Adam Sandler has been turning heads lately with his dramatic turns in Hustle and Uncut Gems, but he’ll be honored in March for his comedy roots. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts said today that the Saturday Night Live alum and film star will receive its 24th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
The award will be presented March 19 during a gala performance at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Manhattan. Broadcast details are TBA.
“Adam Sandler has entertained audiences for over three decades with his films, music and his tenure as a fan-favorite cast member on SNL,” Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said. “Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry and cry from laughing.”
A five-time Emmy nominee, Sandler got his start with a four-episode stint on The Cosby Show, then the No. 1 series on TV, before joining the SNL cast in 1990. He became a featured player the following year, drawing guffaws for his goofy original tunes including “The Chanukah Song” and “The Thanksgiving Song,” and embodied such memorable characters as Cajun Man, Opera Man and Canteen Boy during his five-season stint.
His film career kicked into high gear in 1995 with Billy Madison, followed in quick succession by Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard, Little Nicky Grown Ups and its sequel and voicing Dracula in the first three Hotel Transylvania films, among other roles. He also wrote and/or produced several of those pics.
He went on to ink a disruptive megadeal in 2014 to produce and star in films for Netflix, which kicked off with The Ridiculous 6 in 2016 and followed by The Do-Over, Sandy Wexler and more. He re-upped with the streamer for four more films in 2020.
He also has three career Grammy noms for his 1990s comedy albums, along with a slew of People’s Choice, MTV and other awards. He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain. Past recipients range from Richard Pryor, Carl Reiner and Whoopi Goldberg to Eddie Murphy, David Letterman, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart.