The ‘Zoolander’ star feels “honoured” to have been chosen by the Kennedy Center to scoop the coveted accolade, and is already making plans ahead of a special ceremony in October, when he will be presented with a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait of Mark Twain.
He said: “I am truly honoured to receive this distinction. I will now begin cultivating a Mark Twain-esque moustache in anticipation of the event.”
Will will be given the accolade – which was presented to ‘Saturday Night Live’ star Tina Fey last year – at a special evening with his past and present colleagues at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington on October 23, with the tribute show recorded for future broadcast.
The comic actor was praised by the Kennedy Center’s chairman David M. Rubenstein, but he admitted there are concerns of a backlash in giving the honour to a relatively young star.
David said: “Will Ferrell is clearly one of his generation’s finest comedic performers. But already, we’re anticipating a mild wave of blowback, similar to some of the criticism last year when the award went to Tina Fey -- specifically, that Ferrell, at 43, is too young for an honour that has typically gone to emeritus wits like Carl Reiner, Lily Tomlin and Bill Cosby.”
Other previous winners of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour – which is now in its 14th year - include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal.