This Kennedy Center honor, awarded annually since 1998, salutes great comedians of American culture in tribute to legendary humorist Mark Twain. In this seventh annual celebration, the award recipient is "Saturday Night Live" ("S.N.L.") creator, Lorne Michaels. Dan Aykroyd opens the program with a "humorous anecdote" about Michaels before detailing the honoree's biography. Then, from the "vaults of NBC," clips are shown of the initial screen tests for "S.N.L." debut cast members, including John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, and Aykroyd. Next, numerous clips from the show, spanning its decades-long run, are played. Aykroyd continues by talking about his relationship with Belushi as a clip plays from one of their appearance as The Blues Brothers. Next, Darrell Hammond talks about his career on "S.N.L.," which led to him performing for people such as Vice President Dick Cheney before a clip plays from Senator John McCain's appearance on the show. Then, McCain and Senator Chris Dodd take the stage to offer their salutes to Michaels, noting that Michaels has never been afraid to make fun of politicians. Then, a clip plays from an "S.N.L." skit spoofing a presidential debate between Bill Clinton (Phil Hartman), George H.W. Bush (Dana Carvey), and Ross Perot (also Carvey). Then, Candice Bergen takes the stage to talk about being one of the first guest hosts in the history of "S.N.L." Then, a clip plays of Radner and Bergen performing in a skit called "Extremely Stupid." After a commercial spoof for tattoo removal, Tracy Morgan takes the stage to detail his relationship with "S.N.L." as a youth from "Bed-Stuy," Brooklyn. Then, a clip plays of Morgan portraying Maya Angelou on "Weekend Update." Next, "S.N.L." alum Conan O'Brien takes the stage to talk about having Michaels as the executive producer of his late-night talk show and to discuss the unique writing process at "S.N.L." Then, a clip plays that "exemplifies the very best" of what Michaels expects from his writers. Next, Tina Fey takes the stage to talk about Michaels's movie work before clips play from films that he produced: "Mean Girls," "Wayne's World," and "Tommy Boy." Then, Tim Meadows takes the stage to talk about getting cast on "S.N.L." before a clips plays of Meadows's sketch work as "The Ladies' Man." Next, David Spade takes the stage to offer some memories of Michaels and his former co-star Chris Farley before a clip plays of Spade's famous sketch in which he played a flight attendant for "Total Bastard Airlines" with Helen Hunt. Then, clips play from Michaels's other TV work, including "The Kids in the Hall," his humorous offer of $3,000 to the Beatles if they would perform on "S.N.L.," and his seventy-minute spoof of The Beatles, "The Rutles." Next, frequent "S.N.L." host Christopher Walken takes the stage to talk about the "jolt" he gets from hosting the show and about the time Michaels bought him a baseball. Then, a clip plays of Walken's work on the show as "The Continental." Next, another frequent host, Steve Martin, takes the stage to talk about how Michaels changed his "comedy life" before a clip plays of Martin and Aykroyd as the Festrunk Brothers. Then, Paul Simon takes the stage to perform "Still Crazy After All These Years." Next, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman of the Kennedy Center, takes the stage to present the Mark Twain Prize to Michaels. Michaels accepts his prize with a brief speech about having "the coolest job in New York City" for the last thirty years, then is joined on stage by all the former and current "S.N.L." cast members in attendance.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


  • DATE: March 2, 2005 Wednesday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:24:36
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:91204
  • GENRE: Award presentations
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV, 2005


  • Dalton Delan … Executive Producer
  • David S. Thompson … Executive Producer
  • Michael M. Kaiser … Executive Producer
  • Cappy McGarr … Executive Producer
  • Mark Krantz … Executive Producer, Created by
  • Peter Kaminsky … Executive Producer, Created by, Writer
  • Bob Kaminsky … Executive Producer, Created by, Writer
  • Michael B. Matuza … Coordinating Producer
  • Allen Kelman … Producer
  • Marion Rosenfeld … Associate Producer
  • Tina Magnuson … Line Producer
  • Christine Clark Bradley … Director
  • John Schreiber … Created by
  • G.E. Smith … Conductor
  • Paul Simon … Performer
  • Dan Aykroyd … Guest
  • Candice Bergen … Guest
  • Chris Dodd … Guest
  • Tina Fey … Guest
  • Darrell Hammond … Guest
  • Steve Martin … Guest
  • John McCain … Guest
  • Tim Meadows … Guest
  • Lorne Michaels … Guest
  • Tracy Morgan … Guest
  • Conan O'Brien … Guest
  • Stephen A. Schwarzman … Guest
  • David Spade … Guest
  • Christopher Walken … Guest
  • Maya Angelou
  • The Beatles
  • John Belushi
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Dana Carvey
  • Dick Cheney
  • Bill Clinton
  • Jane Curtin
  • Chris Farley
  • Phil Hartman
  • Helen Hunt
  • Kids in the Hall, The
  • Bill Murray
  • Ross Perot
  • Gilda Radner
  • Mark Twain