A host of comedic and entertainment royalty gathered at Washington’s Kennedy Center as Sandler was presented with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Presenters including Drew Barrymore, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Buscemi, Dana Carvey, and Luis Guzmán gave testimonials to Sandler’s creative longevity while poking occasional fun at his uneven movie output and tendency to cast all his friends in his movies.
At the night’s end, Sandler paid tribute to his parents and siblings for arming him with “that weird irrational confidence thing that I guess I still have.”
Sandler, 56, first came to national attention as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” After being fired from the cast following a five-year stint, Sandler launched a wildly successful movie career that has spanned over 30 films, grossing over $3 billion worldwide.
Sandler’s top hits include “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer” and “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.” Although primarily known for slapstick comedy and overgrown man-child characters, he has excelled in dramatic roles in films such as “Punch Drunk Love” and “Uncut Gems.”
Other comedians who received the lifetime achievement award include inaugural honoree Richard Pryor in 1998, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett and Dave Chapelle.
The ceremony will be broadcast nationally on CNN on March 26.