Once things got rolling, the political jokes didn’t take long to start. In his opening line, host Stephen Colbert welcomed distinguished guests, politicians, diplomats and “endangered swamp dwellers.”
Colbert said the country has been lucky to have a leader who is “passionate, intelligent and dignified,” which drew cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd. Colbert joked: “Sir, I don’t know why you stood up, I was talking about Michelle.”
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: The five recipients of the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors pose for a group photo following a dinner hosted by United States Secretary of State John F. Kerry in their honor at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 3, 2016. The 2016 honorees are: Argentine pianist Martha Argerich; rock band the Eagles; screen and stage actor Al Pacino; gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples; and musician James Taylor. From left to right back row: Joe Walsh, Don Henley, and Timothy B. Schmidt of the rock band ‘The Eagles.’ Front row, left to right: Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, Martha Argerich, and James Taylor. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 03: Actor Al Pacino, one of the five recipients of the 39th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, poses for a group photo following a dinner at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 3, 2016.
“I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, you made a good living. The police protected you and there were courts of law. So you didn’t need a friend like me. Now you come and say “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect. You don’t offer friendship. You don’t even think to call me Godfather. You come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married and you ask me to do murder - for money.“
The Godfather (1972) directed by Francis Ford Coppola