“Before Jon, we had no idea that you could do a TV show where you play clips from another TV show and then say, ‘Boy, that other TV show sucks,'” Mr. Kimmel said. “He attacked Fox News every night and he exposed their hypocrisy, their cynicism and their lies – and thanks to his heroic work, they were never heard from again.”
But his impact has not been lost on the comedy world.
“He inspired a generation of imitators,” said Samantha Bee, another former correspondent who praised him for paving the way for other current satirical shows that boost politics, media and culture. including his own, “Full Frontal”, on TBS; “The Colbert report”; and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”.
His influence was not limited to the United States.
“You are the origin story of all of us,” said Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian comedian who was kicked out of his country after his own satirical news show, “Al Bernameg,” took over. government.
Mr. Stewart was also recognized on Sunday night for his activism and advocacy for relief workers and veterans. Pete Davidson, the ‘Saturday Night Live’ star whose father, a Brooklyn firefighter, died in response to the September 11 attacks, thanked Mr Stewart for the work he had done. This included Mr Stewart’s emotional rebuke to Congress’ failure to secure funding for ill victims, which led to the reauthorization of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
“If my father were here,” said Mr. Davidson, “I know he would be happy for you to take care of him and his friends after all these years.”
The award itself, a bust of Mark Twain, was presented to Mr. Stewart onstage by John Feal, a 9/11 survivor advocate, and Sgt. Israel Del Toro, a wounded Air Force veteran.