Beloved U.S. comedian Jay Leno has been selected to receive the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The funnyman, who stepped down as the host of The Tonight Show after 22 years in February (14), will be feted at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on 19 October (14).
Twain Prize co-founder and co-executive producer Cappy McGarr says, "Jay has always been on our list. He is the quintessential American humorist. He does it every night, and has done it for many, many years. And he truly is an equal opportunity satirist."
Joking about the accolade, Leno quips, "What an honour! I'm a big fan of Mark Twain's. In fact, A Tale of Two Cities is one of my favorite books!"
A Tale of Two Cities was actually written by Charles Dickens.
Previous recipients of the top honour include Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Carol Burnett, who took home last year's (13) award.