“Saturday Night Live” comics will celebrate Tina Fey — best known for her Emmy Award-winning impression of Sarah Palin — when she receives the nation’s top humor prize Tuesday at the Kennedy Center.
Steve Martin, Jennifer Hudson, Steve Carell and Jon Hamm also will honor the comic. At 40, Fey is the youngest to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since its creation in 1998. She’s the third woman to receive it after Lily Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg.
When the prize was announced, Fey hinted she didn’t feel worthy, joking that she assumed Betty White was disqualified “for steroid use.”
White won’t be shut out, though. She will take the stage to honor Fey. They performed together on “SNL” in May when the 88-year-old White won rave reviews as host.
White said Tuesday she was looking forward to a “wonderful celebration” shortly after she was lauded as an honorary ranger by the U.S. Forest Service. White said she wanted to be a forest ranger as a young girl, but women weren’t allowed. White asked if she could wear her new ranger hat later for Fey.
The humor prize honors those who define contemporary comedy. Last year, it went to Bill Cosby.
Organizers said Fey made her mark as the first female head writer on “SNL” as well as her Palin impression.
Fey got her start with Chicago’s The Second City improv group. She worked on “SNL” for nine seasons and went on to create the NBC comedy series “30 Rock,” in which she stars with Alec Baldwin. On the big screen, Fey recently starred with Carell in “Date Night” and is a featured voice in “Megamind,” which debuted at No. 1 at the box office last weekend.
Now Fey is working on her first book, a memoir due out next year. She lives in New York with her husband, Jeff Richmond, and their daughter.
The show will be broadcast nationally Sunday on PBS.