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Kevin Hart receives the Mark Twain Award for American Humor

Kevin Hart receives the Mark Twain Award for American Humor

Washington (AFP) – Kevin Hartwho rose from open mics and comedy clubs in his native Philadelphia to become one of the most popular artists in his country, received an award Mark Twain Award for American Humor Sunday at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Notable celebrities and comedians joined in paying tribute to Hart, with many specifically citing his comedic work ethic, positivity and continued dedication to his art.

“He's just inspiring,” comedian Nikki Glazer said on the red carpet. “He's one of the most naturally talented people I've ever met. But he also loves himself, and that's not something you can say about every successful comedian.”

Comedian J.B. Smoove (Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) remembers the young Hart as an almost trouble-making enthusiast.

“Honestly, when he first started out, he was a toxic person,” Smoove said. “But he was always picking up pieces here or there, always learning from people and never afraid to learn.”

The show kicked off with a high-energy duet by Robin Thicke and Nelly.

Hart, 44, has honed a distinctive style that combines his diminutive height, expressive face and mouth movements into a successful stand-up.

In Hollywood, Hart made his debut in 2002's “Paper Soldiers” and rose to fame through a series of scene-stealing roles in hit films such as 2005's “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin.”

Hart's films have grossed more than $4.23 billion worldwide.

Now in its 25th year, the Mark Twain Award annually honors performers who have had a lasting impact on humor and culture. Honorees receive a bronze bust of Twain, the famous American writer and satirist whose real name was Samuel Clemens.

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Winners of the Mark Twain Awards are honored with a night of certificates and tribute videos, often featuring past award winners. Other comedians who have received the Lifetime Achievement Award include the inaugural recipient Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett and Dave Chappelle. Bill CosbyThe Mark Twain Prize, awarded in 2009, was revoked in 2019 following allegations of sexual assault.