Comedian Jon Stewart to Receive Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

© AP Photo / Victoria Will/Invision/APJon Stewart poses for a portrait in promotion of his forthcoming directorial and screenwriting feature debut "Rosewater."
Jon Stewart poses for a portrait in promotion of his forthcoming directorial and screenwriting feature debut Rosewater. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2022
The one-time host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” has been honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the national cultural center of the United States, for his revolutionizing of satirical news and broader impact on American politics and culture.
Stewart will be receiving the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, given to individuals who impact society in similar ways to the famous 19th century author and humorist for whom it is named. Previous winners of the award include the late Richard Pryor, the late George Carlin, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bill Murray.
The most recent winner was Dave Chappelle in 2019. The prizes were not given out and no ceremony was held in either 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"For more than three decades, Jon Stewart has brightened our lives and challenged our minds as he delivers current events and social satire with his trademark wit and wisdom," the Kennedy Center said in a statement on Wednesday.
Stewart rose to prominence as the host of the late-night comedy show “The Daily Show” on the cable network Comedy Central beginning in 1999. During his 16-year tenure, the program won 20 Emmy awards, including 11 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Series. Comedians who were featured as correspondents during Stewart’s run on “The Daily Show” include Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee, all of whom have prospered as comedy actors and acclaimed late-night hosts in their own right.
“All of us who were lucky enough to work with you for 16 years are better at our jobs because we got to watch you do yours, and we are better people for having known you,” Colbert, who hosted the successful “Daily Show” spin-off “The Colbert Report” for 9 years and currently hosts CBS’ “The Late Show,” told an emotional Stewart on his last episode of hosting “The Daily Show.” “You are a great artist and a good man,” Colbert added.
Stewart left “The Daily Show'' in 2015, and it is currently hosted by Trevor Noah. Stewart’s new show, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” debuted on Apple TV+ last year. In addition to his television credentials, Stewart has also hosted the Academy Awards twice and has written and directed two movies, 2014’s “Rosewater'' and 2020’s “Irresistible.” He also co-authored the best-selling “America (The Book)” and “Earth (The Book)” with the writing staff of “The Daily Show.”
Stewart has also been an advocate for the first responders to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who fell ill in the aftermath of the recovery effort. This included lobbying and testifying in front of the US Congress to secure healthcare benefits and funding for them.
“I am truly honored to receive this award,” Stewart stated in the Kennedy Center’s press release.
“I have long admired and been influenced by the work of Mark Twain, or, as he was known by his given name, Samuel Leibowitz,” Stewart added as a reference to his own original birth name, Jonathan Leibowitz. Mark Twain’s birth name was Samuel Clemens.
The ceremony honoring Stewart will take place at the Kennedy Center in April.
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