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David Letterman honored with Mark Twain Prize in November special
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David Letterman is honored with Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Courtesy of Scott Suchman

By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Late-night giant David Letterman’s lacerating wit and love of silliness will be celebrated by his peers in a star-studded special.

The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and its salute to Letterman will premiere at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, on Panhandle PBS.

The special, recorded Oct. 22 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, pays tribute to the humor and accomplishments of the broadcasting icon.

Helping pay tribute to Letterman is a cavalcade of famous faces: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Jimmy Kimmel, Norm Macdonald, Steve Martin, John Mulaney, Bill Murray, Amy Schumer, Paul Shaffer, Martin Short, Eddie Vedder, Jimmie Walker, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and other top entertainers and comedians.

“It was because of hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who helped me. And you saw some of my friends here tonight, all of them more talented, more gifted, funnier than I am. But they all helped me,” Letterman said in accepting the award, according to Vanity Fair's account of the ceremony. “We have to help each other, or nothing will happen.”

In 33 years on late-night television, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night (NBC) and The Late Show (CBS), surpassing his mentor, Johnny Carson, for the longest-running late-night broadcaster in American history. As a writer, producer and performer, Letterman is one of the most-nominated people in Emmy Award history, with 52 nominations, resulting in 10 wins.

The Indiana native hosted his final episode of The Late Show in May 2015 and recently announced a new interview show to be streamed on Netflix.



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and on Facebook.