The Mark Twain Prize is handed out by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, recognizing those who’ve “had an impact on American society in ways similar to” the award’s namesake. The event honoring Sandler will take place March 19 at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
“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 in a statement. “Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing. I am looking forward to a laughter-filled evening like no other as we celebrate his career at a ceremony that is sure to bring together the best in comedy.”
The Mark Twain Prize was first handed out in 1998, with Richard Pryor receiving the inaugural award. Other recipients include Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Carol Burnett, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and most recently, Dave Chappelle and Jon Stewart.
One could probably classify the Mark Twain Prize as the most illustrious award to be bestowed upon the genius who has done everything from comedy classics like Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and Big Daddy, to unexpectedly brilliant dramatic turns in Punch-Drunk Love and Uncut Gems, to Razzie-award winning blockbusters like Jack and Jill. But despite the weight and esteem of the honor, one can pretty safely bet that the Sandman will bust out the kind of goofy speech he has delivered upon winning any prize.
Ever since Sandler picked up an Independent Spirit Award for Uncut Gems in 2020, he’s been angling to keep the easy laughs coming (see: Hubie Halloween), while ostensibly trying to add a few more pieces of major Hollywood silverware to his cabinet. Late last month, Sandler accepted a Career Tribute award at the 2022 Gotham Awards with a hilarious speech he claimed his daughters wrote. And industry reports suggest there’s a push to help him finally score an Oscar nomination for his performance in the basketball dramedy, Hustle.