Jon Stewart may no longer be a nightly presence in Americans’ living rooms, but he’s stayed busy directing a film, joining Twitter, making cameos on his friend Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show,” debuting his own, and now, winning a comedy prize.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Tuesday that it will recognize the 59-year-old former “Daily Show” host’s political satire and activism when it presents him with its 23rd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, given to individuals who have “had an impact on American society in ways similar to” Twain, at a ceremony on April 24.
Stewart, who was host of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” on Comedy Central for 16 years, stepped away in 2015 to pursue other passions including filmmaking and social activism on behalf of 9/11 first responders. Last fall, he debuted a new biweekly issues-comedy show on Apple TV+, “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” which brings together people affected by different parts of a global problem, like war and the economic issues, to discuss the way forward.
Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said 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 into his television programs over the years has always been equal parts entertainment and truth.”
Previous winners of the Mark Twain Prize include Bill Murray, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett and Ellen DeGeneres. The award has been presented annually since 1998, excepting the pandemic years 2020 and 2021. The prize was also given to Bill Cosby, in 2009, but the Kennedy Center rescinded it in 2018 after he was convicted of sexual assault. His conviction was overturned by a Pennsylvania court last year.