By Kanishka Singh
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 Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington in April, becoming the 23rd recipient of the prize.
The national prize is named after novelist and essayist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by his pen name Mark Twain. Richard Pryor was the first recipient of the prize; its last recipient was 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 Center said in a statement on Wednesday.
Stewart will be honored 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 honored to receive this award,” Stewart said, according to the statement.
In 2021, six years after he quit his satirical “The Daily Show,” 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 Comedy Central. “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 the Apple TV+ streaming platform.
In 2020, he wrote and directed “Irresistible,” a political comedy film starring Steve Carell, that drew mixed reviews.