Kimmel, Tomlin, Chenoweth joining celebration honoring Ellen DeGeneres

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The Kennedy Center is set to honor Ellen DeGeneres. - IMAGE: www.kennedy-center.org

Kristin Chenoweth, Steve Harvey, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, John Krasinski, Jason Mraz, Lily Tomlin and others will salute Ellen DeGeneres at the 15th annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor show on Oct. 22.

PBS will broadcast the salute on Oct. 30.

“The Kennedy Center is happy to recognize Ellen DeGeneres’ unique contributions to the world of comedy,” stated Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Through her television programs, stand-up appearances, movies, and even commercials, her special brand of humor has allowed us to find hilarity in the mundane and has kept us laughing for years.”

DeGeneres, after learning of the prize, stated, “It’s such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize. 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?”

DeGeneres will receive a replica of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt.

Proceeds from gala – tickets start at $1,000 but usually sell for much more – support the Kennedy Center’s programs, performances and outreach activities.

Recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize include Richard Pryor in 1998, Jonathan Winters in 1999, Carl Reiner in 2000, Whoopi Goldberg in 2001, Bob Newhart in 2002, Lily Tomlin in 2003, Lorne Michaels in 2004, Steve Martin in 2005, Neil Simon in 2006, Billy Crystal in 2007, George Carlin in 2008, Bill Cosby in 2009, Tina Fey in 2010 and Will Ferrell 2011.