Dave Chappelle receives Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

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(CNN/PBS) — Some of the entertainment world’s biggest stars turned up to see Dave Chappelle get the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

The award is the largest accolade in comedy, and honors those who have made an impact on American society.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter issued a statement saying Chappelle “has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original, yet relatable perspective.”

Chappelle, who was born in Washington D.C., achieved stardom through his series “Chappelle’s Show” and his standup.

While accepting the award, Chappelle credited comedy for saving his life.

“So many people from so many different chapters of my life came out to celebrate this with me and it’s just good to get together without there being a tragedy or something like that. It’s a huge, huge gift to my life,” Chappelle said. “I don’t know if anybody deserves anything they get, good or bad, you just take it as it comes. I am honored that I got a good card in this deck. I have worked very hard in my life, the fact that anyone outside of me and my family is amazing to me and I’m very grateful, especially given my past experience.”

Chappelle is in great company.

Previous honorees include Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg.

The ceremony was recorded Sunday night, and is scheduled to air on PBS in January.

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