Lily Tomlin, Sean Hayes, Jane Lynch Honor Ellen Degeneres at Kennedy Center

Ellen Degeneres received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor last night at the Kennedy Center where the funny lady was honored for her comedic gifts as well as her landmark coming-out in 1997 and continued support for LGBT causes.

“I’m pretty darn sure I could not have the career I have, that I could not live as openly as I’ve lived, if it hadn’t been for you,” Jane Lynch said, according to The Washington Post. “You really took one for the team.”

“She went from stand-up to standing for something,” said Lily Tomlin, who received the Mark Twain Prize in 2003.

Sean Hayes, describing himself and Ellen as part of the Jeopardy! category, “Gay Sitcom Stars”, said, “You’ve changed America. You’ve changed the world. We didn’t have a voice until there was you.”

Degeneres thanked PBS which will air the actual ceremony next week in her acceptance speech, noting how glad she was to be part of its “final season.”