Ellen DeGeneres' career in comedy was celebrated at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday night.
The 54-year-old comedian and daytime talk show host was honored as the 15th recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, an award given to those who've made an impact on American society with their work, as Twain did. Tina Fey, Bill Cosby and Will Ferrell are among the past recipients.
While accepting the award (and handily displaying why she won it), DeGeneres reportedly joked that she's "never read Mark Twain before ... But to be fair, he's never seen my HBO specials," according to the New York Times.
Among the attendees were Jimmy Kimmel, past Mark Twain Prize recipient Lily Tomlin and "Glee" star Jane Lynch, who thanked DeGeneres for opening doors for other LGBT entertainers. (DeGeneres, who wed Portia de Rossi in 2010, reportedly quipped of her career Monday, "I just thought I'd be a closeted gay comedian wearing parachute pants.")
Lynch, who's also been open about her sexuality, told DeGeneres, "I'm pretty darn sure I could not have the career I have, that I could not live as openly as I've lived, if it hadn't been for you. You really took one for the team."