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The Journal Gazette

  • David Letterman speaks during a May 12 news conference in Indianapolis. Letterman's job was to make people laugh every night, but he also didn't mind making his audience uncomfortable. That irascible, independent streak is part of what made him beloved and led to him receiving the nation's top prize for humor. Letterman, 70, is this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center announced Tuesday. (Associated Press)

  • Kimmel   FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2017 file photo, host Jimmy Kimmel appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, said Kimmel will return for the 90th Oscars on March 4, 2018. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

  • Dancers Derek Hough and Jenna Dewan Tatum attend the Entertainment Weekly and People Magazine New York Upfronts celebration at Second Floor on Monday, May 15, 2017, in New York. (Associated Press)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:00 am

People

Letterman tapped for Twain prize

Associated Press

David Letterman, 70, is this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center announced Tuesday. He is the 20th humorist to receive the prize, which began in 1998.

Letterman hosted more than 6,000 episodes of late-night television, starting in 1982 with NBC's “Late Night with David Letterman.” Long considered the heir apparent to Johnny Carson, he lost the “Tonight Show” to Jay Leno. Instead, he signed with CBS, where he hosted “The Late Show” from 1993 until 2015.

The Twain prize is given annually to a humorist whose impact on American society is reminiscent of Samuel Clemens, the 19th-century novelist, satirist and social commentator better known as Mark Twain. Letterman also is a past recipient of Kennedy Center Honors for his influence on American culture.

“This is an exciting honor,” Letterman, who declined interviews, said in a statement. “For 33 years, there was no better guest, no greater friend of the show, than Mark Twain. The guy could really tell a story.”

An Indiana native, Letterman graduated from Ball State.

Oscar host back

Despite his jokes that he'll never get asked back, Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the Oscars once more. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday said Kimmel will return for the 90th Oscars next year with producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, the team behind this year's ceremony.

Ratings for the 89th Oscars this past February were the lowest since 2008 with 32.9 million viewers tuning in.

The 90th Oscars will be held on March 4 in Los Angeles and broadcast live on ABC.

Rockin' ceremony

Bon Jovi entertained graduates and guests at Fairleigh Dickinson University's commencement exercises Tuesday by putting on a surprise performance.

Fairleigh Dickinson won a contest to bring the New Jersey-based rock band to play their graduation by generating the most interest on social media.

Jon Bon Jovi spoke to the graduates before the band performed “Reunion,” a song about a class gathering years later to share memories of their lives.

“Today marks the end of one chapter in your life and the start of another,” he said from a stage at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. “Enjoy the book; you're the one writing it. Don't take anything personally. Accept both praise and criticism equally, but take neither to heart. There are many surprises awaiting you on the journey.”

Happy birthday

Among today's celebrity birthdays: Actor-comedian Bob Saget is 61. Singer Enya is 56. Actor Craig Ferguson is 55. Actor David Eigenberg is 53. Musician Trent Reznor is 52. Singer Jordan Knight is 47. Singer Josh Homme is 44. Singer Andrea Corr is 43. Dancer Derek Hough is 32. Actress Nikki Reed is 29.