WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – American comedian Jon Stewart, whose irreverent brand of political and media satire made him a beloved figure on television, will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour at the Kennedy Centre in April, becoming the 23rd recipient of the prize.
The American prize is named after novelist and essayist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain.
Late comedian Richard Pryor was the first recipient of the prize in 1998; its last recipient was stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle.
“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 Centre said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 19).
Stewart, 59, will be honoured on April 24 in Washington, in a televised ceremony, the first for the award since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am truly honoured to receive this award,” Stewart said, according to the statement.
In 2021, six years after he quit his satirical The Daily Show (1996 to present), Stewart returned to television with a new venture looking at current affairs in depth.
The Problem With Jon Stewart was launched on the Apple TV+ streaming platform on Sept 30.
Stewart’s satire made him a beloved figure with influence far beyond the 2 million to 3 million nightly audience of The Daily Show on the Comedy Central channel.
The Daily Show won 20 Emmy Awards during his 16-year stint as host, and boosted the careers of other comedians, including Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Samantha Bee. Its current host is Trevor Noah.
After stepping aside in 2015, Stewart made only infrequent public appearances, including advocating for wounded veterans and for healthcare benefits for first responders who became ill after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, before making a comeback on Apple TV+.
In 2020, he wrote and directed Irresistible, a political comedy film starring Steve Carell, that drew mixed reviews.