Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is to receive America’s top comedy prize later this month.

The award-winning gay chat show host will be presented with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour, at the John F Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Past winners of the accolade include Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal and Will Ferrell.

Jimmy Kimmel, Kristin Chenoweth and Jason Mraz are among those who will perform tributes to the star.

In 1997, Ellen made history by playing the first prime-time gay character in a US television series.

The prize honours Mark Twain’s tradition of satire and social commentary.

This year’s ceremony will be broadcast in the US on PBS on 22 October.

Last month, a star was unveiled for Ellen on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Her current syndicated talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has earned 38 Daytime Emmy awards over its 10 seasons, and she has been on Forbes magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women and Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Most Powerful Entertainers lists.

A former host of the Academy Awards and Primetime Emmys, Ellen has also featured in several films including Ron Howard’s EDtv and The Love Letter starring Bill Pullman.

She has long been admired by America’s gay rights campaigners for her LGBT advocacy work.