Entries in Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (4)


Ellen DeGeneres Receives Mark Twain Prize

Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Extra(WASHINGTON) -- Ellen DeGeneres' career was celebrated Monday 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.

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.

DeGeneres joked, "Thank you, PBS.  I'm so glad to be part of your final season."

PBS will air Ellen DeGeneres: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize on Oct. 30.

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."

The 54-year-old DeGeneres rose to fame as a stand-up comedienne.  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.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will Ferrell Receives Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Will Ferrell was honored by many of his comedy colleagues in Washington, D.C., Sunday night, when he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The prize is awarded annually to humorists who have had an impact on American society.

According to the Washington Post, Jack Black opened the show with his own version of the Queen hit "We Will Rock You," chanting, "Will, will, Will, will rock you."  He remarked that Ferrell "makes you laugh so hard you cry and pee at the same time."

Ferrell was also saluted by his former Saturday Night Live co-stars Molly Shannon and Tim Meadows, plus current SNL cast member Andy Samberg, Conan O'Brien, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick and the rock band Green Day.

Upon accepting his award -- a bronze bust of Mark Twain -- Ferrell dropped it on stage, causing it to shatter into pieces.  It was part of a gag; the bust wasn't real.

That didn't stop him from joking, “If my children try to touch [the award], I will beat them.”

Throughout the night, clips of Ferrell's best work were screened, including his most memorable SNL sketches and a scene from his Broadway show You're Welcome, America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.  His notable movie credits include Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers and Megamind.

Ferrell is the 14th recipient of the Mark Twain prize.  Previous honorees include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Bill Cosby, George Carlin and Tina Fey.

Sunday's gala will air on PBS on Oct. 31.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Anchorman' Ron Burgundy Meets The Press

Peter Kramer/NBC(WASHINGTON) -- Actor and comedian Will Ferrell, better known to journalists as the infamous, and inappropriate, anchorman Ron Burgundy, stopped by the White House briefing room Friday afternoon. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave Ferrell a brief tour of the press room and let him test drive the podium.

Ferrell is in D.C. to attend a Kennedy Center celebration in his honor. This Sunday, he will receive the Mark Twain Prize for American humor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tina Fey Honored with Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Photo Courtesy - All Goldstein | NBC(WASHINGTON) -- As she prepared to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey joined comedians and colleagues from Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock on the red carpet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., bowing humbly to the legends who came before her in receiving this award.
“I’m very, very grateful and very kind of humbled because all the other people who hold this prize are very meaningful to me,” Tina Fey told ABC News. “From Steve Martin to Lorne Michaels, Dr. Cosby, Lily Tomlin.  These are people that I just have admired for so long, so I’m very honored to be among them.”
But Fey has made waves of her own in the comedy world. At the age of 40, Fey is the youngest person to ever receive the prize and is the third woman, joining Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin in the elite group of honorees.
The Mark Twain Prize is bestowed upon individuals who demonstrate the characteristics of Mark Twain, who was considered to be one of the world’s premier social commentators and satirist.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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