Julia Louis-Dreyfus Receives the Twain Prize

November 8, 2018

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

With a little help from friends like Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Lisa Kudrow, Tina Fey and Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus recently accepted the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Made possible by CPB support, the gala ceremony will air at 9 pm on Monday, November 19, on PBS stations across the country (check local listings).


“When Mark Twain first emailed me about the Mark Twain prize, I have to admit I totally misunderstood. I thought I was being asked to honor someone else,” Louis-Dreyfus joked. “What a hassle. I have to go all the way to Washington, D.C., and make up flattering things to say about how funny someone else is.

“And then I realized. It’s me. I get the prize, and my attitude about the whole thing changed. It really did,” she said. “This is a great night, a great honor. Anybody would be lucky to be part of a night like this honoring someone like me.”

An 11-time Emmy winner, Louis-Dreyfus is the sixth woman to receive the award, which was created in 1998 to recognize humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). Previous awards have gone the likes of Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Tina Fey (2010), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016) and David Letterman (2017.)

The PBS program was produced by WETA.