Since the Newport Beach Film Festival could not be held in public this year, the event organizers surprised its Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Eugene Levy, with a special video.
The clip shows Levy watching as his friends and collaborators both praise and lovingly roast him, bringing tears of joy to his eyes by the end of it. Some of the people who shared their thoughts include Steve Martin, Martin Short and Andrea Martin, as well as a bevy of people whose names aren’t Martin, notably the cast of Schitt’s Creek — Catherine O’Hara, Chris Elliott, Annie Murphy, and Levy’s children, Dan and Sarah.
“First, let me say what an honor it is for me to not be there tonight,” Steve Martin said, bringing a smile to Levy’s face. “To be able to tribute you and not really have to do much or go anywhere, just stay home, is such a thrill.”
“Eugene is like family to me in that we often eat dinner in total silence,” offered Martin Short, who, at first, called Levy “Jugene.”
Some of the tributes were funny and some were sincere. “You’re very good at what you do and you set a bar for everyone that you work with,” his son Dan, who co-created Schitt’s Creek with him, said. “You are incredibly professional and incredibly kind. And you have been such a role model for me, just in terms of how to be good, generally, and good at your job.”
Emily Hampshire, who played hotel clerk Stevie Budd on the show, said, “You are the best example of how to be a human and actor and do it really well and be funny.” And Annie Murphy, who played his daughter on the show, said, “I hope to be just like Eugene Levy when I’m an old man.”
Dustin Milligan, from the show, has a hilarious story about Levy trying to cool off a can of soda with ice, and Jason Biggs, who played Levy’s son in the American Pie movies, has a funny routine where he’s giving what seems like a eulogy for the actor. Jennifer Coolidge, who has appeared with Levy in many of Christopher Guest’s movies, dressed like a fairy godmother.
When it was done, Levy said, “Look at this, are you happy now?” as he took his glasses off to wipe the tears from his cheeks.
Schitt’s Creek ended its six-season run earlier this year after becoming a sleeper hit and one of the funniest shows on TV in recent years. The final seasons earned 15 Emmy nominations, including one for Levy as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.