Legendary actress Carol Burnett has received the prestigious honour of the Mark Twain Award for American Humor: the USA's most coveted comedy award given to those who have made a significant contribution to humor. The 80 year-old singer and performer held her own CBS variety show, The Carol Burnett Show, for 11 years and became recognisable for pulling her ear at the end of a performance.

Carol Burnett Television Arts
Carol Burnett Has Been Honored With The Coveted Mark Twain Award.

"I'm overwhelmed, totally overwhelmed," Burnett emphasises ahead of the award ceremony, via Reuters. "I just hope after tonight they'll knock me down a few pegs because I think I'm getting a really big head."

The influential effect that Burnett and her legacy has had upon comedy was underlined by the enthusiastic, some may say starstruck, celebrity attendees to the Kennedy Center bash. 30 Rock star Tina Fey enthused "I love you in a way that is just short of creepy." The comedy writer, who has just been signed to host the Golden Globes for the next two years with Amy Poehler added, "I watched your show, and I thought: I could do that."

Carol Burnett
Burnett With Her Grandson; The Awards Evening Was Filled With Adoration For The 80 Year-old Comedian.

As is tradition with stand-up comedy, the topical issues of America were lampooned, especially as the ceremony was held in Washington D.C. "We are here tonight to celebrate the first lady of American comedy, Ted Cruz," Fey said, referring to the Republican senator whose opposition to Obamacare helped inspire the current shutdown. Naturally, raucous laughter ensued.

In an evening embroidered with clips from Carol's decades-long comedy career, performer Rosemary Watson spoke of the inspiration the pioneering female comedian had provided during her own formative years. "She shaped my life as a child," said Watson. "She was the female comedienne I wanted to be most like."

Carol Burnett Book
Burnett's Live Performance Ended With A Tug Of Her Ear.

However joyous she was, Burnett was also humble when she collected her award. "It was a long time in coming, but I understand because there are so many people funnier than I am. Especially here in Washington," she said after taking to the stage. Ever the comedian, she added "With any luck they'll soon get voted out and I'll still have the Mark Twain Prize."

The awards show is scheduled to air on PBS on the 24th November.