Jon Stewart will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor | Government and politics

By ASHRAF KHALIL – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A host of celebrities and comedy royalty will gather Sunday night at the Kennedy Center as comedian, talk show host and political influencer Jon Stewart receives the Mark Twain Award for Lifetime Achievement. his achievements in the field of humor.

Stewart, the 23rd recipient of the award, will be honored with testimonials and skits from fellow comedians and former Mark Twain recipients. Stewart himself spoke at Dave Chappelle’s Mark Twain ceremony in 2019.

Stewart, 59, born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, rose to prominence as a comedian and host of several failed talk shows before taking over Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” in 1999. His 16-year career as a that “Daily Show” host turned him into a cultural and political force as Stewart trained his satirical eye on both politics and an increasingly polarized national media.

In perhaps his most iconic moment, Stewart appeared on CNN’s popular talk show “Crossfire” in 2004 and challenged the show’s entire premise of left-versus-right talk. Stewart told co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala that they had a “responsibility to public discourse” which they belittled with insincere political role-playing.

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Stewart’s appearance propelled it to new levels of prominence and political relevance and may have sealed the fate of “Crossfire,” which was canceled three months later.

Since retiring from “The Daily Show” in 2015, Stewart has become an avid supporter of a number of social causes and one of the most prominent voices in support of health care for 9/11 first responders in New York. York. He recently returned to television as the host of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Apple TV+.

When Stewart’s selection was announced in January, Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter hailed her work as “equal parts entertainment and truth.”

Rutter said Stewart’s career “demonstrates that we can all make a difference in this world through humor, humanity and patriotism.”

This will be the first Mark Twain ceremony since Chappelle’s in 2019. The award skipped 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from this two-year break, the prize has been awarded annually since 1998, with Richard Pryor receiving the first honours.

Other recipients include Carol Burnett (the oldest recipient at 80), Tina Fey (the youngest at 40), Eddie Murphy, Jonathan Winters, George Carlin and Lily Tomlin. 2009 recipient Bill Cosby had his award rescinded in 2018 amid multiple sexual assault allegations.

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