In the ’60s and ‘70s, Carol Burnett was the undisputed queen of TV sketch comedy. The Carol Burnett Show was a cultural juggernaut watched by tens of millions of viewers every week, and its namesake star was a titan of slapstick and farce in an era when the genre was nearly entirely dominated by men. So, it’s only fitting that when the comedian is presented with a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild this Saturday, it should be presented by two similarly distinguished female sketch performers: Tina Fey, the first female head writer of Saturday Night Live, and Amy Poehler, co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade and former SNL cast member.
“We all hail Carol as the queen for a lot of reasons,” Poehler recently said in an interview for The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. “One is because we grew up watching her, and we will always have those memories of discovering comedy with her and through her. And the other is that she’s so versatile.” Burnett is the 54th actor (and 17th woman) to receive the award, which, according to an SAG press release, is given annually to a performer who embodies the “finest ideals of the acting profession.” Previous comic recipients include Bob Hope, Mary Tyler Moore, George Burns, and Dick Van Dyke, who worked alongside Burnett during the final season of The Carol Burnett Show in 1977.