Oscar-winning thesp will be feted at Aspen

HOLLYWOOD — Something the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival has gotta give this year is the AFI Star Award to Diane Keaton.

The Oscar-winning actress will be feted for her excellence in film at the Aspen fest, joining the ranks of such previous recipients as Mike Myers, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal.

“She’s an icon in the comedy business. My first job in showbiz was as a P.A. on ‘Annie Hall,’ so for me it’s incredible to have her at the festival,” USCAF exec director Stu Smiley said.

Keaton’s AFI kudos comes at a time when the thesp is Golden Globe-nommed as an actress in a comedy for “Something’s Gotta Give.” That pic crossed $100 million at the domestic B.O. over the weekend.

Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright August Wilson will receive the fest’s third annual Freedom of Speech Award. First given out at the USCAF after the Sept. 11 terrorism, the Freedom of Speech Award honors those artists who use their craft to speak out on social issues. Helmer Michael Moore was last year’s recipient.

Also featured at this year’s fest will be live tapings of AMC’s “Sunday Morning Shootout,” hosted by Variety Editor-in-Chief Peter Bart and producer Peter Guber. NBC’s reality skein “Last Comic Standing” with Jay Mohr will also be recording portions of its upcoming season.

As part of the USCAF’s 10th anniversary celebration, two of last year’s most notable events will return: “The Moth” and the Comedy Film Honors. Hosted by Teri Garr, “The Moth” is a storytelling series featuring personal tales from festival talent. The Thursday night performance of “Moth” will focus on the theme “Overcoming Obstacles.” Comedian Robert Schimmel will participate in the series.

The cast of Comedy Central’s copshow parody “Reno 911″ will be arresting festgoers with yuks at their law enforcement seminar.

The USCAF will take place in Aspen March 3-7.

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