All that cynicism is paying off.
Satirist Harry Shearer, who plays unctuous TV reporters in both “Godzilla” and “The Truman Show” and hosts a weekly radio program on Santa Mon-ica’s KCRW-FM, will be given the Liberty Hill Foundation’s Upton Sinclair Award for his relentless skewering of foibles and corruption in high places.
Shearer will receive the Sinclair prize from Warren Olney, his colleague at KCRW, during a June 10 dinner at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Shearer is being recognized for his 15-year-old Sunday radio program, “Le Show,” as well as for his TV guest spots, art installations, CDs and magazine writing. “Le Show” is syndicated on more than 80 stations nationwide.
“In wielding humor to rally for tolerance and reason, Harry is our last defense against the growing absurdity of our political and media culture,” said Liberty Hill Foundation founder Sarah Pillsbury. The award was inspired by Sinclair’s staunch critiques of social and economic abuses in American life.
At the dinner, the band Rage Against the Machine will be recognized for using recordings, videos and a Web site to inform fans about social issues of the day and to urge their involvement.
In its 20-year history, the Liberty Hill Foundation has given more than $7 million to community groups working to alleviate inner-city problems. Proceeds from the awards event will go to the grants program.
Shearer created such classic “Le Show” segments as “Hellcats of the White House: The Bel-Air Years,” a paean to the Reagan era; and “Clinton-Something,” chronicling our current president’s White House follies. He even skewers National Public Radio, of which KCRW is an affiliate member, in the character of Ira Zipkin, host of the faux shows “Said and Done” and “Bookbag.”
Shearer, a former writer and cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” is embarking on his 10th season doing multiple voiceovers for “The Simpsons.” He also appeared in the films “The Right Stuff,” “The Fisher King” and “Pure Luck.”
With Tom Leopold and Peter Matz, Shearer wrote “J. Edgar!,” a dark musical comedy about the cross-dressing former head of the FBI.