Washington, D.C. — The Mark Twain Prize salutes Tina Fey. The program airs Sunday, November 14 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on November 9, the 90-minute special feature a star-studded cast of Fey’s friends and colleagues including top entertainers Fred Armisen, Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Hudson, Jane Krakowski, Steve Martin, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler and Betty White. The evening pays tribute to the humor and accomplishments of the popular writer, producer, actress and comedienne.
Tina Fey is executive producer, head writer and star of NBC’s three-time (2007, 2008, 2009) Emmy Award-winning comedy series 30 Rock, a workplace comedy where the workplace exists behind-the-scenes of a live variety show. Her performance as ‘Liz Lemon’ has earned Fey an Emmy, two Golden Globes, three SAG Awards and a People’s Choice Award. In 2009, 30 Rock was nominated for a record 22 Emmy Awards, the most ever of any comedy series on television in a single season.
Prior to creating 30 Rock, Fey completed nine seasons as head writer, cast member and co-anchor of the Weekend Update segment on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Fey is an Emmy winner and two-time Writers Guild Award winner for her writing on Saturday Night Live and won an Emmy in 2009 for Guest Appearance by an Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Sarah Palin on the 2008-2009 season of SNL.
Since her transition to being in front of the camera, she has won much acclaim, including being named The Associated Press’ Entertainer of the Year in 2008, one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year on numerous occasions, one of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” (four times), and one of Time magazine’s “Prestigious Time 100” (two times). 30 Rock has earned her three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, a Golden Globe for Outstanding Comedy Series, a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, two Writers Guild Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series and two Producers Guild Awards. She has also won two Gracie Awards and a Made in New York Award.
Fey expanded to feature films in Spring 2004 as both a screenwriter and an actress in the hit comedy Mean Girls, which earned her a nomination for a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. On the big screen, Fey most recently starred alongside Steve Carell in 20th Century Fox’s hit comedy film Date Night and is a featured voice in the Dreamworks animated film Megamind with Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt opening in theaters nationwide in November. In 2008, Fey starred opposite Amy Poehler in the film Baby Mama for Universal Pictures. Fey is also in the process of writing her first book for publisher Little, Brown and Company, which is scheduled for publication in Spring 2011. Fey lives in New York with her husband, Jeff Richmond, and their daughter.
Tina Fey is the 13th recipient of The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Past recipients of the prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008) and Bill Cosby (2009).
Tina Fey: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize is a production of WETA Washington, D.C.; The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Mark Krantz Productions; and CoMedia. Executive producers are Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, Cappy McGarr and Michael Kaiser. WETA executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson.
Major funding for Tina Fey: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Corporate support is provided by US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Air travel is generously provided by American Airlines.
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was created in 1998 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky and Bob Kaminsky and John Schreiber to recognize the art of humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain*. As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” Bill Cosby was presented a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain, sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and its images are courtesy of the Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut.
The Kennedy Center, as the nation’s center for the performing arts, recognizes and presents all of the performing arts including opera, jazz, musical theater, drama, ballet and dance, as well as symphony and all kinds of smaller musical ensembles performing every imaginable kind of music.
WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA’s other productions and co-productions include PBS NewsHour, Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal, In Performance at the White House, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including The Civil War, THE WAR, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and The Tenth Inning, a continuation of the beloved BASEBALL series. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
*"Mark Twain Prize" TM/© Chase Manhattan Bank and Richard A. Watson as trustees of The Mark Twain Foundation Trust under license authorized by CMG Worldwide Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana, 46256 USA.