Late comedian George Carlin has been honoured with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour in a glittering ceremony in Washington.
Celebrities including Joan Rivers, Jon Stewart and Lily Tomlin lined up to pay tribute to the funnyman, who passed away in June (08).
The event, held at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on Monday night (10Nov08), was to celebrate Carlin's contribution to comedy and is the first time the honour has been awarded posthumously.
Stewart says, "For all his anti-establishment cred, he was a working man. He punched in. He sat down and he wrote. He respected what he did."
Tomlin also saluted Carlin onstage, telling the crowd, "His comedy wasn't just joke, joke, joke."
And she compared the late star to Twain, because "his performances were often like essays."
Carlin's daughter revealed her father was delighted to find out he would be receiving with the award, shortly before he passed away.
Kelly Carlin MCCall says,"He was thrilled. I think he represented a lot of what Mark Twain did for our country, not only being smart and funny but also being a sharp commentator."
However, the event was marred by a handful of protesters gathered near the Kennedy Center, some holding signs reading, "Carlin's Going to Hell."
Past recipients of the Mark Twain Prize include Tomlin, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor and Billy Crystal.