Adam Sandler is one of the most famous comedians of the last few decades. From his early years on Saturday Night Live to his unforgettable roles in movies like The Waterboy (1998), The Wedding Singer (1998), 50 First Dates (2004), and Murder Mystery (2019); Sandler has made millions of people from around the world laugh. As a tribute to his storied career, “The Sandman” has received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
At the award ceremony, many of Sandler's friends and fellow comedians paid tribute to his work with the tongue-in-cheek humor that could only be carried by figures of that caliber. “A lot of amazing, amazing people have flown to D.C. to say nice things about Adam Sandler. But have you asked yourself why so many of Adam's friends were available to speak tonight? I'll tell you why. Cause when Adam isn't working, they're not working,” comedian Conan O'Brien joked.
Jokes aside, his long-time collaborators thanked him for his loyalty. Actor Steve Buscemi, who has appeared in several of Sandler's movies, praised the SNL alum. “Nobody makes me laugh like you and nobody has taken better care of me in this business than you,” Buscemi admits. “He does this for all his friends. He's done this for so many people…. But for me, I think the best part of working with Adam, with you, is just getting to hang out with you, man.” Drew Barrymore, who has starred alongside Sandler on multiple occasions, celebrated the welcoming element of his work. “Adam can go to the farthest depths but somehow he does it without alienating people and that is a true art, as far as comedy is concerned,” the actress noted.
Sandler then thanked his friends and family, before sprinkling some of his signature comedy to his speech. “As I look at this goofy award I’m holding, I can’t help but think that one day it might be the weapon used to bludgeon me in my sleep by a disgruntled intruder or possibly Mr. Rob Schneider,” Sandler joked. He then took the opportunity to take a jab at critics, saying how, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how harshly they speak about his more lighthearted work. “The reason they don’t hurt me is because so many in this room have made me feel good about what we did together. Everything we do together makes me feel like the critics don’t know what they’re talking about.”
After dazzling the comedy world with his talents on SNL, Sandler went on to become a household name after starring in the comedies Billy Madison (1995) and Happy Gilmore (1996), inspiring him to launch his own production company, Happy Madison, which has spawned over 40 feature films. Parallel to his comedy work, Sandler has also shown his acting chops by starring in more serious projects, like Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love (2002) and the Safdie brothers' Uncut Gems (2019).
The Mark Twain Prize is given out by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. since 1998. Created as a dedicated comedy award, it is handed out to individuals who have “had an impact on American society in ways similar to” those of Twain, a writer and humorist. Previous honorees include Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey.
The work is far from slowing down for Sandler, who has many projects lined up. His latest movie, Murder Mystery 2, is coming to Netflix on March 31, while the sci-fi drama Spaceman will drop this fall. To stay up to date with his work, you can follow him on Instagram and Facebook.