Fellow comedians and friends of Jon Stewart talked up their aspirations that the TV funny man might make the jump from joke-seasoned polemics to an all out run for office as the former ‘Daily Show’ star got a comedy honor in Washington Sunday.

Stewart was treated to more than two hours of accolades by the show’s former stable of comedy stars – then concluded with one of his well known sermons, where he warned of the dangers of autocrats and bad leadership – even while sneaking in a shot the cultural treatment of the Will Smith Oscars imbroglio.

‘It’s not the woke police that are going to be an existential threat to comedy. It’s not the Fresh Prince. It’s the Crown Prince’ that is the real threat, Stewart told a crowd of attendees at the annual Mark Twain prize ceremony at The Kennedy Center in DC.

‘It’s not the fragility of audiences. It’s the fragility of leaders,’ he intoned.

Speakers roasted the comedian while pointing out his good works and personal gestures of support.

‘I wish that you would run for president,’ comedian Dave Chappelle, who’s ‘Chappelle’s Show used to lead into Stewart’s on Comedy Central. 

‘But I imagine that would be hard for a coke guy to do,’ he joked – having already riffed that Stewart came off as more of a cocaine guy than a pot user.

Jon Stewart speaks onstage at the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. Fellow comedians Dave Chapelle and Pete Davidson said he could be president in their roasts of the former Daily Show host

Jon Stewart speaks onstage at the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. Fellow comedians Dave Chapelle and Pete Davidson said he could be president in their roasts of the former Daily Show host

Jon Stewart speaks onstage at the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. Fellow comedians Dave Chapelle and Pete Davidson said he could be president in their roasts of the former Daily Show host

Chappelle was one of several longtime friends who attested to Stewart’s humanity and political do-gooderism, after his public crusades to help 9/11 first responders, veterans, and other causes. 

Stewart’s gradual move over the once seemingly sharp line between comedy and politics prompted plenty of political commentary inside the room, at an event attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and other notables.

‘He really could be president tomorrow, and he’s smart enough to not want the job, quipped  ‘Saturday Night Live’ comedian and actor Pete Davidson. 

Davidson, who was joined by girlfriend Kim Kardashian at the event, spoke to Stewart’s loyalty. ‘I have other famous friends, but they’re kind of in the closet about our friendship. Like I can only go over to their house at night and I have to leave before sunrise,’ he said. ‘And that’s why I love Jon, because Jon isn’t afraid fo f*** me in public.’ 

Fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen gave his kind of seal of approval, first by joining guitarist Gary Clarke, Jr. in a rendition of ‘Come Together’ by the Beatles.

Then, the boss – who has provided key support by appearing at Obama and Hillary Clinton rallies in the home stretch of their campaigns – did a solo acoustic version of ‘Born to Run.’  

Bruce Springsteen played 'Come Together' with Gary Parker, Jr., then did a solo version of 'Born to Run' in Stewart's honor

Bruce Springsteen played 'Come Together' with Gary Parker, Jr., then did a solo version of 'Born to Run' in Stewart's honor

Bruce Springsteen played ‘Come Together’ with Gary Parker, Jr., then did a solo version of ‘Born to Run’ in Stewart’s honor

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Communications Director Kate Bedingfield attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC

Jon Stewart and Tracey McShane attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The comedian bowled over in laughter numerous times at the event

Jon Stewart and Tracey McShane attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The comedian bowled over in laughter numerous times at the event

Jon Stewart and Tracey McShane attend the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The comedian bowled over in laughter numerous times at the event

There was plenty of political talk Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in DC for the event honoring John Stewart

There was plenty of political talk Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in DC for the event honoring John Stewart

There was plenty of political talk Sunday night at the Kennedy Center in DC for the event honoring John Stewart

US secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg (R) and his husband Chasten Buttigieg arrive for the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2022.

US secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg (R) and his husband Chasten Buttigieg arrive for the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2022.

US secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg (R) and his husband Chasten Buttigieg arrive for the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2022. 

Steve Carell, a Daily Show alum, is one of several who settled scores with Stewart even while thanking him for helping boost their own careers.

‘He tries to make sense out of the insane and find joy in darkness,’ he said. 

Presidential historian John Meacham, who once appeared as a guest on Stewart’s show, sought a longer view. ‘It has taken an entertainer to show us that news and politics must be more than entertainment. More than ESPN for dorks,’ he said. 

Stephen Colbert, who worked for years on hammy sketches with Stewart before launching to helm ‘The Late Show,’ appeared remotely as he contends with COVID-19.

He called Stewart ‘one of my dearest friends – one of my dearest work friends.’ 

He compared Stewart, who interviewed Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Barack Obama when he was president, to Bill Clinton.

He said they have ‘a lot in common’ with the two-term Democrat.

‘Keen intelligence. The veganism. The rapid aging …’ 

Colbert gave heartfelt remarks about telling Stewart that ‘the best job on television was working for you.’ 

‘I meant that, when I said it in 2000. And 22 years later, I no longer mean that,’ he dead-panned. 

It was one of several jokes about Stewart’s graying appearance.  

Stewart thanked his family and colleagues at the end of the event, when he took the stage. 

He now has a show on Apple+, but it is drawing 40,000 viewers and episode and isn’t the touchstone his old show was in a more fragmented market.

After ribbing some of his colleagues, he returned to serious themes, just like he would on the Daily Show.

He called comedy the ‘banana peel in the coal mine.’

‘When society is under threat, comedians are the ones who get sent away first. It’s just a reminder of people that democracy is under threat. Authoritarians are the threat to comedy to art, to music, to thought, to poetry,’ he said, earning applause. 

 ‘It ain’t the pronoun police, it’s the secret police,’ he said. 

In another sign of Stewart’s issue-driven focus, the comedy award was formally presented to him by 9/11 first responder and advocate John Feal and wounded veteran Israel del Toro.

The show featured a range of Stewart’s slapstick material going back to his Greenwich Village comedy days to his speech on the Mall, his post-9/11 broadcast, and some of his political harangues. 

Stewart, 59, who helmed the Daily Show for 16 years, is the 23rd recipient of the prestigious prize.

He started out doing stand up comedy before taking over the Daily Show in 1999. 

He regularly skewered such targets as George W. Bush and Fox News during his time running the show, where his far flung ‘correspondents’ took shots at DC officials.

Stewart also betrayed a serious side, speaking at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on the National Mall in 2010 alongside Stephen Colbert, now the host of The Late Show on CBS.

He also took up the cause of 9/11 heroes and first responders who suffered medical ailments in the months and years after the Sept. 11th attacks.

FILE - Ttelevision host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in New York, Nov. 30, 2011. Stewart is the latest recipient of the Mark Twain prize for lifetime achievement in comedy, an honor being bestowed Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. (AP Photo/Brad Barket, File)

FILE - Ttelevision host Jon Stewart during a taping of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in New York, Nov. 30, 2011. Stewart is the latest recipient of the Mark Twain prize for lifetime achievement in comedy, an honor being bestowed Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. (AP Photo/Brad Barket, File)

FILE – Ttelevision host Jon Stewart during a taping of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in New York, Nov. 30, 2011. Stewart is the latest recipient of the Mark Twain prize for lifetime achievement in comedy, an honor being bestowed Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. (AP Photo/Brad Barket, File)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Bassem Youssef attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He fashioned his own show in Egypt off of Stewart's work

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24: Bassem Youssef attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He fashioned his own show in Egypt off of Stewart's work

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 24: Bassem Youssef attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He fashioned his own show in Egypt off of Stewart’s work

Israel Del Toro attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He joined in presenting Stewart with the award

Israel Del Toro attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He joined in presenting Stewart with the award

Israel Del Toro attends the 23rd Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at The Kennedy Center on April 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. He joined in presenting Stewart with the award

The event that will be televised on PBS June 21 at 9 pm. 

Organizers cancelled the show in 2020 and last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His full name is Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz. Jon Stewart is his stage name. 

Stewart isn’t always comfortable in the spotlight, although he delivered a touching tribute to the Boss when he was the recipient of a Kennedy Center honor in 2009. At that event, he joked that Springsteen was the child of Bob Dylan and James Brown, who somehow conceived him and dropped him off at an exit on the New Jersey Turnpike.  

Source: dailymail

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