On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize salutes Lily Tomlin, one the country's most beloved comediennes and the 2003 recipient of the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The program aired Wednesday, November 26, 2003 on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)
Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 26, the 90-minute special featured tributes and comic performances from an all-star cast, including entertainers Dave Chappelle, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Darrell Hammond, George Lopez, Catherine O'Hara, Elaine Stritch, Dolly Parton, Miss Piggy, Doris Roberts, and the bright young comic Sarah Jones, who present classic film and television clips of Tomlin's work.
The program opens with tunes from G.E. Smith and the Mark Twain Five, who maintain a sprightly musical presence throughout the show.
Lily Tomlin, the sixth winner of the Mark Twain Prize, meets a standing ovation as she enters the hall to watch her colleagues bring their own special talents to the stage in honor of her accomplishments. Miss Piggy makes the opening presentation, followed by comedic, musical and dance numbers ranging from Dolly Parton's rendition of "9 to 5," to character sketches and impressions by Sarah Jones and Darrell Hammond.
Videotaped tributes from stars such as Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Martin punctuate hilarious and touching archival video clips from Tomlin's own work on television and film.
Tomlin takes the stage in the end, to receive the award. In a trademark gesture, she pulls out a notebook "cleverly stashed in [her] armpit" to recite why she "does and does not deserve" the award, giving significant credit also to Jane Wagner, her writer and partner since 1971, who accompanied her to the ceremony.
Meet the stars...