David Letterman has been named as the recipient of this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, one of the highest honors a comic can earn.
The legendary late night host, who’s been enjoying his retirement since he left The Late Show in 2015, will accept the award on October 22nd at Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He’ll be taking over for last year’s winner, Bill Murray, and will be the latest in a long line of incredible performers to receive the prize, including Richard Pryor, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, and Jay Leno.
Deborah Rutter, president of the Kennedy Center, had some very kind words for Letterman in the official release announcing the prize:
“For decades, David Letterman delivered comedy to America that was smart, authentic and, frankly, what many of us came to rely upon to elevate our spirits after a long day. Raise your hand if, like me, you shifted your bedtime because you didn’t want to miss a moment of Dave on television lest you not be part of the conversation with friends and co-workers the next day.”
And, in true Letterman fashion, the beloved late night pioneer responded cheekily:
“This is an exciting honor. For 33 years, there was no better guest, no greater friend of the show, than Mark Twain. The guy could really tell a story.”