Late night legend, David Letterman, gave a handful of comedians the opportunity to crack a night full of jokes. This was made possible given the late night host’s retirement beard. He was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour at the John F. Kennedy Center on Sunday night. The beard was quite a topic for the comedians ever since the former late night show host retired in 2015. They roasted the legend and honored him with this year’s award for humour. In addition to the honoring ceremony, the gala also serves as a huge fundraising event, the contributions serving the Center’s year-round educational and artistic initiatives that reach millions of students, educators, and families, all across America.
Among the panel of comedians was Amy Schumer, who cracked a wise one about Letterman having successfully transitioned from a late night show host to a successful civil war re-enactor. She also expressed her relief that David Letterman did not have that beard when he was hosting since that would be a scary thing to see just before going to bed. Jimmy Kimmel, Letterman’s friend and prodigy, ribbed at Letterman’s 2000 heart surgery, saying that Letterman lead the way for all the comedians with his humour, empathy and intelligence, and a heart that underwent quadruple bypass surgery to lead the way. Others who were present on the panel were former Mark Twain Prize for American Humour recipient Bill Murray, and newcomer John Mulaney. Letterman’s contribution to humour was greatly praised by all.
David Letterman was a good sport at the event, taking all the roasting with a smile and an open heart. He thanked all the comedians who helped him reach the moment, including Jimmie Walker, who had hired Letterman as a writer early in his career, and Eddie Vedder, who performed Warren Zevon’s ‘Keep Me in Your Heart’, a Letterman favourite.