Jon Stewart will receive the Mark Twain Lifetime Award for Comedy

Comedian, talk show host and political influencer Jon Stewart has been named the 23rd recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Lifetime Achievement in Comedy Award

WASHINGTON — Comedian, talk show host and political influencer Jon Stewart has been named the 23rd recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Award for Lifetime Achievement in Comedy.

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.

“You’re doing drama when you should be debating,” Stewart said in an openly hostile exchange with Carlson. “What you are doing is not honest. What you are doing is partisan hacking.

Stewart’s appearance propelled him to new levels of notoriety 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+.

“To me, listening to his television programs over the years has always been equal parts entertainment and truth,” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement. “In these often divisive and difficult times, someone like Jon, through his fearless advocacy for first responders and veterans, also demonstrates that we can all make a difference in this world through humor, humanity and Patriotism.”

Stewart will receive the award at a gala ceremony on April 24, with testimonials from a host of comedians and surprise guests. He was one of the comedians who spoke at Dave Chappelle’s Mark Twain Award ceremony in 2019.

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