Ellen DeGeneres was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor during an event in Washington, DC on Monday.
The award was given by the Kennedy Center and the ceremony to honor Ellen will be broadcast on October 30 on PBS, reports CBS News. Ellen joked while accepting the prize:
“Thanks to everyone at PBS. I am so happy to be part of your farewell season.”
The joke was meant as a jab at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who wants to stop funding for PBS.
Before the show, DeGeneres spoke from the red carpet, saying that she doesn’t see herself as political with her comedy, though she has been a trailblazer. Ellen added:
“I just want to make people happy and make people laugh.”
Ellen DeGeneres began her comedy career at as a comedy club emcee in New Orleans. She was the first female to receive an invitation to talk after a performance on Johnny Carson’s show in 1986.
USA Today notes that the 54-year-old comedienne considers the award “the icing” on all off the accolades and honors she has received through her career.
She added, “I’m flattered. It’s fantastic. Of course I think, ‘What took so long?’ ” DeGeneres also stated that being a comedienne to her isn’t about recognition. She explained, “You don’t do it for awards, you do it to make people happy.”
DeGeneres also broke boundaries when she came out as gay on her talk show, Ellen, in 1997. She explained:
“It was the right thing for me to do … it happened to help a lot of people and it happened to cause a ruckus. That was a very fearful time in general for the gay community.”
Ellen’s wife, Portia de Rossi, accompanied her on the red carpet, and sang her praises when asked what she thought of the comedienne. De Rossi stated:
“I am very, very proud of Ellen. She’s not only the funniest person I know, but she’s such a good person. I really like those little moments that only I recognize as her being her true self, when I can see she’s being vulnerable.”
Ellen DeGeneres stepped on stage to claim her Mark Twain Award for American Humor, saying, “When I started doing stand-up, I didn’t do it for awards. I did it for the money.” She also said that the night’s clips were a “wonderful walk down memory lane, and a detour down mullet street.”