Comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey is among a diverse galaxy of stars paying tribute to 2012 recipient Ellen DeGeneres at "The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor," airing at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 on WHYY.
Harvey, who was in attendance with his wife, Marjorie, has been friends with DeGeneres since their days headlining comedy club gigs. Now the host of the syndicated "Steve Harvey Morning Show," on radio as well as "Family Feud" and "The Steve Harvey Show" on television, the latter serves as a lead-in to "Ellen," DeGeneres' talk show, in several markets. Harvey welcomed the opportunity to pay tribute to his longtime friend and colleague.
"She's got that 'it' factor," he said. "She's got that thing that's hard to put your finger on...I had to move a lot of stuff around to do (the Mark Twain ceremony), but for a person who has been as kind as she has to me, it was an honor."
Also paying homage to DeGeneres, a multiple Emmy Award winner, were Lily Tomlin, a 2003 Twain Prize recipient, Jane Lynch, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, Kristin Chenoweth, John Krasinski and John Leguizamo, with musical performances by Loudon Wainwright, III and Jason Mraz.
Videotaped at the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. on October 22, the 15th annual celebration raised $1.5 million to benefit the Kennedy Center's arts and education programs.
Previous recipients of the prestigious "Mark Twain Prize for American Humor" include Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Lorne Michaels, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey and Steve Martin.
"It's such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize," said DeGeneres. "To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder...why didn't I get this sooner?"