Leno will be honoured with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in a performance by his fellow comedians
The award recognizes people who have had an impact on American society through their humour and social commentary.
After learning about the prize, Leno said in a statement that he's honoured and is a big fan of Twain's. He joked that "A Tale of Two Cities" is one of his favourite books. (But that novel was written by
Leno inherited the "Tonight Show" seat from the legendary
For years, Leno also has maintained a busy schedule of stand-up comedy appearances, testing his humour in nightclubs and theatres with more than 100 performances a year. He passed the "Tonight Show" mantle to
"Leno and Twain both have turned humour into a national conversation and a national conversation into humour, and I'm also quite confident they drove the same car," McGarr said Tuesday. "You know, we receive bad news every day, and it's important for us to keep our humour intact, as difficult as that might be. And thank goodness Jay has contributed to our American humour for a generation and made us keep things in perspective."
Recent winners of the Mark Twain humour prize include
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