Julia Louis-Dreyfus rewarded for career or laughs

World | 22 Oct 2018 3:57 pm

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the best-known comedic actresses of her generation, and now she has been recognized with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor for a lifetime in comedy.

She is the 21st person the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington has honored with the award.

On Sunday night at Washington’s Kennedy Center, the 57-year-old actress received a stream of testimonials from celebrities including Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert and 2010 Mark Twain recipient Tina Fey--touching on the multiple aspects of her career.

Louis-Dreyfus, 57, accepted her award with an extended comedic bit and a few shots at new Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

She 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.

A native of the Washington suburbs in Maryland, Louis-Dreyfus is a graduate of the elite Holton-Arms school, alma mater of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her at a high school party.

Louis-Dreyfus made a veiled reference to Ford's testimony, framing it around her performance at a high school presentation of the play Serendipity. "I can remember every single aspect of that play that night, so much so that I would testify under oath about it," she said to a round of laughter and applause. "But I can't remember who drove me there or who drove me home."

Fey paid tribute to Louis-Dreyfus at the ceremony by tracking the similarities between their lives, saying: "We both started comedy in Chicago. We both moved on to Saturday Night Live. We both lost our virginity to Brad Hall." That referred to Louis-Dreyfus' husband and former SNL castmate sitting next to the honoree.

Fey praised the "secret precision" of Louis-Dreyfus’ comedy and her willingness to make her Seinfeld character so flawed. "Julia let Elaine be selfish and petty and sarcastic and a terrible, terrible dancer,” Fey said. "Julia’s never been afraid to be unlikable--not on screen and not in person.”-AP

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