Nothing -- not even cancer -- was off limits when Julia Louis-Dreyfus was roasted by her fellow comedians over the weekend.
Louis-Dreyfus, 57, received the the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center on Sunday night. After being treated to a flood of funny testimonials from a who's who of comedy that included Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Tina Fey, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Lisa Kudrow, Kumail Nanjiani and Jerry Seinfeld, the comedic actress said a few words herself.
"Last year, I was lucky enough to get an Emmy award for my performance on 'Veep,' which was an incredible thrill -- and it set some kind of a record for the most Emmys by somebody for doing something or other. Then, about 12 hours later, I was diagnosed with cancer, another hilarious turn of events. I'm only half-kidding, of course. Cancer isn't at all funny, but a big part of dealing with it has been finding the funny moments," said Louis-Dreyfus, who recently announced that she is cancer free.
"The old cliché about laughter being the best medicine turns out to be true -- which is good, because that's what the current administration is trying to replace Obamacare with," she said.
Earlier, Larry David took a jab at Louis-Dreyfus' cancer battle when he spoke via video.
"I want to congratulate Julia for this unbelievably prestigious award," the "Seinfeld" co-creator said. "But I gotta say, the lengths that she went through to get it, frankly I was a little surprised ... that whole cancer thing? Cancer? Honestly, I gotta take my hat off to her. What a scam."
Fey, a previous winner of the Mark Twain Prize, also got personal. "I've always liked Julia. Maybe because I'd like to believe that we have a lot in common," Fey said. "We both studied comedy in Chicago; we both lost our virginity to (Louis-Dreyfus' husband) Brad Hall." After a beat, Fey added, "Just me?"
Louis-Dreyfus wasn't the only target of the night. Some took shots at the Trump administration, Brett Kavanaugh and Bill Cosby.
"So many greats of American comedy have been honored over the years, and so far only one prize rescinded," Colbert said, referring to Cosby, whose 2009 award was rescinded after his conviction on sexual-assault charges. Behind Colbert, a sign read, "It has been 167 days since last Un-Twaining."
Fey took aim at the administration when she praised Louis-Dreyfus as a "tireless advocate for women's health and the environment and a bunch of other stuff that won't exist pretty soon."
Louis-Dreyfus, who returned to her hometown of Washington, D.C., to receive the Twain prize, referred to the Kavanaugh hearings when she noted that she attended the private Maryland girls school Holton Arms, "which has been in the news lately."
While recalling her performance in a play there, she joked that she remembers every detail of the event, "but I don’t remember who drove me to the show or who drove me home."
At one point, the comedian who has won six consecutive Emmys for her role on "Veep" grew emotional while discussing her battle with breast cancer.
"When I was getting my hideous chemotherapy, I'd cram a bunch of family and friends into this tiny treatment room with me, and we really did have some great laughs. Of course, I was heavily medicated and slipping in and out of consciousness, so I was probably a pretty easy audience, but my point is that laughter is a basic human need, along with love and food and an HBO subscription. There's no situation -- none -- that isn't improved with a couple of laughs. Everybody needs laughs," she said, choking up. "The fact that I have had the opportunity to make people laugh for a living is one of the many blessings that I have received in my life."
PBS will air Louis-Dreyfus' Twain Prize ceremony on Nov. 19.