Entertainment Weekly - Sabadoo! While many of the presenters who honored Adam Sandler with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the recent John F. Kennedy Center ceremony mimicked the comedian and actor's penchant for gibberish and mumbling, one thing was clear: outside the laughs, Sandler is recognized for his decency, loyalty, and strong work ethic.
The program featured tributes from many of Sandler's famous friends and collaborators, including Ben Stiller, Conan O'Brien, David Spade, and many more.
Idina Menzel, who appeared with Sandler in the modern classic Uncut Gems and will reteam with him in the upcoming You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, opened the show as Opera Man, one of Sandler's signature Saturday Night Live characters. Her jokes included elbowing PBS for passing on airing the program, as well as Kanye West turning the channel to watch Fox News, given the focus on a prominent Jewish entertainer.
O'Brien jokingly chided the Kennedy Center on their mistake in awarding Sandler, calling it the biggest screw-up since Vin Diesel received a MacArthur Grant. He recalled that he first met Sandler sitting in his SNL office back in 1991 when Sandler appeared in the doorway with a pencil sticking out of his butt. Ending on an earnest note, O'Brien likened Sandler to Mark Twain in that both men's sense of humor had the common touch. Sandler, like Twain, never lectures, O'Brien noted, he is in the muck with his fans.
Meanwhile, Sandler's own mother Judy painted a wholesome picture of what it was like raising the comedian as he grew up in New Hampshire. She honored her son for his "kind and thoughtful," not mean, sense of humor. She finished with a plea to always keep laughing. It's "good for your health and all of mankind," she stated.
Mark Twain famously said, "Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven. And explaining humor is a lot like dissecting a frog, you learn a lot in the process, but in the end, you kill it’"
A very poignant and true statement. One of about a zillion Twain can be "famously quoted" for making. Which is probably why each year the John F. Kennedy Center in D.C. awards one of America's greatest with a specific award in his name, thanking them for making us laugh.
Last night (it was actually a few weeks ago but it was finally aired last night) Adam Sandler received the distinguished honor amongst his closest friends and peers in the industry. And as is tradition, they got on stage and flamed him for a good hour or so. And it was awesome.
Chris Rock has been on a heater lately. Talk about a guy taking a really shitty incident, lemons let's call it, and turning into the best damn Del's Lemonade you've ever had. (Sidebar - Del's is by far the biggest thing I miss about visiting Rhode Island beaches and Newport in the summer. I'm on a mission to bring them to the midwest before I hang 'em up and call it a day. It will be my legacy and everlasting gift to Chicago.) But anyways, Chris Rock came out last night to "roast" his buddy Adam Sandler and he came out flying.
Right off the top with a great Paul Pelosi joke and then right into recounting a story of Sandler telling a great Wilt Chamberlain joke. He followed that up by describing how they became friends, crediting Sandler's friendliness and just being a good person, and then mother fucking the Oscar's for snubbing him all these years.
He also made a great joke comparing Trump to Tupac and how arresting him is just going to make him more popular that was edited out of the broadcast for some reason.
Conan also killed it.
He led off with a fucking hilarious joke about all of Sandler's friends "being available" to speak at the awards because Sandler wasn't working; thus, they weren't either.
God I forget how hysterical Conan is. Fuck you NBC forever. He's also incredibly intelligent. His comparison of Sandler to Twain was so dead on it's scary.
It doesn't seem that surprising anymore that Adam Sandler is by all accounts one of the best humans in show business and definitely in Hollywood today. It's just account after account of his generosity and helping people with a leg up in their career or when they were down, and not for publicity or attention. He's just a good person. And hearing all his friends in the industry gush about him like this just furthers that.
Ben Stiller was hilarious in roasting himself as well as Sandler with a great nepotism joke,
and then calling Sandler out for his MTV job as "Stud Boy", which was something I had no idea was ever a thing.
Crazy how far Sandler has come and how long he's been doing his thing.
Other speakers included -
Steve Buscemi who recreated his hilarious drunken scene from The Wedding Singer, roasting Sandler. After a joke linking the premise for Airheads to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Buscemi concluded with a touching story about hanging out with Sandler on the set of Hubie Halloween.
Glenny's babe Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Aniston. Sandler's two onscreen leading ladies, vied for his real-life affection in a hilariously passive-aggressive and barbed bit.
Dana Carvey, who fucking killed it, as always
and David Spade and Rob Schneider were also pretty funny.
as was Idina Menzel, who played Sandler's characters wife in Uncut Gems, and who came out as Sandler's character from SNL the opera singer.
The word gets thrown around a lot to the point it makes people's eyes roll, but Adam Sandler is genuinely a treasure. I've yet to ever hear or read anybody say or write a bad thing about the guy. Something that is truly incredible when you think about it in 2023.
His interview from "60 Minutes" a couple years ago really blew my mind on just how long he's been doing what he loves, and how insane his body of work actually is. To say we take the guy for granted is a gross understatement.
Adam Sandler seems like the best friend everybody wishes they had. Congrats to him and here's hoping he continues to pump out comedies like "That's My Boy" for us all to enjoy.
p.s. - the night before the awards Judd Apatow, who was Sandler's roommate when they were both starting out in NY, Dana Carvey, and Steve Buscemi graced their friends with a rendition of "Lunch Lady Land" which was great-