Julie Andrews, Tina Fey and Tony Bennett are among the stars set to pay tribute to Carol Burnett, the 2013 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence, two of the regular cast members on “The Carol Burnett Show,” will also celebrate the 80-year-old’s career at the Oct. 20 salute at the Kennedy Center, which PBS will broadcast nationwide Nov. 24.
Burnett starred in her eponymous variety show from 1967 to 1978. One of the most decorated television shows in history, “The Carol Burnett Show” won 25 Emmy awards and averaged 30 million viewers each week during its run. Burnett also starred in films and on Broadway, including John Huston’s 1982 film version of “Annie” and Broadway productions of Stephen Sondheim’s “Putting It Together” and Ken Ludwig’s “Moon Over Buffalo.”
It is fitting that Julie Andrews will honor Burnett. Andrews and Burnett appeared on the Emmy-winning television special “Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall” in 1962. The duo appeared on stage together again for variety shows in 1971 and 1989.
Among the first female comedians to have her own television show, Burnett, along with Lucille Ball, helped to pave the way for today’s female comedic superstars. Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and Maya Rudolph will honor Burnett. Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, will also pay tribute.
“I can’t believe I’m getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington,” Burnett said in a statement in May when the Center announced the 2013 honoree.
The Mark Twain Prize is in its 16th year. The award honors comedians and satirists who have had an “impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain.” Richard Pryor was the first recipient in 1998.
Burnett is the first woman to win both the Mark Twain Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors, which she received in 2003. Past winners of the Twain include Will Ferrell, Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey.