After 30 years of making a nation laugh on late night TV, comedian David Letterman received the highest honor an American performer can be given at the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C.

The ceremony and show held earlier this month aired on Wednesday Dec. 26, finally showing us the touching tributes Letterman's comedy peers delivered at the Kennedy Center Opera House on Dec. 2. Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Ray Romano and Jimmy Kimmel honored, roasted and said "I love you" to the legendary comedian while President and Michelle Obama laughed along in the audience.

In the video above, Tina Fey lauds Letterman as an American treasure (on par with "the top two Kardashians") before showing a video tribute to his incredible journey through late night TV, which she narrated.

Below, Alec Baldwin points out how much Letterman would seem to hate a big, fancy ceremony such as the Kennedy Center Honors before handing the stage over to Jimmy Kimmel, who is truly one of Letterman's biggest fans. After running through the various ways he worshiped him in high school (there was a "Late Night" birthday cake) Kimmel got serious about how much Letterman inspired him and how thankful he was when he appeared on his own show (and held him backstage).

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But perhaps it was Ray Romano who got the most emotional when addressing his comedy hero. After talking about his own career journey (and working ina few jokes at the President's expense) Romano said something to Letterman that he never got to say to his own father: "I love you."

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Check out photos of the ceremony and show below, featuring Letterman and his fellow honorees actor Dustin Hoffman, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy, rock band Led Zeppelin and ballerina Natalia Makarova, as well as some distinguished guests.

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  • Obama Attends 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: Comedian David Letterman attends the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognized seven individuals - Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant - for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • 35th Kennedy Center Honors - Gala Dinner

    WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 1: (L-R Back Row) John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, David Letterman (L-R Front Row) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova, Dustin Hoffman pose following a dinner for Kennedy honorees hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State on December 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA

    Comedian and late night talk show host David Letterman (L) points as actor Dustin Hoffman (C) and Blues musician Buddy Guy clap during an event in the East Room of the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington. US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the event at the White House with the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees to celebrate their contribution to the arts before heading to the Kennedy Center for the honors program. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • US-POLITICS-OBAMA

    Actor Dustin Hoffman (L) chats with comedian and late night talk show host David Letterman during an event in the East Room of the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington. US Presidenmt Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the event at the White House with the 2012 Kennedy Center Honorees to celebrate their contribution to the arts before heading to the Kennedy Center for the honors program. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Tina Fey

    Actress Tina Fey arrives at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • Jack Black, Tanya Haden

    Actor Jack Black and wife, Tanya Haden, arrive at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • Stephen Colbert, Evelyn Colbert

    Comedian Stephen Colbert and wife, Evelyn Colbert, arrive at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • Alec Baldwin, Hilaria

    Actor Alec Baldwin and wife, Hilaria, arrive at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • David Letterman, Regina Letterman

    2012 Kennedy Center Honoree David Letterman, and his wife, Regina, arrive at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • Barack Obama, Dustin Hoffman, Natalia Makarova

    President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama, second from right, with the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors recipients, ballerina Natalia Makarova, left, and actor and director Dustin Hoffman, stand as the National Anthem is played during the Kennedy Center Honors Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant

    Rock band Led Zeppelin, from left, keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones, singer Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, stand as the Star Spangled Banner is played during the Kennedy Center Honors Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. While Led Zeppelin is being honored as a band, surviving members Jones, Page, and Plant, each received the Kennedy Center Honors. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • Buddy Guy

    Kennedy Center Honoree Buddy Guy arrives at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Preformance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

  • Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy

    President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama leaves a reception in honor of the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors recipients, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. At the back left is Caroline Kennedy. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

  • Obama Kennedy Center Honors

  • YE Kennedy Center Honors 2012

  • US-ENTERTAINMENT-KENNEDY CENTER HONORS

    Tina Fey arrives at the 35th Kennedy Center Honors, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, December 2, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Drew ANGERER (Photo credit should read Drew Angerer/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Obama Kennedy Center Honors

  • Obama Attends 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: (AFP OUT) Comedian David Letterman attends the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognized seven individuals - Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant - for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • Obama Attends 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: (AFP OUT) President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognized seven individuals - Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant - for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • Obama Attends 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: (AFP OUT) Comedian Jimmy Kimmel attends the Kennedy Center Honors reception at the White House on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognized seven individuals - Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant - for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • Obama Attends 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors

    WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 2: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama (C) attend the Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center on December 2, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Kennedy Center Honors recognized seven individuals - Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant - for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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