Scheduled to salute the talk-show host and comedienne at the center Monday were Kristin Chenoweth, Steve Harvey, Sean Hayes, Jimmy Kimmel, John Krasinski, John Leguizamo, Jane Lynch, Jason Mraz, Lily Tomlin, Loudon Wainwright III and others.
The program will air on PBS stations nationwide Oct. 30.
"The Kennedy Center is happy to recognize Ellen DeGeneres' unique contributions to the world of comedy," Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement. "Through her television programs, stand-up appearances, movies, and even commercials, her special brand of humor has allowed us to find hilarity in the mundane and has kept us laughing for years."
"It's such an honor to receive the Mark Twain Prize," DeGeneres said upon learning of the honor. "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?"