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Tina Fey feted by Kennedy Center with Mark Twain Prize

May 25, 2010 | 10:20 am
Tina Fey Mark Twain Prize Kennedy Center

Mark Twain once said, "It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them." He need not worry about the worthiness of the recipients of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. From the first winner, Richard Pryor, to the latest, Tina Fey, the Kennedy Center has chosen "people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist."

At only 40, Fey is the youngest honoree in the 13-year history of the award. Last year's recipient was Bill Cosby. Fey is the third woman to win the award, after Whoopi Goldberg (2001) and Lily Tomlin (2003). The other previous prize winners were Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Bob Newhart (2002), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007) and George Carlin (2008).

As Jacqueline Trescott of the Washington Post writes, "Before anyone asks, let's settle the question of honoring someone who's a mere 40 years old. 'It does change the paradigm a bit,' said Mark Krantz, co-executive producer of the Twain salute. A lot of people felt it was a lifetime achievement award for an old person. It never has been. It is a prize, really, about somebody's depth and talent.'"

As for Fey, she said in a statement: "I assume Betty White was disqualified for steroid use." The seven-time Emmy winner will be presented with the award on Nov. 9, with the star-studded tribute to be televised on PBS at a later date.

Photo: Mark Twain Prize logo. Credit: Kennedy Center

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The comments to this entry are closed.


no, feted: celebrated

"by the look of previous winners...why not call it the Comedic Writers awards.."

Because the name of the award being the "Mark Twain Prize for American Humor" is too complicated for you?

Tina Fey? Are you serious? I mean, she's good - but damn! The Mark Twain Prize??? WTF?

you mean vetted?

by the look of previous winners...why not call it the Comedic Writers awards..

your announcement of tina fey as this years mark twain prize winner is perhaps the worst selection yet.there are five people more suitable for this prize then miss fey.they include:carol burnett,jerry lewis,mel brooks,woody allen,and don rickles(even mike nichols).this is my opinion.i have nothing against her,i think she's funny,but as awards like this she has a llittle ways to go. she should politely refuse the award until the five i have mention are rightly honored. thank you

Tina Fey! Hubba hubba!



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