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The Kennedy Center Announces a New Focus on Comedy

DC is about to get funnier.

See Jay Leno and Kathy Griffin at the Kennedy Center next year as part of a new focus on comedy. Photograph of Leno by Everett Collection/Shutterstock; Griffin by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.

Just in time for Sunday’s presentation of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center has announced plans to roll out a new program focused on comedy. Thanks to a $5 million donation from Capital One, the performing arts institute is launching Comedy at the Kennedy Center, “focused on elevating comedy as an art form and uniting the local community together through laughter,” according to a press release.

The donation, doled out over five years, will fund programming that includes existing events such as the aforementioned award ceremony and the continually running comedic whodunit Shear Madness, as well as an annual series that will bring three big-name funny people to town to headline the Concert Hall—in 2015, it’s Mark Twain Prize recipient Jay Leno in April and Kathy Griffin in June, plus another who’s yet to be announced. Between those “signature” shows will be occasional free comedy nights on the KenCen’s Millennium Stage.

Meanwhile, if you’re out and about this weekend, keep your eyes peeled for Ross “The Intern” Mathews, who’ll be roaming DC on Saturday filming man-on-the-street bits to pay tribute to his former boss Leno before he’s honored at the KenCen. Check out Capital One’s Twitter feed for updates on where Mathews will be.