The 8 best moments from the American Film Institute's celebration of Steve Martin

A cavalcade of comic superstars lined up to roast and toast the great man

By Anna Silman

Published June 8, 2015 2:55PM (EDT)

Last week, Steve Martin received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and a cavalcade of comic superstars, including Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Carl Reiner, Conan O'Brien Amy Poehler, Dan Aykroyd, Lily Tomlin, Jack Black, and Steve Carell came out to pay tribute to the great man — and to get a few good-humored insults in there as well, naturally. The full ceremony will air on Sunday, June 13, but here are some highlights to tide you over in the meantime.

Tina Fey:
"He told me to always find a way to give back. For example, Steve donates all his old white suits to lesbian commitment ceremonies. He told me, 'Always be nice to the little people because then at night they'll sneak in and fix your shoes. You know what? Don't bring a gun to a knife fight, just enjoy it from the stands. Finally, he said, "If you're going to pick up Marty Short, remember to support the neck.’"

Queen Latifah:
“He is the whitest man on earth. In college, he majored in white studies.”

Martin Short:
"There are very few people that I truly admire. Steve Martin is very close to being one of them ... There's so many different ways to describe Steve Martin: comedian, actor, writer, musician, recluse, hermit, needy, vindictive, overrated. Steve has won – it's amazing – five Grammys, the Kennedy Center Honors, an Oscar, a Mark Twain prize and an Emmy. But tonight, the trophy is different. Because tonight's trophy, he really, really doesn't deserve it.”

Steve Carell:
"They say imitation is the sincerest form of plagiarism. Well, I have spent the majority of my life doing a pale imitation of Steve Martin, and I resent him for that. The Jerk was the story about an awkward man-child who eventually finds his special purpose. I stole this idea and made it into The 40-Year-Old Virgin. … And Roxanne is pretty much Foxcatcher.” "

Sarah Silverman:
"“[Steve] is a real person. A real, stiff, awkward, aloof person, but a person—standoffish. It reminds me of that old saying: ‘You should never meet Steve Martin.’"

Conan O’Brien:
"“I first met Steve when I was a writer at Saturday Night Live, and I will never forget his first words to me: ‘I said decaf!’ Then he shoved me out of the way and said, ‘Madam, move aside!’ I knew then we would become friends in 18 years.” "

Amy Poehler:
"We’ve had some fun and had a lot of laughs, but now it’s time to remember why we’re here – to raise money for FIFA. And to support its new president, Queen LaFIFA.””

And of course, Martin himself:
"I have learned you have to remain humble. Last year I was walking down the street and a young girl about 17 said to me: 'Did you do that (1979) movie The Jerk? I said, yes, I did. And she said, 'You gonna do another movie?'"


Anna Silman

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Amy Poehler Comedy Martin Short Steve Martin Tina Fey