Ellen DeGeneres Receives Mark Twain Prize
Ellen DeGeneres’ career was celebrated last night at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award is presented to artists who have made a significant contribution to the world of American comedy. You can watch the ceremony on WETA at 8pm on October 30, 2012.
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor was created in 1998 by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Krantz, Peter Kaminsky and Bob Kaminsky and Cappy McGarr to recognize the art of humorists who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain.
As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society, who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly. He revealed the great truth of humor when he said, “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”
On the same night the final presidential debate was held, DeGeneres made a reference to Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s remark during the first debate that he would cut funding for PBS.
“Thanks to everyone at PBS. I’m so glad to be part of your farewell season. This is wonderful,” DeGeneres joked.
DeGeneres was honored by celebrity peers including Jane Lynch and Sean Hayes, who both applauded her for coming out of the closet 15 years ago, and Jimmy Kimmel, who quipped, “Thanks to Ellen, vests aren’t just for magicians anymore.”
DeGeneres, 54, rose to fame as a stand-up comedienne and after starring in two sitcoms, she launched her popular daytime talk show. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is now in its 10th season.
Previous recipients of the Mark Twain Prize include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell.
Watch: PBS’s promotional video for the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize awarded last night. WETA will air “Ellen DeGeneres: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” at 8pm on October 30, 2012.