WASHINGTON – John Stewart stepped on stage as if it were 1987 and returned to the nightclub at Comedy Cellar in New York West Village.
There is a lot of talk about what is going to happen in comedy – you know, “the slap” – and will comedy survive in this new moment? “Comedy survives at every moment,” Stewart said, referring to the recent Chris Rock / Will Smith bra. He gestured to Mark Twain’s bronze bust, which was placed on a pedestal next to him. “This beheaded person is a reminder that what we have is fragile and precious.”
Stewart, 59, stood in the middle of the stage at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, where he became the 23rd recipient of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor, a famous distinction that began with Richard Pryor in 1998. The show airs on 9 EDT / PDT Tuesday (check local listings) on PBS and pbs.org.
Photos: Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Chappelle and other comics celebrate Jon Stewart
The April 24 gathering of comedians, including Jimmy Kimmel, Dave Chappelle, Pete Davidson and many of the crew of Stewart’s pioneering “The Daily Show” – Steve Carell, Samantha Bee, Olivia Munn, Ed Helms and, via video , John Oliver and a Steven Colbert on the sidelines of COVID – marked the return of the event, which had been suspended since 2019 due to the pandemic.
Stewart’s passion for music also took a notable turn with Gary Clark Jr. and its four-member complex to function as the house complex. But the loudest cheers went to “Bruuuuuuuuuce” as Stewart’s brother in New Jersey-dom, Bruce Springsteen, broke out in a loud “Come Together” with Clark and later returned for a thrilling audio reading of “Born to Run.”
Some celebrities sat quietly with their significant others in the performers’ box, including Kim Kardashian with Davidson’s boyfriend and comedian John Mullaney with Moon’s partner.
But for more than two hours, Stewart’s nearly 30-year career and expressive eyebrows were being celebrated, from his boyish antics on MTV’s “The Jon Stewart Show” to his political ingenuity and silly viewing of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” . in his current stance as a gray-haired old politician he focused on the change in “The Problem with Jon Stewart” on Apple TV +.
At times, the jokes were bordered by a soft roast. Stewart, Mann said, left The Daily Show, “to pursue his dream of dressing as a conservator for the rest of his life.” Colbert, who was broadcast live from his home library, joked that “Years before anyone heard of COVID, John wore nothing but stained sports pants and avoided human contact.”
Even some compliments were laid on the thorns.
“The most controversial thing he has done is to be friends with me,” Davidson said. “Friendship is not something that half (does)… like acting. Πει gives up… like directing “.
But among the plush bars was genuine appreciation for Stewart’s kindness, as well as for his approach to Army veterans and the first 9/11 correspondents. Air Force Captain Sgt. Israel Del Toro and John Fell, who has worked with Stewart to advocate for the first 9/11 correspondents, were the surprise Twain Award presenters, causing Stewart to weep as he hugged the two men tightly.
And Chappelle, the most recent recipient of the 2019 award, teased Stewart in his unsigned remarks that shindig was “like taking a preview of your funeral,” before praising his longtime friend for his credibility and humanity.
“It’s a miracle to see you working,” Chappelle said as he turned and confronted Stewart on the side of the stage. “You are a cure for what afflicts our culture.”
Here are some other snapshots from the ceremony:
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Jimmy Kimmel makes changes to Bill Cosby
In the history of the Mark Twain Award, only one award has been revoked. In 2018, the Kennedy Center canceled the statue of Bill Cosby Twin in 2009, as well as its honors at the Kennedy Center in 1998, after Cosby was found guilty of indecent assault.
Kimmel told Stewart: “They did not give you a new trophy. We just give you the old Bill Cosby. “
The late night host also recalled meeting Stewart in 1995, “when Jon was wearing a leather jacket. He looked like a more Jewish Fonzie (or) Sylvester Shalom. “
Steve Carell remembers the pain
A dead Carell began his tribute saying, “A comedian is a comedian who has been dead for more than 100 years. We make an exception for John. “
The Daily Show correspondent once recalled some of Stewart’s ridiculous acrobatics for the TV show, including sending Carell to a potentially deadly snake farm, putting him to eat Crisco on camera, and swallowing six Long Island Iced Teas to study the effects of alcohol on cognitive abilities.
But Carell ended with a sweet feeling: “John is trying to find meaning for the insane and find joy in the dark.”
Samantha Bee shares her gratitude
As the first woman to be hired on The Daily Show in 2003 – not coincidentally, she said, the first year the team won the Emmy Award for Best Comedy – Bee still appreciates her former boss, whom she called, ” godfather of just indignation “.
If Stewart had not hired her, Bee would have said, “I would be one of those Disney princesses who goes to children’s birthday parties and teaches them the hard truth about aging.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jon Stewart: PBS Broadcasts Mark Twain Special Award with Chappelle, Kimmel