Jon Stewart Warns “Authoritarianism” Is the Greatest Threat to Comedy as He Receives Mark Twain Humor Prize

In a triumphant return to in-person festivities, the 2022 Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was awarded to Jon Stewart on Sunday night time, the first recipient of the award in additional than two years.

Stewart, the twenty third individual to obtain the prize, considered one of comedy’s high honors, was ready to draw the largest names from the worlds of comedy and politics for the ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., reflecting the comic’s attain and cultural affect.

More from The Hollywood Reporter

The crimson carpet noticed a mixture of politicians and comedians, with the likes of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and husband Chasten strolling the carpet alongside Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Chappelle and Steve Carrell.

Speaker Pelosi, who has been the topic of Stewart’s ribbing in the previous, graciously acknowledged that she loved his work no matter the topic, “simply so lengthy as it’s humorous.” “I’m enthusiastic about Jon Stewart for his humor after all,” mentioned Pelosi, “however from the standpoint of his impression on public coverage, he’s been centered on what he is aware of about and cares about. He doesn’t simply come at it as a star,” Pelosi mentioned in reference to the comic’s tireless activism on behalf of veterans and 9/11 emergency staff.

Previous to Stewart’s large night time, the final individual to obtain the Mark Twain Prize was Chapelle in Oct. 2019, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Sunday’s occasion could have been a contact low-key as compared to earlier Twain awards in latest reminiscence, however it additionally contained extra Hollywood names than earlier ceremonies. Many have been on stage, however some merely slipped into the crowd. Comedian John Mulaney quietly took his seat subsequent to companion and former The Daily Show alum Olivia Munn, whereas on the different aspect of the theater, Kim Kardashian clung to presenter Pete Davidson’s arm.

Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein opened the occasion with a nod to the seriousness of present occasions each at dwelling and overseas, then added that Stewart was chosen as this 12 months’s Twain prize recipient as he’s not solely a fantastic humorist but additionally a social commentator who’s invested in the betterment of our nation.

Bruce Springsteen, like Stewart a New Jersey native, took the stage to accompany Gary Clark Jr., the night’s music director, for a canopy of the Beatles’ “Come Together” to begin the present, and would later shut the night with a slow-jams-style model of “Born to Run.”

Bruce Springsteen - Credit: Scott Suchman for WETA

Bruce Springsteen – Credit: Scott Suchman for WETA

Scott Suchman for WETA

The overwhelming sentiment shared by the presenters, that included Munn, Davidson, Bee, Kimmel, Chappelle, Carrell, Ed Helms and Stephen Colbert, was that of deep appreciation to Stewart for investing in them as each folks and professionals, and for stepping again from the highlight to permit their younger careers to develop. Munn shared a narrative of how Stewart discovered and inspired her, saying that Stewart additionally “modified the approach my technology noticed the information and public coverage. “Jon made it cool to have an opinion on the information—and that’s why each goddamn asshole now has an opinion on all the pieces,” Munn mentioned.

Stewart’s likeable persona runs deep, Davidson identified. “Everyone likes this man, the most controversial factor he’s ever completed is be associates with me. John is loyal at friendship, it isn’t one thing he half-asses, like performing, or offers up rapidly, like directing,” Davidson mentioned. Former Daily Show correspondent Carrell described Stewart’s ethic as “making sense out of the insane and discovering pleasure in the darkness.”

Stewart’s age was additionally the topic of plenty of the lighter moments of the ceremony. Colbert, who gave his tribute just about as he was holed up with COVID-19, mentioned of Stewart’s look that “it seems such as you drank out of the fallacious chalice in an Indiana Jones film.” Referring to the earliest days of the Daily Show, Colbert described Stewart and his fellow correspondents as “a band of merry pirates.”

Presidential biographer Jon Meachum paid tribute to Stewart by describing him as “a comic with a conscience” including, “Night after night time you’ve given a divided America an opportunity to get its ethical bearings. Most comedians make jokes, however Jon, you make a distinction.”

Accepting his award, Stewart started his speech by speaking brazenly and lightheartedly about his household, from his mom who raised him as a single mother to his spouse and his teenage children. He made a joke about Bill Cosby’s revoked award (“I’m the twenty third recipient of this very prestigious award, and you already know it’s prestigious as a result of nearly none of the different recipients turned out to be serial rapists”) and a few references to the Will Smith slap incident at the Academy Awards.

Stewart noticed that Hollywood and D.C. have so much in widespread: “Washington is for individuals who like the ego and conceitedness of L.A. however who suppose that that metropolis is simply too well-designed,” a reference to D.C.’s notoriously poorly designed and sometimes interrupted road system.

Touching upon the ongoing debate about the goal and way forward for humor, as nicely as its best risk, The Problem host mentioned: “There’s plenty of discuss proper now about what’s going to occur in comedy. You know, there was the slap… But it’s not the fragility of audiences,” mentioned Stewart referring to the risk to comedy, “it’s the leaders. It’s not the Fresh Prince, it’s the crown prince,” he added.

He continued, “comedy is the bellweather, we’re the banana peel in the coal mine… Authoritarianism is the risk to artwork, theater, poetry… What we now have is fragile and valuable, and the approach to guard towards it isn’t to change how audiences suppose, however to change how leaders lead.”

The 2022 Mark Twain Prize ceremony can be broadcast on June 21 on PBS.

Jon Stewart - Credit: Scott Suchman for WETA

Jon Stewart – Credit: Scott Suchman for WETA

Scott Suchman for WETA

Best of The Hollywood Reporter

Click here to read the full article.

Source link