A talent lineup that includes Lily Tomlin, Jimmy Kimmel and Steve Harvey will pay tribute to Ellen DeGeneres, this year’s recipient of the Kennedy Center’s annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Others entertainers, including Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, John Krasinkski and Jason Mraz will help celebrate DeGeneres at the Oct. 22 salute, which will air Oct. 30 on PBS.
DeGeneres’s 1990s sitcom “Ellen” featured a character who came out as a lesbian, focusing national attention on gay rights and earning her a Peabody Award. She is a best-selling author, a 12-time People’s Choice Award winner and former Academy Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards host. Her syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” has earned 38 Daytime Emmy awards over its 10 seasons, and she has been on of Forbes magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women and Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Most Powerful Entertainers lists.
“It’s such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize. To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder . . . why didn’t I get this sooner?” DeGeneres said in May, when the prize was announced.
The Twain, which was first awarded to Richard Pryor in 1998, “recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain.” DeGeneres is the 15th recipient. Past winners include Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal. Will Ferrell was last year’s recipient.