The comedian was honored by his peers at a star-studded Hollywood event Thursday

By Lindsay Kimble and Scott Huver
Updated June 05, 2015 04:25 PM
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Credit: PG/Splash News Online

Comedy legend Steve Martin received the 43rd American Film Institute Life Achievement Award on Thursday – but that didn’t mean he got all serious about it.

Martin, 69, was honored by everyone from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to Steve Carell and Martin Short at the Audi-presented AFI event at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

A slew of jokes were made at the expense of Martin, but no one had more fun roasting the star than himself.

“There are so many great recipients of this award: Mike Nichols, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck,” the actor said in his acceptance speech. “I worry that they are running out of honorees, and in fact, Bob’s opening sentence to me on the phone was, ‘Are you available on June 4th, and if not, do you know anyone who is?’ ”

The star also offered humorous anecdotes about his many famous friends and talked about being dubbed a “comedic genius.”

“I’ve heard tonight the phrase ‘comic genius’ … I always wondered, ‘What exactly is a comic genius?’ ” he said.

“But after all these years of work and luck and mentors and compatriots, successes and failures, elation, all of these balance with an equal amount of insecurity, self-doubt, good audiences, tough audiences, surprise hits and surprise misses, I have finally realized what the comic genius is: A comic genius is someone who decides never to go into comedy,” he joked.

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The actor then thanked the AFI for his award, saying, “I’m so proud to have this honor.”

“Thank you, to all these wonderful speakers who contributed their time, talent, and humor tonight,” he continued. “I am truly humbled and honored, thrilled, but mostly, I am loving the company.”

Martin ended his speech with a quote from comedian Jack Benny.

“He was at an event getting an award, and he said this, ‘I don’t really deserve this award, but I have arthritis, and I don’t deserve that either,’ ” he said.

The American Film Institute’s 43rd Life Achievement Award honoring Steve Martin will premiere on Saturday, June 13, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TBS.