Commenting on the reward, Stewart stated, “I am really venerated to acquire 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.”
“For more than three decades, Jon Stewart has brightened our lives and challenged our minds as he delivers world events and social satire with his brandmark wit and wisdom. For me, tuning into his tv programs over the years has always been identical parts enjoyment and truth”
— Deborah F. Rutter, Kennedy Center President
The Mark Twain Reward for American Playfulness acknowledges 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.
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.
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