Tom Hanks, Al Green, ballerina Patricia McBride, Sting and Lily Tomlin were honored at the Kennedy Center on Tuesday night, but it was the celebration of Tomlin's career that was particularly moving. After an introduction from Garrison Keeilor, Jane Lynch, Reba McEntire Kate McKinnon and Jane Fonda came out to perform their own versions of Tomlin performances, interspersed with stories about her importance in their own lives.
"Two years ago, I joined the cast of Saturday Night Live and now here I am, honoring my comedy hero," McKinnon said. "Lily, thank you. You turned playing lovable oddballs into a viable career option. Yes!"
"You know, I was used to watching male comedians on TV but Laugh-In was the first time for me that women got to be really really funny and I wasn't sure it was actually legal," Lynch said of Tomlin's appearance on the famed sketch show.
Jane Fonda had this to say about Tomlin's addition to 9 to 5: "Left to my own devices, it probably would have turned into They Shoot Bosses, Don't They?"
And Reba was just plain sweet. "We're talking a lot about Lily the artist, but I want to tell you about Lily my friend," she said, before pausing as she teared up. "She's just the best person to be around."