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Kevin Hart Says He's 'Overwhelmed with Emotion' as He Accepts Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The ceremony for the Kennedy Center's 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor will air May 11 on Netflix

<p>Paul Morigi/Getty</p> Kevin Hart on March 24, 2024

Paul Morigi/Getty

Kevin Hart on March 24, 2024

Kevin Hart is getting emotional over a major honor denoting his achievements in comedy.

As Hart, 44, attended the 25th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Sunday, the comedian and actor told reporters on the red carpet that he is "overwhelmed with emotion by the support."

"Right now, [I’m just feeling] excitement and just the feeling of being humbled at the fact that I would be in the association of those in comedy," said Hart, who was named the 2024 honoree back in November. "And, you know, I hope that in years to come I’ll look back at this historic moment for me."

The Mark Twain Prize — named after the 19th-century writer Samuel Clemens, better known by the pen name Mark Twain — is awarded annually to "individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar" to Clemens, per the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Adam Sandler received the honor last year.

Celebrities like Dave Chappelle, Jimmy Fallon, Tiffany Haddish, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Chelsea Handler were among those who gathered together in D.C. for "a gala performance featuring some of the biggest names in comedy" to celebrate Hart's career.

Related: Kevin Hart Responds to Katt Williams Saying He Steals His Movie Roles: 'If That's What Fuels Him'

<p>Paul Morigi/Getty</p> Kevin Hart onstage at the Kennedy Center

Paul Morigi/Getty

Kevin Hart onstage at the Kennedy Center

“You can’t buy support. You can’t fake that," Hart said onstage at the Kennedy Center as he accepted the award. "It means so much to me to see the people I’d show up for show up for me."

"I fell in love with something I could do for the rest of my life," he added of his career, after thanking his family and his four children. "I committed to comedy. I fell in love with something I can grab onto. All my eggs are in this basket and oh my God I’m happy with my choice.”

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At the time Hart was announced as 2024's Mark Twain Prize honoree, Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter described the comedian in a statement as "a source of laughter across America and throughout the world with his iconic characters, inimitable physical comedy and relatable narratives."

Outside of his extensive work in stand-up comedy, Hart is also known for appearing in comedies like the Jumanji movies, as well as Ride Along (2014), Central Intelligence (2016) and Fatherhood (2021), among others.

Related: Cate Blanchett, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Hart Team Up in Explosive Borderlands Trailer

<p>Scott Suchman</p> Kevin Hart accepting the Mark Twain Prize

Scott Suchman

Kevin Hart accepting the Mark Twain Prize

"I'm proud of bringing people together. My comedy is one that's global," Hart said on the red carpet, when asked about how he finds success with such a large audience; he noted that political comedy often is not "the best energy or format for what I do."

"So it doesn't mean I don’t get political humor, it just means that I understand my lane, and I operate in what I do very well," he added.

This year's gala for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was filmed and will debut May 11 on Netflix.

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