Steven Spielberg, Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon, Steve Martin Honor Lorne Michaels at Lincoln Center Gala
“Lorne Michaels launched more comedy careers than bad parenting,” Martin Short joked at the star-studded American Songbook event attended by Steven Spielberg, Brad Grey, Barry Diller, Diane Sawyer, Jeff Zucker, Michael Bloomberg and CAA's Bryan Lourd, who also served as co-chair of the event.
Frigid temperatures and a light snow didn't stop some of the entertainment industry's biggest names from making the scene at New York's Lincoln Center Thursday night to pay tribute to Saturday Night Live creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels, who was being honored at the American Songbook Gala.
“I wasn't expecting this and the honoring part is always a surprise,” Michaels told The Hollywood Reporter during a preshow champagne reception. “Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond took on the role of putting the show together and asked a lot of people who probably couldn't say no. I haven't seen anything and I have no idea what they are doing so that's going to be fun. I'm really looking forward to Melissa McCarthy and Kanye West, who are going to be on the show [SNL] on Saturday.”
Fey and Richmond wrote and directed performances featuring Jimmy Fallon, Fred Armisen, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, Tituss Burgess, Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Cheyenne Jackson, Audra McDonald, Maya Rudolph, Steve Martin and Martin Short.
The 400 guests included such luminaries as Steven Spielberg, Kate Capshaw, Brad Grey, Barry Diller, Diane von Furstenberg, Candice Bergen, Diane Sawyer, Jeff Zucker, Andy Cohen, Michael Bloomberg and CAA's Bryan Lourd, a Lincoln Center board member who served as an event co-chair.
“I love Lincoln Center and everything that it does with respect to the city and the country, and it has a very dear place in my heart,” Lourd said, calling Michaels his "very good friend" and "a god."
Paramount CEO Grey added: “I'm here tonight to support one of my dearest friends, Lorne Michaels, and to celebrate. I'm a huge fan of Lincoln Center, but I'm really here tonight for Lorne.”
McDonald, Rudolph, Martin and Short all had the crowd laughing, with the first quipping, “I never met Lorne Michaels. I thought this was a benefit for Planned Parenthood. Rudolph dedicated the song “(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman” to her former boss.
Martin and Short, meanwhile, poked fun at Michaels contribution, or lack of, to songwriting and his talent for finding comedic talent.
“Lorne Michaels launched more comedy careers than bad parenting,” Short joked.
When Michaels finally received his award, and a standing ovation, he told the audience, “I have one of the best jobs in New York City, and I get to work with the most talented people.”
The event raised more than $2 million dollars to support Lincoln Center's American Songbook series, dedicated to celebrating the achievements of the popular American songwriter, and other performance series as well as its educational and community initiatives.