WASHINGTON – Newly retired from The Tonight Show, Jay Leno is now being awarded the nation’s top humor prize for following in the tradition of satire and social commentary of Mark Twain, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday.
Leno will be honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in a performance by his fellow comedians Oct. 19 in Washington. The show will be broadcast Nov. 23 on PBS.
The award recognizes people who have had an impact on American society through their humor and social commentary.
After learning about the prize, Leno said in a statement that he’s honored and is a big fan of Twain’s. He said A Tale of Two Cities is one of his favorite books. But apparently no one told Leno that novel was written by Charles Dickens.
For years, Leno, 64, also has maintained a busy stand-up comedy schedule, testing his humor in nightclubs and theaters with more than 100 performances a year. He passed the Tonight Show mantle to Jimmy Fallon in February.
– Associated Press