Chat show host and comedian Jay Leno lands the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which comes months after his final retirement from NBC's 'The Tonight Show' earlier this year.

Jay Leno at 2013 Annual Alfred Mann Foundation Gala
Leno lands top US comedy prize

The accolade is the top comedy award offered in the United States, and it was well-deserved by Leno who has presented TV viewers with endless laughter throughout his 37 year television career.  On his receipt of the honour at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Sunday (October 19th 2014), he was praised and made fun of by his comedy peers including Jerry Seinfeld, Wanda Sykes, Garth Brooks, Chelsea Handler and his 'Tonight Show' successor Jimmy Fallon.

More: Jay Leno appears on 'The Tonight Show' for the last time

Fallon described Leno as 'a man who has done so much for NBC... that we had to celebrate his career on PBS', and while his predecessor will no longer be appearing on the award-winning talk show, he insists that 'I didn't leave dead broke like Bill and Hillary. I was able to save'. The Mark Twain prize has previously been presented to the likes of Ellen Degeneres, Bill Cosby and Will Ferrell, but it doesn't mark Leno's TV retirement by any means as the comedian is set to go on to host 'Jay Leno's Garage' on CNBC next year.

More: Jay Leno returns with a new show based on his love of cars

In true comedic fashion, he couldn't escape a roasting from his TV associates. 'When I first heard that Jay was getting this Mark Twain Prize tonight, which is a huge honour, I found out it was for humour, and I was a little bit confused', Chelsea Handler teased. 'I wasn't sure what the connection was.' Meanwhile, Garth Brooks was quick to point out why he loves Leno: 'Success didn't give him a swell head. Nature did that.'

More: Jay Leno insists he'll still be doing stand-up shows

Seinfeld thought that the award could've gone to someone else, however. 'There's no one more deserving to get this wonderful award obviously than Jay. No one - except and I really don't want to sound bitter here - except maybe me?' He told the audience.

The award ceremony is set to air on PBS on November 23rd 2014.