Adam Sandler to Receive Mark Twain Prize

From a New York Times story by Sarah Bahr “Adam Sandler to Receive Mark Twain Prize for American Humor”:

Adam Sandler has had a busy 2022: He starred as a basketball scout in a critically acclaimed performance in the Netflix sports drama “Hustle”; he won an honorary Gotham Award, giving a speech that brought the house down; and undertook his first nationwide arena tour in three years. Now, he’ll be able to start off 2023 with at least one sure thing: a comedy prize.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Tuesday that it will recognize the 56-year-old comedian’s satire and activism when it presents him with its 24th Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, given to luminaries who have “had an impact on American society” in ways similar to Twain, at a ceremony on March 19.

In his 30-year career, Sandler, who is known for his loopy, lewd sense of humor and amiable charm, has served as a comedian, actor, writer, producer and musician, starring in films like “The Waterboy” (1998), “Grown Ups” (2010) and “Hotel Transylvania” (2012). After getting his start telling jokes in comedy clubs, he shot to fame as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live,” then went on to release blockbuster albums and make critically panned comedies. Though he’s also racked up critically acclaimed star turns in the Safdie brothers’ 2019 dark comedy “Uncut Gems” and “Hustle,” among others.

Deborah F. Rutter, the president of the Kennedy Center, said in a statement that Sandler had “created characters that have made us laugh, cry and cry from laughing.”

Previous winners of the Mark Twain Prize include Jon Stewart, Bill Murray, Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett and Ellen DeGeneres. The award has been presented annually since 1998, excepting the pandemic years 2020 and 2021.

Sarah Bahr is a senior staff editor at The Times. She has reported on a range of topics, most often theater, film and television, while writing for the Culture, Styles and National desks.

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