Jay Leno awarded national prize for humor

by Dina Kleiner / Beacon Staff • October 27, 2014

Emerson alum and comedian Jay Leno was awarded a major national prize for humorists earlier this month.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor—which has honored performers like Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, and Tina Fey—was given to Leno at a ceremony on Oct. 19 in the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

The event is scheduled to be televised on PBS on Nov. 23. Viewers will see comedians like Jimmy Fallon, Jerry Seinfeld, Wanda Sykes, and Chelsea Handler affectionately roast Leno’s success, according to an Associated Press report.

Freshman journalism major Molly Mueller said she believes Leno’s new honor positively affects Emerson’s reputation.

“Emerson has an extremely artistic population of people, and I think a lot of that is in creative humor,” Mueller said.

The former Tonight Show host graduated from Emerson in 1973 and gave the undergraduate address at Emerson’s commencement earlier this year. Leno is scheduled to return to television next year with a new show inspired by his passion for cars.