By Christian Blauvelt
April 10, 2011 at 11:28 PM EDT
Kevin Mazur/
  • TV Show

What happens when you fill a ballroom with comedians in black tie? The Comedy Awards, of course! Comedy Central’s first annual celebration of funny people by funny people rolls out tonight across the Viacom-verse, simulcast at 9 p.m. EST on Comedy Central, Spike TV, CMT, TV Land, and VH1.

Considering how little awards recognition comedy gets — you can count on one hand the number of (non-musical) comedies that have won the Oscar for Best Picture — it’s exciting to see comic artists honored by their peers. And lest you think this is some meaningless, self-congratulatory, People’s Choice-style ceremony, check out some of the names on the board that determined the nominees: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Seth MacFarlane, Conan O’Brien, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, and Ray Romano.

To get you psyched for the show, EW talked to Jon Stewart on the red carpet about what these awards mean to comedians and, well, if he thinks they’re even necessary.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is it high time that comedians got their own awards?

JON STEWART: No, this is unnecessary, vestigial, and I’m very excited to be here. We are not a classy group. It’s unusual for us to have our own event.

But comedy’s such a difficult field and it seems like you guys don’t get quite enough validation…

There are jobs that are so much more difficult. Almost any job. Coal mining. Brain surgery. Being a doctor. I would think law school. Accounting. You know, we get to hang out at bars and tell jokes at one o’clock in the morning. I wouldn’t call it grueling.

How would winning a comedy award tonight compare to winning an Emmy?

I haven’t seen the award yet. The Emmy can be used as a dangerous weapon. It’s a giant statue. We don’t know what they’re giving us here. They may go with a rubber chicken, we don’t know what they’re coming up with. [Actually, the award is called the Golden Microphone — it really just looks like that radio-mic prop that used to sit on Larry King’s desk.]

One other thing. Since Stewart is a two-time Oscar MC himself, I couldn’t resist asking the Daily Show host what he thought of Anne Hathaway and James Franco’s hosting gig this year. His answer: “They did a fine job. Part of that gig is absorbing blows, being sort of a human shield.” When I talked to Hathaway for EW’s Summer Movie Preview (on stands April 15) she responded, “Well that’s high praise coming from him. I loved when he hosted. That just made my day!”

Do you plan to watch the Comedy Awards tonight?

  • TV Show
  • 06/10/13
  • In Season
Complete Coverage
Available For Streaming On