Amy Schumer to receive Michael Ian Black's 'Pudd'nhead' comedy prize in Redding this month

The Mark Twain Library will honor comedian and actress Amy Schumer at its eighth annual Pudd’nhead Prize for Outstanding Humor on Sept. 25 in Redding. 

The award was created in 2014 by comedian and Redding resident Michael Ian Black and is meant to celebrate Mark Twain’s contribution to comedy as inspired by one of Twain’s stories, “The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson.” It’s part of the Pudd’nhead Festival, which includes a Pudd’nhead for children, a stand-up comedy night and the award show. The festival is a fundraiser that is “essential” to the library’s budget, according to its website.

The trophy is a four-foot golden spoon and is awarded to American comedians. Past recipients include Roz Chast, Ben Stiller, Jim Gaffigan, Seth Meyers, Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm and Laura Linney.

Michael Ian Black, left, presents the Pudd'nhead Prize -- a large spoon -- to actor Jon Hamm during a Mark Twain Library fundraising event founded by Black.
Michael Ian Black, left, presents the Pudd'nhead Prize -- a large spoon -- to actor Jon Hamm during a Mark Twain Library fundraising event founded by Black.Contributed photo
Michael Ian Black, left, host of upcoming podcasts to benefit the Mark Twain Library, with actor Paul Rudd when he was honored during the library's Pudd'nhead Festival.

Michael Ian Black, left, host of upcoming podcasts to benefit the Mark Twain Library, with actor Paul Rudd when he was honored during the library’s Pudd’nhead Festival.

Contributed photo /

Jen Wastro, co-chair of the Pudd’nhead Festival, said there’s nothing quite like seeing Black riff with comedians on stage at the award show.

“It's a very intimate, rare opportunity for our guests. It's not a talk show, nobody’s talking in sound bites. There's no press. There's no paparazzi. It's a very unique opportunity because it is so intimate,” she said.

Last year, Laura Linney accepted the award virtually, but this year Wastro is looking forward to having Schumer and all attendees in person.

The show is sold out with 250 tickets distributed, and there’s still a wait list of people who want to attend. This year, the library found a way to make sure a far-reaching audience can enjoy the show. As of Saturday, Oct. 2, anyone will be able to stream the show from the library’s website for a minimum $25 donation.  

“During COVID, the popularity of the library's virtual programming was extraordinary. We pivoted, like everybody else, and were doing virtual programming right from the start. But it gained in popularity. It gained in in reach,” Wastro said. “Now we have people from Delaware watching programs with the Mark Twain Library. Otherwise, obviously, that never would have happened. So, we’ve learned and been very, very pleased and touched with the audience of Mark Twain Library programs.”

Past winners

2020: Laura Linney

2019: Jon Hamm

2018: Paul Rudd

2017: Seth Meyers

2016: Jim Gaffigan

2015: Ben Stiller

2014: Roz Chast