Ellen DeGeneres on Monday received the 2012 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The 54-year-old DeGeneres, the host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, was presented with the 15th annual award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., the AP reported.

“I never could have imagined my life would end up this way,” DeGeneres said in accepting the award. “I only thought I'd be a positive gay comedian wearing parachute pants.”

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel called DeGeneres the “original Modern Family.”

“In 1998, I mustered the courage to come out of the closet, despite the fact that I'm not gay,” he joked.

The Mark Twain Prize honors “people that have spent one season or less as a judge on American Idol,” he explained.

Celebrities attending the event included Sean Hayes, Jane Lynch, Kristin Chenoweth and John Krasinski.

DeGeneres' wife, Portia de Rossi, said on the red carpet: “I am very, very proud of Ellen. She's not only the funniest person I know, but she's such a good person.”

DeGeneres is the second openly gay woman to receive the prize. Lily Tomlin was honored in 2003.