Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s dry-witted Seinfeld character Elaine Benes once said: “Here’s to those who wish us well … and those who don’t can go to hell.”
Today, Louis-Dreyfus has an abundance of well-wishers—she’s the 2018 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, The Kennedy Center announced Wednesday. Past recipients of the prize, which is said to be among the most prestigious awards in comedy, include Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres and Carol Burnett. Louis-Dreyfus will join their ranks on Oct. 21 when a gala event celebrating the award’s 21st recipient, featuring a lineup of yet-to-be-announced comedic performances, airs nationwide.
After getting her comedic foot in the door during a three-year SNL run in the 1980s, Louis-Dreyfus sky-rocketed to stardom in the ‘90s thanks to the unforgettable antics and banter of Seinfeld, but in the 2000s and beyond, the actress has asserted perhaps even more comedic dominance. Her HBO show Veep debuted in 2012, and it’s been a force to be reckoned with at awards shows ever since. Louis-Dreyfus herself has won more Emmys than any other single performer in history, taking home 11 over the years, six of which were consecutively earned for her role as the dysfunctional political conqueress Selina Meyer on Veep. Between all three of her primary television roles—Elaine on Seinfeld, Selina on Veep and the title character on CBS’s The New Adventures of Old Christine—she’s received a whopping 24 Emmy nominations. That’s some serious Hollywood hardware.
The seventh season of Veep is currently in limbo, due in part to Louis-Dreyfus’ breast cancer diagnosis, which she announced last year. Thankfully, she reported feeling well and on the up-and-up after a successful procedure in February. She’s remained bravely transparent during the course of her treatment, and we at Paste wish her all the best in her fight going forward.
You can revisit some of Louis-Dreyfus’ comedic genius in our roundup of the best Veep memes. Her episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s hit series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee also ranks among our favorites. Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino is a fan, as well—she recently shared a new song in which she channels Elaine Benes.