Award show pays tribute to the comedians whose outstanding achievements shaped the past year
NBC and Don Mischer Productions have announced Bill Cosby will be honored with the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence at the American Comedy Awards, which airs May 8 (9 p.m.) on NBC.
The Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence is presented to an individual who, over the course of his lifetime, has made an extraordinary contribution to comedy and whose impact and innovations have changed the landscape and inspired future generations of entertainers.
"This is where I started: NBC and Johnny Carson," Cosby said.
"Bill Cosby is an iconic figure at the forefront of the American comedy landscape," said Paul Telegdy, president of alternative and late night programming at NBC Entertainment. "His work in television, film, stand-up comedy and literature has shaped the national sense of humor and has had an enduring impact on comedians and fans of all ages. We are delighted to honor him with the Johnny Carson Award during NBC's inaugural broadcast of the American Comedy Awards."
Cosby is one of America's most beloved comedians and has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books. His comedy transcends age, gender and cultural barriers.
Cosby broke television's racial barrier with "I Spy," becoming the first African-American to co-star on a television drama series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," which began airing in the 1970s and was made into a film in 2004.
Perhaps Cosby's greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture is the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984-92 on NBC. Cosby has received the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award.
The American Comedy Awards will honor those who have achieved new heights during the past year in both film and television, as well as pay tribute to some of comedy's most enduring personalities. The telecast will acknowledge the work of stand-ups, those who specialize in movies and the actors and actresses who are seen by millions on TV every week.