Washington needed a cathartic night of comedic relief, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and friends delivered.
The Twain Prize serves as a major fundraiser in support of the Kennedy Center’s national artistic and educational programs. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the sixth woman to receive the award in its 21-year history.
It’s been a roller-coaster year for Emmy Award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who has been publicly battling breast cancer. Cancer is no joke, but on this night it served as a jumping-off point to honor the craft of one of America’s leading ladies. In a video message, Larry David joked, in his cringe-worthy way, “I gotta say, the lengths that she went to to get [the Mark Twain Prize], frankly, I was a little surprised. I mean, come on! That whole cancer thing? Cancer?” In addition to cast members from Seinfeld and Veep, Tina Fey, Kumail Nanjiani, Keegan-Michael Key, Lisa Kudrow, Bryan Cranston and Stephen Colbert each gave remarks. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer even created a modern dance performance of Louis-Dreyfus’ greatest physical comedy moments, including the “Elaine Dance.” Politics and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were fair game, too. During her acceptance speech, Louis-Dreyfus quipped, “Back in fourth grade, as a matter of fact, I was in a very serious Holton-Arms production of Serendipity. You know, it’s funny with us Holton girls—I remember every detail of that play. I could swear to it under penalty of perjury. And yet, I don’t remember who drove me to the show or who drove me home. Or if Squee or Tobin were there. Or if Brett put it on his weird wall calendar.”