Is Courteney Cox the best comedienne on television these days? Is she the heir to Lucille Ball’s comedy throne? Apparently, she is this year, at least according to Women in Film, which is giving the Cougar Town star the 2010 Lucy Award. The honor is named after the great Lucille Ball and is given to an entertainer (man or woman) whose “creative works…exemplify the extraordinary accomplishments [Ball] embodied; whose excellence and innovation have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television.” That’s pretty high praise for the erstwhile Monica Geller, who’s now in the company of past recipients like Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Phyllis Diller, and…the cast of Sex and the City. You know who hasn’t been anointed? Shockingly, Tina Fey.
What?! How can this be? Ah, but don’t cry for Fey. Not to steal Cox’s thunder or anything, but Fey is getting an even better award: The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The seven-time Emmy winner will walk away with this most prestigious award — which “recognizes people who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist” — on Nov. 13 at the Kennedy Center. And when she does, she’ll be only the third woman to do so since the award was created 13 years ago. (Tomlin and Whoopi Goldberg preceded her.)
Hats off to Fey, who easily gets my vote for the funniest woman in show business today. In fact, she may even be the funniest entertainer around right now, regardless of gender. As for the second question I asked above, maybe it’s time we just retired that worn-out inquiry once and for all. Cuz let’s face it: There ain’t never gonna be another Lucy. Unless of course you argue that Fey is your Ball. In which case, I salute you.
UPDATE: Here is Fey’s response: “I am truly thrilled to receive this honor. I assume Betty White was disqualified for steroid use.”