Jay Leno to Receive Mark Twain Comedy Prize


The former "Tonight Show" host will be honored at a gala at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center on Oct. 19.

Jay Leno is set to be the recipient of this year's Mark Twain prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center said on Wednesday. 

“What an honor! I’m a big fan of Mark Twain’s. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books!" the former Tonight Show host quipped in a statement unveiling the news. Leno's final night as host of the NBC late-night show was Feb. 6; he was succeeded by Late Night host Jimmy Fallon

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Previous Mark Twain honorees at the star-studded Kennedy Center honors have included Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey

Leno will receive the award at a gala at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center on Oct. 19, with the evening broadcast on PBS on Nov. 23. 

"Like Mark Twain, Jay Leno has offered us a lifetime’s worth of humorous commentary on American daily life," David M. Rubenstein, Kennedy Center chairman, said in the statement. "For both men, no one was too high or too low to escape their wit, and we are all the better for it."