Chappelle is known for his cutting and sometimes controversial approach to issues including race, relationships and family dynamics. “Chappelle’s Show,” the influential sketch comedy series he created with Brennan, was one of Comedy Central’s biggest hits. The Emmy- and Grammy-winning comic, who has performed more than 1,600 times around the world, marked his 30th anniversary in comedy in 2017 with four specials for Netflix.
An important fundraiser for the arts center (with sponsorships for the gala and show starting at $500 for a single ticket and increasing to $100,000 for a party of six), the Mark Twain Prize began in 1998, when it was given to Richard Pryor. It is named for novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain, and it honors humorists who have had an impact on American society. Previous winners include Carol Burnett, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, last year’s recipient.