Tina Fey Live at Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts became a "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock" annex, Tuesday, Nov. 9, as Tina Fey was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Many of Fey's comedic friends were there to celebrate her award—the 13th Mark Twain Prize and the third for a woman—and, of course, her friendship and career, from Second City Comedy to SNL, and other comedy connections.
The wisecracking love fest included lots of TV clips and featured a dozen of Fey's favorites on stage: Fred Armisen, Steve Carell, Jimmy Fallon, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Hudson, Jane Krakowski, Steve Martin, Seth Meyers, Lorne Michaels, Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler and Betty White.
Steve Martin, a Mark Twain awardee, opened the show: "Every year, Washington, D.C., becomes a comedy Mecca. And we know how funny Mecca is." Via video, Fey's "30 Rock"co-star Alec Baldwin appeared as Mark Twain himself, talking to the future, and befuddled that a women will receive a humor award. Amy Poehler, looking up to the balcony level, where Fey sat with husband Jeff Richmond and her parents, said, "You got that 'Evita theme working."
Lorne Michaels, another Twain awardee, praised the group of "talented performers with low ratings." Betty White confessed: "I'm the only one here who actually dated Mark Twain. And I can tell you they didn't call him Samuel Longhorne Clemens for nothing."
Accepting her award, the night's honored guest took to stage of the Kennedy Center, saying that it would soon be known as "The Tea Party Bowling Alley and Rifle Range." Fey joked that she thought the award was for "Austrian humor" and that, in the future, people will say of her jokes: "Wow, that is racist." She thanked Lorne Michaels, who hired her on SNL. Acknowledging her famed Sarah Palin impressions, Fey recalled the 2004 Life magazine cover of her and Sen. John McCain, foretelling the look of the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign. Later, Fey and her cohorts were seen hanging out at the Four Seasons.
"Tina Fey: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Award" will air on PBS nationwide, Nov. 14 (WETA locally).