On Sunday, David Letterman was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Dubbed “the longest-running late-night host in television”, the 70-year-old humorist who retired two years ago was at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to receive this honor.
Succeeding such comedy greats as Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Carl Reiner, and Lorne Michaels in earning this award, Letterman seemed to enjoy the evening tribute held in Washington, D.C.
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He was particularly taken with Eddie Vedder’s performance. The Pearl Jam frontman covered the late Warren Zevon’s anthem, Keep Me In Your Heart, a song close to Dave’s heart since he and Warren were close pals.
David Letterman’s appearance shocked some fans who have been. used to seeing this funny guy from Indiana looking quite clean cut. Not any longer. Since leaving TV, Dave has grown a big, bushy beard. It’s white and gives the comic a Santa-like look.
Some of Letterman’s colleagues couldn’t resist a jab at this fresh iteration.
Steve Martin, another previous Mark Twain award winner, said, “Dave has always had spot-on comedic instinct. What better time than right now to insist on looking like a Confederate war general?”
David Letterman became a household name after stints on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, guest hosting for his mentor, and on NBC during a morning talk show with a comedic twist.
The television icon then made it to late night on the Peacock Network in 1982 and later, Letterman became a fixture on CBS.
Altogether, wise-cracking Dave put in 33 years on the small screen, a feat worth the Mark Twain if ever there was one.
This event will air on PBS on Friday, October 28 at 9/8 Central.