THANK YOU -- I SAW IT IN THE WINDOW AND JUST COULDN'T RESIST IT: Two years ago, I gave up on griping about the Kennedy Center's selections for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, having gone with Will Ferrell and Tina Fey in successive years (and then Ellen DeGeneres in 2012) and seemingly abandoning its mandate to be recognition for lifetime achievement in the field of American humor. Instead, it seemed, the mandate was to produce a tv show for PBS stations to air during pledge drives. Feh, I said. Feh. Where was the recognition for Mike Nichols and Elaine May, David Letterman, Norman Lear, Eddie Murphy, Woody Allen, Carol Burnett, Mel Brooks, and the late Nora Ephron?
[Indeed, explains the WaPo: "Would-be winners need to be famous enough to draw a large audience to a PBS telecast of the prize ceremony in the fall. They also have to be popular enough to draw corporate sponsors to a pre-show “rehearsal” dinner in their honor, and to sell tickets to the ceremony itself (all of which raises about $1 million a year for the Kennedy Center)."]
The 2013 honoree for the Mark Twain Prize is Carol Burnett, becoming the first woman to have received both a Kennedy Center Honor and this comedy-only award. Here she is in the late 1950s, with the love song "I Made A Fool Of Myself Over John Foster Dulles."