The Honors Gala took place Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C. "The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors" airs at 9 PM ET.
"I am stunned to be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor at such a young age. I thought it would be years before… I'm sorry. I'm being told I am HOSTING the Kennedy Center Honors. Oh...Well, I'm glad. That makes a lot more sense," Colbert said in an earlier statement.
Colbert is best known as the host, writer and producer of "The Colbert Report." He will take over as host of "The Late Show" on CBS.
“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” stated Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein. “Al Green’s iconic voice stirs our souls in a style that is all his own; Tom Hanks has a versatility that ranks him among the greatest actors of any generation; one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Patricia McBride continues to carry forward her legacy for future generations; Sting’s unique voice and memorable songwriting have entertained audiences for decades; and from the days of her early television and theatrical appearances, Lily Tomlin has made us laugh and continues to amaze us with her acting talent and quick wit.”
The Honors recipients, according to press notes, are "recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television – and are selected by the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; over the years, the selection process has produced a balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines."