Julia Louis-Dreyfus made Emmys history last year when she won her sixth award in a row for HBO’s Veep. The honors keep coming as the comedic titan will now receive the 2018 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The Kennedy Center, which will host its 21st award ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 21, recognizes those who’ve made an impact on American society in the vein of Twain. “An outstanding lineup of entertainers will gather in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall” for the occasion, according to the event description.
Dreyfus is only the sixth woman ever to earn the Mark Twain prize: she follows Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Lily Tomlin (2003), Tina Fey (2010), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), and Carol Burnett (2013). Richard Pryor was the first recipient in 1998.
“Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying,” the actor joked in a statement.
Dreyfus has won eight acting Emmys, tying Cloris Leachman for most Emmys won by a single performer (Louis-Dreyfus has another three to her credit for her role as an executive producer during the years Veep won Outstanding Comedy Series). She also kicked off 2018 by making Screen Actors Guild history when she became the first TV actress to win five individual SAG trophies.
The actor revealed in September 2017 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Dreyfus used the opportunity to shed light on those individuals who struggle with such illness without proper health care coverage. After completing chemotherapy in January, Dreyfus released what she called her “first post op photo” celebrating her “great results” after surgery.
“Like Mark Twain, Julia has enriched American culture with her iconic, unforgettable, and outright hilarious brand of humor,” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement. “Over four decades, her wildly original characters and her gift for physical comedy have left us in stitches. Julia is a role model for so many, and we look forward to honoring her on Oct. 21.”