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Friday, September 6, 2013

Carol Burnett to Receive Comedy Award

Written by Kyle Slagley

As one of the most groundbreaking female comediennes of the past 50 years, I thought it entirely fitting when I read that Carol Burnett is to be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor next month at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Burnett, now 80 years old, made appearances on a variety of TV comedy programs throughout the 1950s, but her career got a big jolt when she landed the role of Princess Winnifred in the Original Broadway Cast of Once Upon a Mattress in 1959. After that, her career was on the fast track, and by 1967 she had successfully realized her dream of fronting her own variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, which won 22 Emmy Awards during its 11-year run.

As if honouring a legendary clown like Burnett wasn’t enough, the ceremony itself is a veritable who’s who of funny people, particularly today’s top comediennes. Vicki Lawrence and Tim Conway, two of Burnett’s oldest friends from their days on The Carol Burnett Show, will be hosting the event.

Julie Andrews, who co-starred with Burnett in the TV special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, will likely sing a song or two during her portion of the event. Other actors who will be in attendance include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Maya Rudolph. Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Burnett’s idol and mentor Lucille Ball, will also help pay tribute.

Ever the laugher, when told she would receive the award, Burnett reportedly commented, “I can’t believe I’m getting a humour prize from the Kennedy Center. It’s almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington.”

The ceremony will take place on October 20, and will be broadcast on PBS on November 24.

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