Ellen DeGeneres to receive top humor prize in DC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jane Lynch and John Leguizamo are joining a lineup that includes Jimmy Kimmel and Kristin Chenoweth to honor Ellen DeGeneres with the nation’s top humor prize in Washington.
The Kennedy Center is awarding DeGeneres the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Monday night. The show will be broadcast Oct. 30 on PBS stations.
Star entertainers will deliver tribute performances to salute DeGeneres, 54. The lineup includes Jason Mraz, John Krasinski and Sean Hayes.
When she first heard she was receiving the same honor that Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell won in recent years, DeGeneres joked, “It really makes me wonder … why didn’t I get this sooner?”
DeGeneres began her career as a comedy club emcee in her native New Orleans. In 1986 after she performed on Johnny Carson’s show, he invited her over to his desk chat. She was the first female comedian to receive that invitation from Carson.
Turning to acting, DeGeneres landed sitcoms on Fox and ABC, eventually starring in “Ellen” from 1994 to 1998. She broke new ground and a taboo in 1997 when she came out publicly as a lesbian and her TV persona then became the first lead character on prime-time TV to reveal she was gay. A record 46 million viewers watched the episode.
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