On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize salutes Lorne Michaels, creator of NBC's Saturday Night Live and the recipient of the Kennedy Center's seventh annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The program airs Wednesday, March 2, 2005 on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)
Taped at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 25, 2004, the 90-minute special features tributes and comic performances by an all-star cast including Dan Aykroyd, Candice Bergen, Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut), Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Steve Martin, Tim Meadows, Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), Tracy Morgan, Conan O'Brien, Paul Simon, David Spade and Christopher Walken. The show's live band is led by former "SNL" musical director G.E. Smith.
The special features television clips from the NBC series and never-before-seen screen tests of some of the original "Not Ready for Primetime Players," as well as clips from Kids in the Hall and a selection of Michaels' movie productions, which include Mean Girls, Tommy Boy and Wayne's World.
Accepting the award, Michaels said, "Other than the fact that I work or have worked with some of the best comedy writers of my time I couldn't think of any reason I should be receiving this award. And then I thought of Huckleberry Finn, which I read as a boy and as a young man, and again a few years ago.
And I realized that Saturday Night Live has always been stuck in adolescence. That time of life when you first begin to question authority, declare your independence a time of risk and adventure, and occasional bad behavior." In a nod to what's become a Saturday Night Live tradition, he closed the show by inviting all of the current and former SNL stars in the audience to join him on stage.
Major funding for On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize was provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Public Broadcasting Service. Additional funding was provided by The Mark Twain House & Museum and United Technologies and James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs.