Jay Leno Wins Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will honor comedian Jay Leno with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the nation’s top award for humor, according to the Associated Press. Leno, 64, has a rich, long-standing career entertaining American audiences. He took over as host for NBC’s The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson stepped down in 1992. Since relinquishing his chair to Jimmy Fallon last February, Leno has created Jay Leno’s Garage, an online series dedicated to his love of …

David Brenner: The Comic Who Made Everyday Life Seem Funny

As a stand-up comic, David Brenner’s trademark line was “Did you ever notice … ?” Brenner, who died on March 15 at age 78 in New York City, made his living calling the myriad absurdities of everyday life to our attention – “the dumb things we say and do,” he once put it. Brenner, in fact, could get an entire routine out of, say, the frustrations that drivers experience when they have to ask for directions. Here he is, doing that …

Jay Leno Says Good Night

By Lynn Elber AP Television Writer BURBANK, Calif. (AP) – Jay Leno, as affably efficient backstage as he is in front of the camera, avoids waxing poetic about his 22-year “Tonight Show” run that draws to a close Thursday. Instead, he relies on numbers to tell the story. Leno’s tenure is second only to Johnny Carson’s 30 years; “Tonight” was No. 1 among viewers when he took it over and will be when he hands it off to Jimmy Fallon; …

Eydie Gormé: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Pop Diva

Eydie Gormé was the sort of entertainer that you could imagine a young Don Draper taking his first wife Betty to see in some swank late-1950s nightclub – or better yet, curling up with her on the couch to watch on the Philco TV as Gormé  appeared with husband-to-be Steve Lawrence on The Tonight Show, where the musical couple were regulars during the Steve Allen era. Gormé, who died on Aug. 10 at age 84 in Las Vegas, was a superstar of the …

‘Old Jews Telling Jokes’ – What’s Not to Like?

In celebration of the 500th performance of the Off-Broadway hit Old Jews Telling Jokes, we grabbed a few minutes with cocreator Daniel Okrent. Okrent, 65, is a journalist with a long career, including a stint as the New York Times’ first “public editor,” or ombudsman. He’s recently written a book about the history of Prohibition. And he’s also a self-described “old Jew” who loves telling funny stories. About five years ago, several friends emailed him about a website called “Old Jews …