Bill Cosby has been named the most recent honoree for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor! The Mark Twain Prize is considered the top prize for comedy in the country. The first honoree, Richard Pryor, was in 1998. Bill Cosby is probably best known for his work in The Cosby Show, but he's also known for being outspoken on many subjects, including vulgarity and race. Mark Twain probably (definitely) wouldn't have been on the same page with him on vulgarity but they would have been able to agree on the topic of race. While the two are decades apart, they have spoken out on many similar issues. In a Washington Times article, Cosby talks about the influence Twain has had on him, saying that stories like "How to Tell a Story" and "The Mysterious Stranger" have influenced his work and that when he was younger, his mother used to read Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to him. "I would like to apologize to Mr. Twain for falling asleep hundreds of times, but he should understand that I was only four."
Past honorees include Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal and George Carlin.
"The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it." - Mark Twain, "How to Tell a Story"