Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein praised Burnett's ability to make audiences laugh over many decades.
“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,” Rubenstein said in a statement.
Other recent winners of the prize include Ellen DeGeneres, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey. The award was first given out in 1998 and is often bestowed on an entertainer who has worked as both an actor and a writer. Fey is currently the youngest honoree ever.
During the ceremony, the winner is generally honored with video segments of his or her past work and ribbings from others in the business.
Burnett came to the public’s attention when she starred in the 1959 Broadway production of the musical “Once Upon a Mattress” and is best-known for her CBS sketch program “The Carol Burnett Show,” which ran from 1967 to 1978. Her film credits include “Annie,” “Noises Off,” and “Horton Hears a Who!” She is also behind a memoir published this year, "Carrie and Me," as well as two other autobiographical works, "One More Time" and "This Time Together."