October 23rd, 2012
12:14 PM ET
Washington, D.C. had a busy night on Monday. While politicos were tuned in to the presidential debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, the artsy set was busy celebrating Ellen DeGeneres at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The 54-year-old comedian and daytime talk show host was honored as the 15th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an award given to those who've made an impact on American society with their work, as Twain did. Tina Fey, Bill Cosby and Will Ferrell are among the past recipients.
While accepting the award (and handily displaying why she won it), DeGeneres reportedly joked that she's "never read Mark Twain before ... But to be fair, he's never seen my HBO specials," according to the New York Times.
Among the attendees were Jimmy Kimmel, former Mark Twain Prize recipient Lily Tomlin, and "Glee" star Jane Lynch, who thanked DeGeneres for opening doors for other LGBT entertainers. (DeGeneres, who wed Portia de Rossi in 2010, reportedly quipped of her career Monday, "I just thought I'd be a closeted gay comedian wearing parachute pants.")
Lynch, who's also been open about her sexuality, told DeGeneres, “I’m pretty darn sure I could not have the career I have, that I could not live as openly as I’ve lived, if it hadn’t been for you. You really took one for the team.”
Catch the full event on PBS next Tuesday, October 30, at 8 p.m. ET.
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