Adam Sandler will receive the 24th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center said in a statement on Tuesday. The prize recognizes “individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist” Mark Twain, for whom the award is named, the Kennedy Center said.

“Adam Sandler has entertained audiences for over three decades with his films, music, and his tenure as a fan favorite cast member on SNL,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter.

“Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing,” Rutter added.

Adam Sandler In 'Billy Madison'
Adam Sandler sitting at a desk in a class for children in a scene from the film “Billy Madison,” 1995.

Universal Pictures / Getty Images

The 56-year-old made his film debut in the late 1980s, and he has since appeared in such comedic hits as “Billy Madison,” “Grown Ups” and “Big Daddy,” along with more dramatic turns in films like “Uncut Gems” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” His films have grossed over $3 billion worldwide, according to the Kennedy Center.

On the small screen, Sandler was hired as a writer on “Saturday Night Live” in 1990, and joined the cast the following year. During his five-season run, Sandler would often perform comedic musical numbers, including “The Chanukah Song.” Sandler would return to host the renowned sketch program in 2019.  

Adam Sandler on Saturday Night Live
Adam Sandler and Kevin Nealon during SNL’s ‘Weekend Update’ skit on February 13, 1983.

Al Levine/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

In addition to his acting roles, Sandler has also found success as a musician, producer, and director.

Previous recipients of the Mark Twain award include Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Lorne Michaels, Ellen DeGeneres, and Eddie Murphy,  among others. Most recently, the 2022 award was presented to Jon Stewart.

“We are looking forward to celebrating [Sandler’s] career at a ceremony that is sure to bring together the best in comedy and provide all the laughs,” said Rutter.

Sandler will be honored at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on March 19, 2023.


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