Iconic comedian Carol Burnett will receive the 16th Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein announced today. “From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters,” he says. “We are delighted to pay tribute to this unique and beloved entertainer.”
Burnett, 80, hosted The Carol Burnett Show from 1967 until 1978, won six Emmys throughout her career and ultimately gave birth to one of the best ensemble comedy casts of all time; Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Vicki Lawrence became household names and remain so to this day.
Each year the Kennedy Center bestows the Mark Twain prize upon a comedian who’s “had an impact on American society in ways similar to Twain.” Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey won the prize the last three years while more veteran comedians like Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Steve Martin and Bob Newhart earned the prize before them.
“I can’t believe I’m getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center,” Burnett said in a statement. “It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington.” The Mark Twain awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, Oct. 20 and will air on PBS stations on Oct. 30. To celebrate let’s watch Conway crack up the cast of The Carol Burnett Show!