Jon Stewart: The Mark Twain Prize
Premieres Tuesday, June 21, 2022 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Friday, June 24 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On demand with PBS Video App
"Jon Stewart: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize" was recorded at a gala performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 24, 2022. Stewart is the 23rd recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The ceremony, the first since 2019 due to the pandemic, features a lineup of leading performers, including Samantha Bee, Steve Carell, Dave Chappelle, Gary Clark, Jr., Stephen Colbert, Pete Davidson, Ed Helms, Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Meacham, Olivia Munn, John Oliver, Bruce Springsteen and Bassem Youssef. The evening pays tribute to Stewart’s humor and accomplishments.
Commenting on the prize, Stewart said, “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 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. Recently, Stewart launched THE PROBLEM WITH JON STEWART on Apple TV+ where he brings together people impacted by different parts of a global problem to discuss how we come up with change.
Stewart is an award-winning television and film producer, a best-selling author, and a social activist. His dedicated efforts in social activism 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 on behalf of America’s wounded veterans through initiatives led by organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project and Team Rubicon.
The Kennedy Center’s 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.
Past recipients of the prize have been Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016), David Letterman (2017), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2018), and Dave Chappelle (2019.) As a recipient of the Mark Twain Prize, Stewart will receive a copy of the 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940). The bust and its images are courtesy of the Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut
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A production of WETA Washington, D.C.; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and Done + Dusted. Executive producers are John F. Wilson for WETA, Deborah F. Rutter for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and David Jammy, Rick Austin and Kristen Wong for Done + Dusted. Corporate funding provided by Capital One. Major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.