Tina Fey was in the nation’s captial Wednesday to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center. At age 40, she is by far the youngest recipent of this prestigious prize and just the third woman on the honor roll following Whoopi Goldberg (2001) and Lily Tomlin (2003).
From Richard Pryor, the first honoree back in 1998, the Kennedy Center has chosen, “people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist.” He was followed by, among others, Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Bob Newhart (2002), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008) and Bill Cosby (2009).
Martin was among those in attendance to salute the seven-time Emmy champ. Others paying tribute to Fey, albeit with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks, included her “30 Rock” castmates Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan, one-time “SNL” colleagues Fred Armisen, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler, “Date Night” co-star Steve Carell as well as Jon Hamm and Betty White, both of whom have wowed with Fey’s words to say.
In accepting the award, Fey said, “I would be a liar and an idiot if I didn’t thank Sarah Palin for helping me get here tonight. My partial resemblance and her crazy voice are the two luckiest things that have ever happened to me.” The star-studded tribute airs on PBS on Nov. 14. In the promotional video below, Fey is her usual witty self as she answers a wide range of questions.
Photo: Tina Fey accepting the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Credit: Kennedy Center