Seriously Funny People

TwainPrize

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is awarded annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It recognizes people 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 memorable characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled and outraged 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.”

Recipients of the Mark Twain Prize have been:

1998 = Richard Pryor

1999 = Jonathan Winters

2000 = Carl Reiner

2001 = Whoopi Goldberg

2002 = Bob Newhart

2003 = Lily Tomlin

2004 = Lorne Michaels

2005 = Steve Martin

2006 = Neil Simon

2007 = Billy Crystal

2008 = George Carlin

2009 = Bill Cosby

2010 = Tina Fey

2011 = Will Ferrell

2012 = Ellen DeGeneres

2013 = Carol Burnett

2014 = Jay Leno

2015 = Eddie Murphy

2016 = Bill Murray

2017 = David Letterman

 

My 3 favorite funny people are:

 

Pryor

Richard Pryor: “What I’m saying might be profane, but it’s also profound.” “Two things people throughout history have had in common are hatred and humor. I am proud that I have been able to use humor to lessen people’s hatred”

 

Carlin

George Carlin: “People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.” “We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years.”

 

RWilliams

Robin Williams: “Spring is Nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party.’” “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” –Mark Twain

 

 

About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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