Jay Leno has been named "Man of the Year" by Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the drama troupe of Harvard University, the alma mater of Conan O'Brien.
The annual prizes are given to performers who have made a lasting and impressive contribution to entertainment. The troupe selected actress Julianne Moore, who recently played a lesbian mother in the film "The Kids Are All Right," as "Woman of the Year."
Leno, a standup comedian and Massachusetts native, hosted "The Tonight Show" between 1992 and 2009, after which O'Brien took over for seven months. Leno regained his position after O'Brien left the network last year as part of an NBC shake-up.
Leno was selected because he has "entertained millions of people over his long and accomplished career in comedy," the Hasty Pudding Theatricals' website stated, adding: "Jay Leno's comedy extends across generations."
Last week, radio shock jock Howard Stern said on the television talk program "Piers Morgan Tonight" that Leno is "insane" and a "crook" and added that he did a "terrible thing" to O'Brien by taking back his job as "The Tonight Show" host.
O'Brien graduated in 1985 from Harvard University, which gave former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson the Hasty Pudding Award in 1997. A parade and roast for Moore is set to be held on January 27. Festivities honoring Leno will take place on February 4.