The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
is an American award presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts annually since 1998, excepting the years 2020 and 2021. Named after the 19th-century humorist Mark Twain, it is presented to individuals who have "had an impact on American society in ways similar to" Twain. The JFK Center chose Twain due to his status as a controversial social commentator and his "uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly." A copy of Karl Gerhardt's 1884 bust of Twain is presented in an autumn ceremony at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C., during which the honoree is celebrated by his or her peers. The event is a significant fundraiser to benefit the Kennedy Center, which sells tickets as well as access to dinners and after-parties featuring the celebrities.