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Wednesday, February 4 at 9 p.m. George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize

(Rochester, NY) Entertainers Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Garry Shandling, Lily Tomlin, Denis Leary, Joan Rivers, Lewis Black, Richard Belzer, and Margaret Cho honor the late George Carlin, recipient of the 11th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The program recognizes the life and achievements of the beloved comedian. The Mark Twain Prize announcement was made a week before the comedian’s death. The award was presented posthumously for the first time in its 11-year history. George Carlin: The Mark Twain Prize airs Wednesday, February 4 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1).

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this great American comedian," said Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman. "At this year's Mark Twain Prize, we will celebrate his many contributions to the world of comedy in a special tribute."

It's a great loss, not only to the world of humor but to America's conscience," said Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and Cappy McGarr, Executive Producers of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, in a collective statement." George kept us honest. Of this sad day he might have said that the only truly "dirty word" is death. George Carlin is as deserving as ever of our nation's highest award for humor."

George Carlin was a Grammy-winning American stand-up comedian, actor, and author, whose career spanned more than fifty years. Carlin released twenty-two solo albums and three New York Times best-selling books, which have sold over two million copies. The five-time Emmy nominated actor starred in an unprecedented fourteen HBO Specials and appeared in a wide variety of television and movie roles. He was the first-ever host of Saturday Night Live, and appeared on The Tonight Show over 130 times.

The Kennedy Center Celebration of American Humor was instituted as an annual event in October 1998. Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain 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), and Billy Crystal (2007).

For more information, visit http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/specialevents/marktwain.

Pictured: George Carlin
Photo Credit: WETA Washington, DC; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mark Krantz Productions; and Comedia

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