MTV Honors Comics

HEEEEERE’S THE JOHNNY: The Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence will be the centerpiece of MTV Networks’ upcoming inaugural Comedy Awards telecast, the N.Y. Times reports. The award will go to a performer selected by a special board created for the show, and will be based on career-long work in comedy. “We just felt it was appropriate to honor Johnny, who did so much for the comedy community, in launching the careers of so many stand-ups,” said MTVN EVP Casey Patterson. Added Carson Entertainment Group President Jeff Sotzing (who’a also Johnny’s nephew), “I think Johnny would feel like this is an appropriate thing to do and he would appreciate it.” The Tonight Show, he added, “was the game-changer for careers.” The trophy is modeled after the old-style microphone that sat in front of Carson during his 30-year run on The Tonight Show. The Comedy Awards will be given out on March 26 in N.Y. and aired April 10 on multiple MTV channels, including Comedy Central, VH1, Spike, CMT, TV Land, Logo and Nick at Nite. (3/7a)