The Thurber Prize for American Humor was presented last night in a ceremony at — where else? — the Algonquin. The three finalists were America (The Book), by Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin, and David Javerbaum; The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers, by Andy Borowitz; and Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, by Firoozeh Dumas. Adam Gopnik, one of the three judges, hosted the proceedings. A bookishly humorous (or perhaps humorously bookish?) spy reports:
Gopnik MC'd the event. He installed his teenage boy in the front row with the finalists. What a thrill it must have been for Andy Borowitz, Ben Karlin, and DJ Javerbaum to meet the NYer's softball ringer. Proceedings were interrupted when Bernard-Henri Levy made a grand entrance, shirt agape, sunglasses on, and an elegant blonde woman at his side. Gopnik announced to the audience, we have honored guests from France. The crowd was annoyed, and didn't seem to recognize BHL, but many recognized the overwhelming smell of the French lady's perfume: Shalimar.
In the end, the crowd was thrilled by Jon Stewart's win. It was generally agreed that he has a great future in book publishing and humor writing.
And a good thing, because we've been thinking it's about time this Stewart fellow gets some validation.