Sara Dahms flew down to Washington D.C. to cover the Mark Twain Prize ceremony at The Kennedy Center. Some of the funniest people in the world gathered to honor Julia Louis-Dreyfus and award her with our highest comedy honor. Sara is a comedy superfan who even goes so far as to call herself a comedy nerd, but now she’s becoming the queen of the comedy red carpet. Two years ago, she took her first comedycation, and since then, she’s been traveling all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere, a confirmed comedy addict, and now she’s agreed to share her travels with us. Read all Sara’s write-ups here!
After meeting Julia, Jerry Seinfeld, Kumail Nanjiani, Tony Hale and Jack Johnson on the Kennedy Center Red Carpet, Sara checked out the actual awards ceremony. The rest of us will be able to watch it on PBS on November 19th at 9pm. Julia’s friends and colleagues honored her with humor, roasting, self-promotion, sincerity, and silliness– everything a comedy honor ceremony should be.
Some of the highlights from the ceremony included a professionally choreographed dance featuring the stars and creators of “Broad City,” Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson that paid tribute to Elaine Benes and all of her glorious moves.
Kumail Nanjiani finally got even with Julia for improvising an insult about his eyebrows which made the final cut during one of their scenes together in “Veep” by repeatedly bringing up an enormous photo of Julia sharing an intimate moment with a clown from a shoot she did for Rolling Stone Magazine. Kumail was open about the fact that Julia did in fact ask for his permission before she insulted his appearance and then the room got a laugh out of it when Kumail pointed out that Julia was now explaining the picture to her mother who was seated next to her.
In a very touching speech, Jerry Seinfeld shared his love and respect for Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The secret to their success together on Seinfeld– to making us all feel and believe that exes such as Jerry and Elaine could maintain such a strong friendship for all of those years– was that after nine years and 180 episodes he never once had to fake their friendship. He simply had to show up to set and the chemistry was there. And it still is.
Larry David, who was responsible for introducing Julia to Seinfeld, filmed a funny yet sentimental video tribute to Julia expressing his fond feelings for Louis-Dreyfus with whom he first met during their time together at “Saturday Night Live” in the early 80’s and then made several jokes that he too was having a cancer scare in a not-even-thinly-veiled attempt to get a Mark Twain Prize himself.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus accepted her award and was as graceful, intelligent and witty as always. She shared funny, yet sentimental stories about each of her honored guests who graced the stage that evening and openly shared what comedy and the art of acting has meant to her in her life. She showed vulnerability as she spoke about her family and strength when she shared anecdotes about her recent battle with cancer. Underneath it all she is extremely motivated by justice, equality and the reawakening of the American Dream and she managed to include some very powerful messages within her speech without making it divisive or overtly political.
She is an artist in the truest sense of the word and besides being the most decorated actress of our time, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is now also the 21st recipient of this most prestigious award you can receive in comedy, The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.