The creator of “Saturday Night Live” receives a Kennedy Center Honors award alongside Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell.
The Kennedy Center Honors are a big deal. With the first award dating back to 1978, the honors are for the performing arts. Contributions that make an impact to American culture receive the honor. This year’s ceremony took place last night, giving Lorne Michaels an award for “Saturday Night Live.”
Lorne Michaels’ work in the performing arts spans over 50 years. His best-known work is creating NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” The show makes a splash in the 1970s and is performed live in front of a studio audience since its original airing. Michaels begins as a producer of the show but finds himself also becoming a writer and executive producer eventually. He still works with the show to this day, only taking a hiatus between seasons 6-10.
In addition to “Saturday Night Live,” Michaels is the executive producer of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” He worked as this title for “30 Rock” and “Up All Night” when both shows were airing as well. His work in the Canadian entertainment industry is great too, producing the sketch-comedy show “The Kids in the Hall” in 1988.
The 2021 Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony
At the Kennedy Honors Awards, a few famous faces organize a fun performance for the legend. They recreate the famous “Weekend Update” segment live, featuring previous SNL stars Kevin Nealon, Seth Myers, and Amy Poehler. To show the segment’s progression, the skit also includes new mock anchors Michael Che and Colin Jost. The comedians make lighthearted jokes about President Joe Biden, as well as Michaels himself. Poehler calls Joni Mitchell “the best Canadian of all time,” showing shade at the “Saturday Night Live” founder, who was born in Toronto.
Then, it is President Joe Biden’s turn to speak. “SNL” is known for its political commentaries and making fun of those in office. While some could take it personally, President Biden takes it in stride.
“Finally, it’s my turn to say something about him,” Biden says to Michaels. “You make me laugh at myself a lot.”
He goes on to say that Michaels is currently auditioning more actors to play him. The “SNL” creator then asks him if he wanted Michaels to portray the 46th President. The crowd roars with laughter.
Michael’s colleagues and fans alike are unsurprised by the comedy legend receiving this award. He credits the show’s success to its consistency.
“If you have an audience, you build up and earn trust,” Michaels says to Today. “They know you’re gonna deliver. So I think the fact that we’ve always shown up, it’s just — there’s a connection, and because we’re live, the nimbleness of that is part of the appeal.”
The full ceremony will be broadcast on December 22 on CBS.