"Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau (search) will receive the Freedom of Speech award from the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in February, the festival said Wednesday.

Comedian Jim Carrey (search), director Christopher Guest (search) and the writers of The Harvard Lampoon will also be honored at the festival, scheduled for Feb. 9-13.

The Freedom of Speech Award acknowledges artists who speak out on social issues despite challenges.

"Garry's work is more relevant than ever, even though it's been around for more than 20 years," Festival Director Craig Minassian said.

"He's taken a stand with his art. It's a nice generational look at the comic strip."

The festival will also examine "comic book culture" through such channels as the online literary journal McSweeney's and reality television shows.

"Even if reality TV was a fad, it opened the door to saying that content can come from anywhere," Minassian said.

"That's true of comedy content coming from independent films, graphic novels and cartoons. I just don't think there's any place you can't afford to look," he said.