Adam Sandler receives Mark Twain Prize, thanks family

Sandler, 56, launched a wildly successful movie career with more than 30 films after a five-year stint at "Saturday Night Live."
Posted at 9:58 AM, Mar 20, 2023

Adam Sandler has now received one of the highest awards in the comedy industry, taking home the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on Sunday.

After a nearly three-hour ceremony held in Washington, D.C., Sandler accepted the award, saying that the key to his success is his family, who gives him "some insane weird confidence" that he still carries today.

"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," the 56-year-old comedian joked before getting serious. "I wish I gave you guys joke, joke, joke, but I wrote a nice speech instead. Everyone in this room has made my life fun."

Sandler also credited the constant support of his daughters and his wife, Jackie, who noted during her turn at the microphone, "Yes, he's just as funny in real life as he is in the movies."

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Along with the award, Sandler received praise from his friends in the industry throughout the ceremony, including Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel, both of whom worked with Sandler on "Saturday Night Live," and Drew Barrymore, who starred in three films with the actor. Chris Rock, Ben Stiller and Dana Carvey were also in attendance.

Sandler began his career on "Saturday Night Live" in 1990, creating a handful of memorable characters, such as Opera Man, and writing songs that still leave audience laughing today like "Lunchlady Land" and "The Chanukah Song."

He went on to create and star in films such as "Billy Madison," "Happy Gilmore," "The Wedding Singer" and "Uncut Gems," many of which co-star his friends.

"A lot of amazing, amazing people have flown to D.C. to say nice things about Adam Sandler," O'Brien said. "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."

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Steve Buscemi, who also spoke at the award ceremony, noted what a gift it was to work with Sandler.

"Nobody makes me laugh like you and nobody has taken better care of me in this business than you. He does this for all his friends," Buscemi said, according to NPR. "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."

Some of Sandler's most recent work includes the films "Murder Mystery" and "Murder Mystery 2," both starring Jennifer Aniston. "Murder Mystery 2" hits Netflix on March 31.

Other comedians who have received the Mark Twain award include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett and Dave Chapelle. Last year, the prize went to Jon Stewart. You can watch Sandler receive the award on CNN on March 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.