Carol Burnett, the trailblazing comedienne whose variety show was a top draw on
Burnett, 80, will receive the award in an Oct. 20 in a ceremony to be broadcast Oct. 30 on
"It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington," said the star, who clearly hasn't lost her sense of humor, in a written statement.
Despite a career that spans Broadway, film and television, Burnett remains best known for “The Carol Burnett Show,” which ran from 1967 to 1978. The variety program, with a cast of regular players that included Vicki Lawrence,
Burnett went on to appear as the boozy Miss Hannigan in the 1982 film version of “Annie” and in a supporting role in the '90s
David Rubenstein, chairman of the
According to the Kennedy Center, the prize is awarded to "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens" — a.k.a. Mark Twain, for those of you who weren't paying attention in ninth-grade English class.
Burnett was also a recipient of the
Previous Mark Twain honorees include