RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY CLOWN COLLEGE TO BE RECIPIENT OF 2011 KENNEDY CENTER MARK TWAIN PRIZE FOR AMERICAN HUMOR.
For Immediate Release: March 31, 2011
Washington, D.C. — "The Fourteenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize" celebrates The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, an entity which has spawned some of the most versatile and prolific careers in the entertainment industry, finding success in the circus ring, on stage, in front of the camera, as a performers in film and television, and behind the scenes as a writers directors and producers. The program airs Monday, November 12, 2011, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. A ceremony is scheduled to be taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 11 and the 90-minute special will feature tributes and comic testimonials from a star-studded cast of graduates and colleagues including Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Robin Williams, Steve Martin, David Letterman, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Irwin, Jon Lovitz, John Leguizamo, Rob Reiner and Martin Short. The program will also include an assortment of classic clips from the school’s 30 year career.
“For clowns to receive the same award as Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and Neil Simon is a great honor,” said former dean Steve Smith. “As my grandfather said, if you hang around the store long enough, once in a while they’ll give you something!” He shared, “ I’m looking forward to a wonderful evening.”
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College is the Fourteenth 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), and Tina Fey (2010).
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College: The Fourteenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mark Krantz Productions; and Comedia. Executive producers are Robert Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr. WETA executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.
Funding for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College: The Fourteenth Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize, is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service. Media partner is USA TODAY.
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was created in 1998 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky and Bob Kaminsky and John Schreiber to recognize the art of humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain*. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said “against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld will be presented a copy of an 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.
The Kennedy Center, as the nation’s center for the performing arts, recognizes and presents all of the performing arts including opera, jazz, musical theater, drama, ballet and dance, as well as symphony and all kinds of smaller musical ensembles performing every imaginable kind of music.
WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA’s other productions and co-productions include The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal, In Performance at the White House, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including The Civil War and THE WAR. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available on the website at www.weta.org.
*"Mark Twain Prize" TM/© Chase Manhattan Bank and Richard A. Watson as trustees of The Mark Twain Foundation Trust under license authorized by CMG Worldwide Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46256 USA.# # #
For more information from the Kennedy Center website please click here.