Ed Asner, Jack Black, Matthew Broderick, Tim Meadows, Conan O'Brien, John C. Reilly, Paul Rudd, Andy Samberg, Molly Shannon and Ben Stiller paid tribute to Ferrell's humor and accomplishments during a ceremony Sunday.
The program is to be aired Oct. 31 on PBS stations nationwide.
The Kennedy Center said the Mark Twain Prize, established in 1998, recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to 19th century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, who was best known as Mark Twain.
"As a social commentator, satirist and creator of characters, Samuel Clemens was a fearless observer of society who startled many while delighting and informing many more with his uncompromising perspective of social injustice and personal folly," the center said on its Web site.
Past winners of the Mark Twain Prize include Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, Neil Simon, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Bill Cosby and Tina Fey.