The Latest: Louis-Dreyfus recalls knowing she had the ‘gift’

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Julia Louis-Dreyfus receiving the 21st annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor for an iconic career in comedy (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus says knew from an early age that she had a gift for comedy.

Louis-Dreyfus says: “The first time I really knew was when I stuffed raisins in my nose and my mother laughed. I ended up in the emergency room because they wouldn’t come out!”

Louis-Dreyfus shared her memory as she walked the red carpet on her way into the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to receive the 21st Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


8:25 p.m.

Comedian and director Kumail Nanjiani grew up in Pakistan and never saw an episode of TV’s “Seinfeld” until he immigrated to the U.S as an adult.

Nanjaini says: “But I became a huge fan as soon as I moved here.”

The co-writer of the movie “The Big Sick” particularly recalls her iconic, slightly convulsive “Elaine Benes dance” on the show, which he credits to Louis-Dreyfus’ gift for physical comedy.

Nanjaini says: “There are some comedians who think physical comedy is beneath them. But she was just fearless and ego-less.”

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is honoring Louis-Dreyfus with the 21st Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.


8:05 p.m.

Jerry Seinfeld vividly remembers the first time he saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus in action.

His iconic sitcom, “Seinfeld,” was still in the planning stages and producer Larry David knew Louis-Dreyfus from their time together on “Saturday Night Live.”

Seinfeld says: “We had just two short pages of script, and we sat down to read the dialogue together. As soon as she opened her mouth, I knew she was the one.”

Seinfeld also credited Louis-Dreyfus for having the confidence and strength of personality to hold her own on what he called “a very male show.”

He made his comments as he walked on the red carpet, as he headed into the ceremony to honoring Louis-Dreyfus as the 21st recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.


7:25 p.m.

Celebrities have begun to arrive at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to help honor Julia Louis-Dreyfus with the Mark Twain award for lifetime achievement in comedy. Among the early arrivals are television and film star Lisa Kudrow and Keegan-Michael Key of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele.”

Those scheduled to speak at the ceremony include Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert and previous Mark Twain recipient Tina Fey.


1:05 p.m.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the best-known comedic actresses of her generation, and now she’s being recognized with the Mark Twain Award for lifetime achievement in comedy.

She’s set to receive the 21st annual Twain prize Sunday night at Washington’s Kennedy Center, with testimonials from Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert and 2010 Mark Twain recipient Tina Fey.

The 57-year-old Louis-Dreyfus emerged from Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe before joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” Her best-known role is her nine-year run as Elaine Benes on “Seinfeld.” More recently, her work as Vice President Selina Meyer on “Veep” earned her six consecutive Emmy Awards.

Production on the upcoming seventh season of “Veep” was delayed as Louis-Dreyfus received treatment for breast cancer.

PBS will air the Twain event on Nov. 19.

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