In a triumphant return to in-person festivities, the 2022 Kennedy Heart Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was awarded to Jon Stewart on Sunday evening, the primary 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 in a position to attract the largest names from the worlds of comedy and politics for the ceremony on the John F. Kennedy Heart for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., reflecting the comic’s attain and cultural affect.

The pink carpet noticed a mixture of politicians and comedians, with the likes of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White Home 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 prior to now, graciously acknowledged that she loved his work whatever the topic, “simply as long 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 celeb,” Pelosi mentioned in reference to the comic’s tireless activism on behalf of veterans and 9/11 emergency staff.

Earlier than Stewart, the final individual to obtain the Mark Twain Prize was Chapelle in October 2019, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Sunday’s occasion could have been a contact low-key compared to earlier Twain awards in latest reminiscence, however it additionally contained extra Hollywood names than earlier ceremonies.

Many had been on stage, however some merely slipped into the group. Comic John Mulaney quietly took his seat subsequent to associate and former The Each day Present alum Olivia Munn, whereas on the opposite facet of the theater, Kim Kardashian clung to presenter Pete Davidson’s arm.

Kennedy Heart 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 yr’s Twain prize recipient as he’s not solely an ideal humorist, but additionally a social commentator who’s invested within the betterment of our nation.

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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 Collectively” to start out the present, and would later shut the night with a slow-jams-style model of “

The overwhelming sentiment shared by the presenters, that included Munn, Davidson, Bee, Kimmel, Chappelle, Carell, Ed Helms and Stephen Colbert, was that of deep appreciation to Stewart for investing in them as each individuals 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 way in which 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 every part,” Munn mentioned.

Stewart’s likable persona runs deep, Davidson identified. “Everybody likes this man, essentially the most controversial factor he’s ever performed is be pals with me. John is loyal at friendship, it isn’t one thing he half-asses, like appearing, or offers up shortly, like directing,” Davidson mentioned.

Former Each day Present correspondent Carell described Stewart’s ethic as “making sense out of the insane and discovering pleasure within the darkness.”

Stewart’s age was additionally the topic of a variety of the lighter moments of the ceremony. Colbert, who gave his tribute nearly as he was holed up with COVID-19, mentioned of Stewart’s look that “it appears to be like such as you drank out of the mistaken chalice in an Indiana Jones film.” Referring to the earliest days of the Each day Present, Colbert described Stewart and his fellow correspondents as “a band of merry pirates.”

Presidential biographer Jon Meacham paid tribute to Stewart by describing him as “a comic with a conscience,” including, “Night time after evening 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 youngsters.

He made a joke about Invoice 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 not one of the different recipients turned out to be serial rapists”) and a few references to the Will Smith slap incident on the Academy Awards.

Stewart noticed that Hollywood and D.C. have quite a bit in frequent: “Washington is for individuals who just like the ego and vanity of L.A. however who assume that that metropolis is simply too well-designed,” a reference to D.C.’s notoriously poorly designed and infrequently interrupted road system.

Touching upon the continued debate in regards to the objective and way forward for humor, in addition to its biggest menace, The Downside host mentioned: “There’s a variety of speak proper now about what’s going to occur in comedy.

You understand, there was the slap…. But it surely’s not the fragility of audiences,” mentioned Stewart referring to the menace to comedy, “it’s the leaders. It’s not the Recent Prince, it’s the crown prince,” he added.

He continued, “comedy is the bellwether, we’re the banana peel within the coal mine… Authoritarianism is the menace to artwork, theater, poetry…. What we’ve got is fragile and valuable, and the way in which to protect in opposition to it isn’t to alter how audiences assume, however to alter how leaders lead.”

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