The longest-serving late night host in TV history will be honored at the Kennedy Center this weekend. David Letterman, who had a 33-year run on NBC and CBS will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington, D.C. this Sunday evening.
Celebrities lined up to present tributes to Letterman include Senator Al Franken, Jimmy Kimmel, Norm Macdonald, Steve Martin, John Mulaney, Bill Murray, Amy Schumer, Paul Shaffer, Martin Short, Eddie Vedder, and Jimmie Walker. The program will air on PBS on Monday, November 20.
Letterman is a 52-time Emmy Award nominee with 10 wins. He is also a two-time Peabody Award winner and recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. He first became well known as a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in the 1970s before hosting “The David Letterman Show” on NBC mornings in 1980 and “Late Night with David Letterman” starting in 1982. He moved over to CBS in 1993 for 22 years with “Late Show with David Letterman.” He has signed on to host a new talk show for Netflix.
The first ever Mark Twain Prize was presented to Richard Pryor in 1998. Other prior recipients have been Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013) Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), and Murray (2016).
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