The Age of Spin, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Equanimity, and The Bird Revelations. He released them on vinyl as double-feature albums and received Grammys in 2018 and 2019 in the process. The comic also performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 2017 and appeared opposite Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born in 2018.