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Ellen DeGeneres to receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Joins exclusive club that includes Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg and George Carlin

Ellen DeGeneres, whose talk show has won 25 Emmys, will need to make room on her awards shelf for yet another honor: the 15th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

Past winners include Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Tina Fey, George Carlin and Will Ferrell.

'It's such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize,' she said in a statement. 'To get the same award that has been given to people like Bill Cosby, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell, it really makes me wonder … why didn't I get this sooner?'

Recipients of the Mark Twain Prize are 'people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens,' according to The Kennedy Center.

In addition to her long-running daytime talk show, DeGeneres was star of the ground-breaking ABC sitcom Ellen in which her television character came out as a lesbian at the same time that DeGeneres did so in real life.

DeGeneres will be presented with the award during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 22.

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