Lily Tomlin accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Screen Actors Guild Award in classic Lily Tomlin fashion, proving why she is so deserving of the honor for a life filled with accomplishments on screen, stage and activism. Receiving the award from her long-time friend and 9 to 5 co-star Dolly Parton (who proved her own comedic prowess that night), she proved both humble and hysterical in her acceptance speech, offering wise words of wisdom like only Lily Tomlin can.
In regards to career advice: “Don’t be anxious about missing an opportunity. Behind every failure is an opportunity someone wishes they had missed. “
On giving thanks: “Thank those on whose shoulders you stand.” Tomlin then said she stood the tallest on the shoulders of her wife, Jane Wagner, a writer, director and producer of her own acclaim. The two often collaborate together on projects together, such as Tomlin’s one-woman stage show, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1991).
When giving advice to younger actors: “Don’t leave the house drunk. And if you’re already out there, well, you must learn to tell you’ve had too much too drink. Listen to your friends when they stop talking to you and start talking about you. Saying things like, did she have a purse.”
On living life: “Live your life so that when you are being honored for your achievements, the people called upon to make laudatory remarks can feel reasonably honest about their comments. Otherwise in these times all their words or a phrase might be perceived as ‘alternative facts’ or worse yet ‘fake news.’”
Laughable, realistic words that offered both a laugh and a lesson. This is nothing new for Lily Tomlin. The actress has been giving us sage-worthy advice for years. Here are a few more of her most-laughable, life-lesson teaching words to live by.
“Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.”
“Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.”
“No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”
“The road to success is always under construction.”
“I said somebody should do something about that. And then I realized I am somebody.”
“We’re all in this together, by ourselves.”
“If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?”
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”
Just before walking off the stage to standing applause, Tomlin closed her acceptance speech with one last promise. “As long as I don’t have to audition, I may be back,” she said. It looks like there’s no sign of slowing down any time soon for this 77-year-old icon.