The coveted prize is considered one of the top honors in the comedy world. It aims to celebrate humorists who have made a similar impact on American culture and society as literary legend Samuel Clemens, known as Mark Twain.
“Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand of humor,” Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “Over four decades, her wildly original characters and her gift for physical comedy have left us in stitches.”
Louis-Dreyfus’ portrayal of Elaine Benes in NBC’s “Seinfeld” made her an American comedy icon and beloved in the hearts of audiences everywhere. But it’s her role as everyone’s favorite incompetent politician, Selina Meyer, in HBO’s “Veep” that led her to break award records.
She holds the record for the most Emmys won by a single performer, and she has won the most consecutive Emmys for a single role ― Meyer in “Veep,” which enters its seventh season this year. Louis-Dreyfus also executive produces the show.
Louis-Dreyfus tweeted that the news of the announcement was “insanely exciting.”
The actress will be honored with the Mark Twain Prize on October 21, 2018 in an event filled with more of comedy’s best. The gala is taped every year and broadcast on PBS.
Louis-Dreyfus announced in September that she has breast cancer and has been vocal on social media about fighting it. In February, she posted her “first post-op photo,” a glamorous headshot that the Kennedy Center used in the tweet above, along with the caption, “Fuck you, cancer.”
The star will join a long list of comedy legends who have won the award, including Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, George Carlin, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Carol Burnett, Eddie Murphy and David Letterman, among others.