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Mark Twain Prize for American Humor


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#1

Inquisitionist

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Posted Nov 9, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

The 13th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor: Tina Fey

The Kennedy Center will award the thirteenth annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Tina Fey, one of America's foremost humorists, in a star-studded event featuring a lineup of the biggest names in comedy.

... Entertainers include Fred Armisen, Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Hudson, Jane Krakowski, Steve Martin, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler, and Betty White.

"Like Mark Twain, Tina Fey offers her brilliance unconditionally," said Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein. "Throughout her career, she's earned legions of fans for her quick, unapologetic wit and social commentary. The Kennedy Center is pleased to celebrate her broad and successful contributions to the world of comedy."

"I am truly thrilled to receive this honor," said Tina Fey. "I assume Betty White was disqualified for steroid use."

The event occurs in Washington, D.C. tonight, Nov. 9. A recorded version airs on PBS this Sunday, Nov. 14. The scheduled time in my city is 8 pm CDT, but check your local PBS listings. I remember watching the programs honoring Steve Martin and Carl Reiner, both of which were very funny.
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#2

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Posted Nov 10, 2010 @ 11:37 AM

Arrivals at last night's ceremony, including Steve Carell, Amy Poehler and Seth Myers, Jon Hamm, and Steve Martin.
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#3

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Posted Nov 14, 2010 @ 11:10 PM

Jennifer Hudson looked great, so I'll excuse how inexplicable it was for her to drop in and sing "Respect."
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#4

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Posted Nov 15, 2010 @ 9:04 AM

Best part of the show: the muffintop performance!
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#5

monty9

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Posted Nov 15, 2010 @ 2:21 PM

Jennifer Hudson looked great, so I'll excuse how inexplicable it was for her to drop in and sing "Respect."


Agreed. Plus whenever anyone but 60's/70's era Aretha sings "Respect" all I end up thinking is "That's not how you sing it." Jennifer was great on "Man's World" but still kind of a weird break there.

One annoyance, they kept on bringing up how pretty she is. Not denying that, she is pretty but eventually it just got tedious "Look at that!? She a GIRL! A PRETTY girl! Usually only ugly chicks are funny but not her! There she is, all pretty and funny and a girl."

Jon Hamm totally killed.
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#6

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Posted Nov 16, 2010 @ 10:24 AM

The presenters should all have had Tina writing their lines -- her acceptance remarks were the funniest part of the show, IMO. Steve Carell went on far too long and wasn't that amusing. Jon Hamm was good, and I enjoyed Amy Poehler and Seth Myers.

I had seen a lot of the same SNL clips recently on The Women of SNL special, but the commercial for Annuale was new to me. The 30 Rock clips were not among the show's best, though I did enjoy Liz and Jenna in the bar from S1's The Head and the Hair:

Jenna: That guy wanted to buy you a drink.
Liz: Really? I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?

ETA: Here is a video of Tina's unedited remarks. Here's some of what was cut:

"And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course --those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape 'kit 'n' stuff, But for everybody else, it's a win-win. Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster."


Edited by Inquisitionist, Nov 16, 2010 @ 3:07 PM.

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#7

JakeyIsSusan

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Posted Nov 23, 2010 @ 1:41 AM

I just watched this today on DVR! I still think the only reason PBS didn't air the Palin comments is because they're tepid in the wake of the NPR/Juan Williams situation.

I wish they would have actually talked about "Mean Girls" and not just shown a clip. The movie was full of social commentary that's still relevant six years later.
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#8

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Posted Nov 7, 2011 @ 6:54 PM

You'll have to count me as one who does not get the popularity of Will Ferrell. From what I have seen of his movies ( I restricted myself to snippets rather than suffer through their entirety), they seemed geared to adolescents. Granted he has had some good moments on Saturday Night Live but all in all I can't see awarding him the Mark Twain Prize. Of course he is not the first recipient that has left me puzzled as I wasn't on board with Steve Martin's choice either. I think they are missing the spirit of what Twain was. That being a satirist more than a humorist. One has only to read his Letters from the Earth to get an appreciation of Twain and his caustic wit. Along those lines it would be more apropos to award someone like Mort Sahl whose political satire of the 50s and 60s follows in Twain's footsteps. Or take the humorous and satiric compositions of Tom Lehrer. I believe persons such as those are more in the spirit of Mark Twain.
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#9

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Posted Nov 8, 2011 @ 10:03 AM

I agree with you on Will Farrell, but not Steve Martin. If you read any of his novels/novellas/play, you'll find satire and caustic wit.

I had no idea WF received this award - has the ceremony been broadcast?
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#10

CheekyLilDevil

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Posted Nov 8, 2011 @ 8:34 PM

They went from people like Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Neil Simon, and Bill Cosby to... Will Ferrell? It's not like there is some dearth of great living comedians in this country. I hope they're saving one for Jon Stewart at some point.
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#11

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Posted Nov 8, 2011 @ 10:12 PM

Damn, why didn't someone post about this before it aired? :-)

Like a lot of these "honors," the focus seems to be on garnering an audience rather than selecting the most worthy recipient.
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#12

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 12:15 AM

How the hell did they give it to Ferrell instead of, say, Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, or plenty of other funnier people? (maybe Burnett refused it like Cosby did a couple times) Will was great on SNL but I never liked any of his movies, except Stranger Than Fiction (which wasn't really a comedy) and Megamind (where he was just a voiceover). I only saw part of the show, did they show any of his SNL stuff? I would have liked to have seen what must have been the hardest thing he ever had to do, doing his Bush schtick two weeks after 9-11, being respectful while still staying true to character and being funny.
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#13

PShau

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Posted Nov 9, 2011 @ 8:28 AM

For anyone that missed it, PBS has the full program plus clips on these pages:

http://www.pbs.org/m...rize/video.html
http://www.pbs.org/mark-twain-prize/


No, I don't completely get Ferrell being selected for this either...especially when he's still at a relatively young age compared to many of the previous honorees. Pryor, Carlin, Winters, Newhart, Cosby --- all had decades more experience than he does at this point.
Even Tina Fey, who was chosen last year makes more sense than Ferrell. She at least has a more rounded resume being not only a performer, but a writer as well. (probably even wrote a lot of what Ferrell performed on SNL )

Another who should have gotten the prize by now, or soon: Robin Williams. I can't believe they've already exhausted the list of good "veterans".

At the rate they're going, Carrot Top will probably get one in a few years.
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#14

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Posted Oct 21, 2013 @ 1:50 PM

Stop the presses!  This year's honoree is Carol Burnett!  The program will air on PBS on Nov. 24.

 

“This is very encouraging,” Ms. Burnett, 80, joked. “It was a long time in coming, but I understand because there are so many people funnier than I am, especially here in Washington.

 

“With any luck, they’ll all get voted out, and I’ll still have the Mark Twain Prize.”

 

 

She looks great in the accompanying photo.


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#15

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Posted Oct 21, 2013 @ 3:42 PM

Carol Burnett is an American classic. Being old as dirt I remember watching her variety show as it first aired. It was something to look forward to every Saturday night. We could even be bribed to take a bath based on being able to watch that. I remember the classic Scarlett O'Hara curtain sketch, Mrs Wiggins, and so much more.

 

I also always loved that she loved her grandma so much. 

 

Carol's autobiography is also a good read.

 

Good choice.


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#16

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Posted Oct 21, 2013 @ 9:35 PM

Carol's autobiography is also a good read.

 

Oh, my gosh yes! That's one of my favorite (if not my very favorite) celebrity autobiographies.

 

Very happy for her - she seems like such a lovely person. And so funny in so many different ways. I recently watched some DVDs and there were sketches she did with Roddy MacDowell (so dreamy...) where neither of them spoke more than one word at a time. It was brilliant. She definitely deserves this!


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#17

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Posted Nov 24, 2013 @ 10:40 PM

Watched this tonight - I loved the clips, but I think it would have been so much better if they just Had Vicki and Tim do the talking! Well, Lucie was pretty good (or maybe I was just dazzled by her "gams") - wouldn't you love to be a guest at one of her parties? I could probably listen to her childhood stories all night!

 

Complaints: Bruce Vilanch (who I like, but his timing was way off) and the Hilary Clinton comedienne were painful. And why have Bob Mackie's sketches? Is there a reason he couldn't have done a filmed bit like Ellen and Carl Reiner? Is he ill? I hope not. Amy Poehler's bit wasn't funny to me either. But such is the way these shows go. Some bits are great and some... less so.

 

But I still enjoyed the show! Just seeing the sketches, so great. I was really hoping Vicki would tell the story of the Mama's Family sketch where Tim (Mickey Hart) was going on and on about "Siamese" elephants joined at the trunk. Everyone is trying not to crack up (of course). He finally stops and Eunice turns to Mama and tries to get back to the sketch and Mama says "Are you sure the asshole's finished?" Everyone falls apart and Tim Conway falls face down on the floor laughing his butt off. I saw a bit of an interview where Vicki said that she had been warned that Tim was going way off script and she sighed to her husband "What am I gonna do?" and her husband said "Get him." I love that!  That would have been a great sketch to show - but can you say "asshole" on PBS?

 

Carol looks fantastic, and listening to her tell her stories makes me want to go straight to the library and get her autobiography again!


Edited by CrumbyButtons, Nov 24, 2013 @ 10:41 PM.

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#18

ciiker123

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Posted Nov 25, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

I agree that it would've been better to have Vicki Lawrence and Tim Conway emcee more of the show.  It seemed like it was a bit repetitive to have the younger comedians talking about what an influence Carol Burnett had been on them, blah, blah, blah.  I did enjoy Julie Andrew's Mike Nichols story and love how C.B. still gives props to her "Nanny" (Grandmother).


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#19

stonehaven

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Posted Nov 30, 2013 @ 11:47 PM

I loved seeing some sketches that I have never seen before...especially the one where Carol sings "By the Time I Get To Phoenix"...I swear I am still giggling at that one...


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