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Ellen DeGeneres Is Now the 15th Recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts named Ellen DeGeneres the next recipient of their Mark Twain Prize in May, and as it was written, so it has come to pass. The career of the actress, comedian, and host (of talk shows and award shows alike) was honored with a star-studded gathering at the Kennedy Center last night, and though we won’t get to see it until it airs on PBS next week, there’s still plenty of quotes.

On PBS’s unexpected prominence in this year’s election, DeGeneres quipped, “Thanks to everyone at PBS. I am so happy to be part of your farewell season.” On the prize itself? “Why didn’t I get this sooner?” More seriously, on publicly coming out as a lesbian in 1997, a move that was followed by the cancellation of her television show:

I did it because it was the right thing for me to do,” DeGeneres said. “It was the right thing for me to do to not live with shame. I happened to help a lot of people, and it happened to create a ruckus.

It seems like not a small number of the stars involved in the ceremony were there to talk about the long-term effects of DeGeneres’ honesty on them personally… and on depictions of gay characters in television. The show will air on PBS next Tuesday, but until then, you can check out some quotes from Jimmy KimmelSean Hayes, Jane LynchKristin Chenoweth, and John Leguizamo right here.

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.