“Tonight, it is quite nice, very nice, to see the presidential box once again being occupied,” Letterman said to cheers that turned into a standing ovation for Biden. “The same with the Oval Office.”
The gala honored opera singer Justino Diaz, Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, singer Joni Mitchell, “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels and singer Bette Midler.
“How does it feel to be in a room where everyone is vaccinated and tested?” Kennedy Center chair David Rubinstein asked the crowd.
Vice President Kamala Harris and first gentleman Doug Emhoff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chief Justice John Roberts and Secretary of State Tony Blinken also attended.
“This night is about the honorees whose unique gifts cross all boundaries and represent all parties from the left to the far left,” Letterman quipped, per the Guardian.
The ceremony will air on CBS Dec. 22.