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Jon Stewart: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize

Jon Stewart
The Kennedy Center
/
https://www.pbs.org

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has presented the 23rd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor to Jon Stewart.

The Prize was awarded at a gala performance featuring some of the biggest names in comedy at the Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022. The show premiered on PBS stations nationwide on June 21, 2022, at 9 p.m. ET.

“I am truly honored to receive this award. I have long admired and been influenced by the work of Mark Twain, or, as he was known by his given name, Samuel Leibowitz.”
Jon Stewart

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain. As a social commentator, satirist, and creator of characters, Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly.

“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,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter about this year’s recipient. “In these often divisive and challenging times, someone like Jon, through his undaunted advocacy for first responders and veterans, also demonstrates that we all can make a difference in this world through humor, humanity, and patriotism. He is most deserving of this award and I certainly cannot wait to hear the Concert Hall full of laughter again on April 24th.”

“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”
Deborah F. Rutter, Kennedy Center President

As a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Stewart received a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853–1940). Previous recipients can be seen by scrolling down this page.

Capital One® is the Presenting Sponsor of this year’s Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor as part of the bank’s three-year, $3 million gift to fund Comedy at the Kennedy Center, a signature program at the Center focused on elevating comedy as an art form and uniting the community through laughter.

The 23rd Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is under the direction of the creative team from Done + Dusted, the Kennedy Center’s producing partner for the Mark Twain Prize since 2018. This year’s ceremony marks the 23rd year that the Kennedy Center’s marquee comedy award will be broadcast nationally.

The event was created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz, and John Schreiber. The Kennedy Center is grateful to Cappy McGarr for his steadfast support of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since its inception in 1998.

Jon Stewart is considered one of America’s top social and comedic voices. Over his 16-year run as host and executive producer of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Stewart redefined political satire in American culture. Stewart and The Daily Show received a collective 56 Emmy Award nominations and won 20 times. Their 10 consecutive wins for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series represent the category’s longest streak in Emmy history. The Daily Show also received two prestigious Peabody Awards.

Most recently, Stewart launched The Problem with Jon Stewart on AppleTV+. In the series, which Stewart hosts and executive produces, he brings together people impacted by different parts of a global problem to discuss how we come up with change. In addition, Stewart serves as an Executive Producer on CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He also co-created and Executive Produced Comedy Central’s award-winning series The Colbert Report. Stewart has twice served as host of both the Grammy Awards® (2001, 2002) and the Academy Awards® (2006, 2008).

Stewart is a best-selling author. In 2004, his book America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (Warner Books) topped the New York Times Best Seller List for 18 consecutive weeks and was named Book of the Year by Publishers Weekly. Additionally, America (The Audiobook) received a 2005 Grammy Award® for Best Comedy Album. Stewart’s latest book, Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race (Grand Central Publishing) also debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

In addition to his work both in front and behind the camera, Stewart is also a dedicated social activist. His efforts have played an integral role in the passing of legislation such as the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Bill, which benefitted thousands of first responders and their families. Stewart also works tirelessly on behalf of America’s wounded veterans through initiatives led by organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and Team Rubicon.