Jon Stewart to Receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor From Kennedy Center

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Jon Stewart, the comedian, activist and former host of “The Daily Show,” will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center.

Stewart will be recognized in a gala ceremony and performance April 24 that will be broadcast nationally. Due to the pandemic, the award has not been given out since Dave Chappelle took home the honor in 2019.

“I am truly honored to receive this award. 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 joked in a statement.

“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. For me, tuning in to his television programs over the years has always been equal parts entertainment and truth,” Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter said. “In these often divisive and challenging times, someone like Jon, through his undaunted advocacy for first responders and veterans, also demonstrates that we all can make a difference in this world through humor, humanity, and patriotism. He is most deserving of this award and I certainly cannot wait to hear the Concert Hall full of laughter again on April 24.”

Past recipients of the prize have included Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016), David Letterman (2017) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2018).

The 23rd Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is under the direction of the creative team from Done + Dusted, the Kennedy Center’s producing partner for the Mark Twain Prize since 2018. This year’s ceremony marks the 23rd year that the Kennedy Center’s marquee comedy award will be broadcast nationally.

Tickets for the performance go on sale to Kennedy Center Members on Feb. 9 at 12 p.m., and to the general public on Feb. 11 at 12 p.m.

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