“Before John, we had no idea you could do a TV show where you play clips from another TV show and then we said, ‘Boy, that other TV show sucks,’” Mr. Kimmel said. “He took on Fox News every night and exposed their hypocrisy and sarcasm. and their lies–and thanks to his heroic deed, they had never heard of them again.”
But his influence was not lost in the world of comedy.
“He inspired a generation of imitators,” said Samantha B, another former reporter who praised him for paving the way for other satirical news shows spurring on politics, media and culture, including her show “Full Frontal” on TBS; “Colbert Report”; and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.” and “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver.”
Its impact was not limited to the United States.
“You are the origin of all of us,” said Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian comedian who fled his country after the government confronted his satirical news show, Al-Program.
Mr. Stewart was also honored Sunday night for his activism and advocacy on behalf of emergency workers and veterans. Pete Davidson, the “Saturday Night Live” star whose father, a Brooklyn firefighter, died in response to the 9/11 attacks, thanked Mr. Stewart for the work he had done. This included Mr. Stewart emotional reprimand Congress failed to secure funding for sick victims, which led to the reauthorization of the Victims Compensation Fund on 9/11.
“If my father were here,” said Mr. Davidson, “I know he would be glad that you are looking for him and his friends after all these years.”
The award itself, a bust of Mark Twain, was presented to Mr. Stewart on stage by John Vail, defender of the 9/11 survivors, and Sgt. Israel del Toro, wounded in the Air Force.
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