“The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow,” Mark Twain wrote in 1897. He might have been talking about Jon Stewart, the former Daily Show host who is once again mining life’s agonies for laughs with his Apple TV+ program The Problem with Jon Stewart. In honor of his accomplishments, Stewart will be awarded the 2022 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 24th.
Via Rolling Stone, Stewart said in a statement, “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.” (It was actually Samuel Langhorne Clemens.)
“For more than three decades, Jon Stewart has brightened our lives and challenged our minds as he delivers current events and social satire with his trademark wit and wisdom,” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said. “For me, tuning into his television programs over the years has always been equal parts entertainment and truth.”
The Problem with Jon Stewart debuted in September of 2021, and it’s already proven capable of shifting the national conversation. Earlier this month, Stewart caused a stir after joking about anti-Semitic tropes among the banker goblins in Harry Potter. The Mark Twain Prize will join an already crowded trophy case; Stewart has previously taken home two Grammys, five Peabody Awards, and 22 (!) Emmy Awards.
Due to the pandemic, this is the first Mark Twain Prize given since 2019, when Dave Chappelle was the recipient. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won it in 2018.