Comedy icon, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is set to receive this year’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and this is a big effing deal. She will be presented with the award at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on October 21st, 2018, making her the 21st recipient of the esteemed comedy prize. In case you’re like, well, that sounds nice, but what is it? The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor is like being the Super Bowl MVP — only one person gets it every year, and it’s confirmation that you are, indeed, very funny.
Louis-Dreyfus’s honor is even more special because the last time a woman got this award was Carol Burnett in 2013. The only other women to receive the award are Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Tina Fey, and Ellen DeGeneres. Some of the past male honorees include Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, and Steve Martin.
“The Mark Twain Prize recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist best known as Mark Twain,” the institution lists on their website. The first awards ceremony took place in 1998 and was given to Richard Pryor.
For all the pomp and circumstance, Louis-Dreyfus was pretty cavalier about the good news. “Well, this is insanely exciting,” she tweeted.
From her career-making turn as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld to her leading role on Veep, and everything in between, there are dozens of reasons to give her this award, but it’s perhaps more special now as she’s courageously been battling breast cancer since September 2017. In February 2018, she announced on Instagram that she had recently undergone surgery and was “feeling happy and ready to rock.”
Her ceremony will feature speeches, clips, and performances from other comedy legends. The awards typically airs on PBS a month after the event, and obviously, we’ll be watching.