Dave Chappelle will receive the Mark Twain prize for lifetime achievement in comedy at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Boundary-pushing Dave Chappelle set to receive comedy award

WASHINGTON — Boundary-pushing comedian Dave Chappelle is the latest recipient of the Mark Twain prize for lifetime achievement in comedy, an honour being bestowed Sunday night at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

The event is a homecoming for Chappelle, who was raised in suburban Silver Spring, Maryland, attended Washington’s prestigious Duke Ellington School of the Arts and filmed his first HBO special in the capital.

Chappelle was already a well-established comedian and comedic actor when he was given his own sketch comedy show in 2003.

The show on Comedy Central, “Chappelle’s Show,” was an immediate hit. It combined clever parodies that often tweaked racial conventions with uniquely staged musical productions featuring hip-hop and soul artists.

At the height of his popularity, Chappelle shocked the entertainment industry by walking away from a lucrative contract extension and abandoning the show while it was preparing for its third season. He disappeared from public view and took an extended trip to Africa. He later explained that the pressures of the show’s success and the influence applied by the network made him feel “like some kind of a prostitute.”

Chappelle gradually returned to performing, more powerful than ever, and now releases regular stand-up specials under a multimillion-dollar deal with Netflix. The departure from his own hit show made him an inspirational symbol for artists and comedians, particularly minorities, for his willingness to sacrifice profit to retain his independence.

Twain recipients are typically honoured by a series of testimonials, musical performances and often a surprise guest or two. This year, the announced guest list includes comedians Trevor Noah, Jon Stewart and Tiffany Haddish, musicians John Legend and Q-Tip and actors Bradley Cooper and Morgan Freeman.

The ceremony will be broadcast Jan. 7 on PBS.

By The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

TYENDINAGA, Ont. — Hours of talks between the federal government and representatives… Continue reading

Red Deer County investing in fibre optics

County investing $7 million over two years to improve Internet connections

Red Deer artillery regiment celebrating 100 years

Members of regiment to participate in gun salute at Edinburgh Castle in June

Ponoka RCMP looking for Red Deer suspect facing numerous fraud and theft charges

Police allege Jeffrey Little skipped out on last court appearance

RCMP arrest and charge two suspects in Wetaskiwin carjacking

Maskwacis man and Wetaskiwin woman facing numerous charges

Fashion Fridays: Apple body types: What you need to know

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 6 A Perogie Supper is being held Thursday, Feb. 6 from… Continue reading

Red Deer Optimist Chiefs advance to Midget AAA playoffs Tuesday

The Red Deer Optimist Chiefs picked up a victory to finish the… Continue reading

Former Blue Jays shortstop Tony Fernandez, a five-time all-star, dies at 57

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Buck Martinez remembers referring to Tony Fernandez as “the… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels rally in third period to overcome Rockets

Final game of B.C. road trip Monday in Prince George

Vlhova wins slalom to overtake absent Shiffrin in standings

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Petra Vlhova won her third straight women’s World… Continue reading

Bansky’s Valentine’s Day mural covered after it was defaced

LONDON — The family who owns a house in southwest England where… Continue reading

Emission-cutting targets a trend with benefits for oilsands firms, observers say

CALGARY — In one of his last interactions with reporters before retiring… Continue reading

Red flood warning issued for Wales as storm rips across UK

LONDON — Storm Dennis roared across Britain with high winds and heavy… Continue reading

Most Read