Kevin Hart To Become The Shortest Mark Twain Prize Recipient
Mark Twain once advised, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Kevin Hart clearly won't be belittled by anyone besides God.
On Wednesday, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced that Hart will be 24th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor – well, 25th if you count Bill Cosby, which they absolutely do not. Hart will join a short list of comedy giants at a gala performance at the Kennedy Center on March 24th, 2024 where Hart’s peers, friends and contemporaries will come to celebrate his newly elevated stature.
At just 44 years old, Hart will be the youngest ever recipient of the prize – and, at 5’2”, the film and stand-up superstar will be the shortest award-winner to date, beating Julia Louis-Dreyfus by just a single inch. If and when The Rock gets a Kennedy Center nod, the onscreen duo will bookend the police lineup should the feds ever suspect that a lauded comedy laureate has committed a heinous crime and Cosby’s already incarcerated.
“I've been doing comedy since the inception of this award 25 years ago. To be honored in this commemorative year feels surreal,” Hart said of the announcement. “Comedy is my outlet for social commentary and observations on life—I am grateful to the Kennedy Center for recognizing my voice and impact on culture. I can’t wait to celebrate!”
Hart’s comedy films have grossed over $4.23 billion worldwide, as noted by the Kennedy Center, whose president, Deborah F. Rutter added of the decision to honor the comic, “For over three decades, Kevin Hart has been a source of laughter across America and throughout the world with his iconic characters, inimitable physical comedy, and relatable narratives.”
The Mark Twain Prize will further legitimize Hart as a comedy, cultural and kid-sized icon, showing that the underrepresented undersized population can achieve that greatness that Twain once warned would be belittled by “small people.” Hart's achievement will also undoubtedly be celebrated by the city of Philadelphia, who will add another Mark Twain Prize-winner to their illustrious ranks of awarded natives following Tina Fey's win in 2010 – just don't Google what happened in 2009.