Burnett, 80, is to collect the award during a star-studded tribute Oct. 20. The event is to air on PBS stations nationwide Oct. 30.
"From her television program and appearances, as well as her performances on Broadway and in film, Carol Burnett has entertained generations of fans with her vibrant wit and hilarious characters," Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement Tuesday. "We are delighted to pay tribute to this unique and beloved entertainer."
"I can't believe I'm getting a humor prize from the Kennedy Center. It's almost impossible to be funnier than the people in Washington," Burnett said.