Julia Louis-Dreyfus feted for career achievement in comedy

Julia Louis Dreyfus finds humor in cancer and the current administration while accepting Mark Twain Prize

"We both started comedy in Chicago". Fey referenced her famous role playing the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, on Saturday Night Live, saying she and Louis-Dreyfus "both won Emmys for playing people who should never be vice-president".

Seinfeld credits the success of the show to Louis-Dreyfus, and said he knew just 30 seconds into her audition that she was flawless for the role of Elaine Benes, his ex-girlfriend turned good friend in the series.

"Julia let Elaine be selfish and petty and sarcastic and a awful, bad dancer", Fey said.

Jerry Seinfeld always had the best on-screen chemistry with close friend Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Colbert also referenced the center's decision to rescind the 2009 Mark Twain award from Bill Cosby, who was convicted of sexual assault earlier this year.

During last year's ceremony to honor David Letterman, Cosby's name was never mentioned.

Colbert displayed a sign declaring "167 day's since the last Un-Twaining".

"I think it's an important conversation to have about health and health care", she said on the show.

Jerry Seinfeld paid tribute to former co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus by recalling how hard it was to pull off their relationship on the iconic sitcom "Seinfeld".

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, an American comedian whose career on the improv stage led to iconic roles on shows such as Seinfeld, was honored on Sunday for contributing to the national culture. "You know, I really don't think the show would have been successful without her".

Louis-Dreyfus, who returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C., to receive the Twain prize, referred to the Kavanaugh hearings when she noted that she attended the private Maryland girls school Holton Arms, "which has been in the news lately".

"When I was getting my disgusting chemotherapy, I'd cram a bunch of family and friends into this tiny treatment room with me, and we really did have some great laughs. Cancer isn't at all amusing, but a big part of dealing with it has been finding the amusing moments", said Louis-Dreyfus, who is thankfully cancer-free.

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani grew up in Pakistan and never saw an episode of "Seinfeld" until he immigrated to the U.S as an adult.

"But I became a huge fan as soon as I moved here", he said.

The co-writer of the movie "The Big Sick" particularly recalls her iconic, slightly convulsive "Elaine Benes dance" on the show, which he credits to Louis-Dreyfus' gift for physical comedy. After being treated to a flood of amusing testimonials from a who's who of comedy that included Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Tina Fey, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Lisa Kudrow, Kumail Nanjiani and Jerry Seinfeld, the comedic actress said a few words herself. "But she was just fearless and ego-less".

At the end of the night, Louis-Dreyfus accepted her award with an extended comedic bit and a few shots at new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The actress first drew laughs by repeatedly referencing her true life's ambition to be a respected dramatic actress - stopping in mid-speech to deliver a monologue from Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice".

She continued by noting that "back in fourth grade, as a matter of fact, I was in a very serious Holton-Arms production of Serendipity", to make the point that "us Holton girls" remember details - a nod to believing Ford's testimony. Back in fourth grade, as a matter of fact, I was in a very serious Holton-Arms production of 'Serendipity.' You know it's amusing with us Holton girls - I remember every detail of that play. I'm grateful for my heroic husband and our lovely young boys, or young men, I should say, who are our boys.

Louis-Dreyfus emerged from Chicago's famed Second City comedy troupe before joining the cast of "Saturday Night Live".

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