Editor’s Note: Adam Sandler will be honored by the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on CNN Sunday, March 26, at 8 p.m. ET.
Never underestimate the creative powers of Adam Sandler.
He’s an accomplished comedian, singer-songwriter, director, producer, screenwriter and actor whose movies have made billions at the box office. He’s also the 2023 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Sandler received the honor at a ceremony in Washington, DC last weekend, set to air exclusively on CNN Sunday night. Until then, here are ten times Sandler has proved his versatile talent.
In 2009’s “Funny People,” Sandler plays a comedian who receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. In an effort to create a meaningful friendship, he mentors an up and coming comic with twists and turns along the way. Sandler brings depth to the role of the aging comic.
“Punch-Drunk Love” was the movie where Sandler proved he could pull off dramatic acting. In the 2002 film, Sandler plays a businessman with a violent temper who falls in love with his sister’s coworker played by Emily Watson.
Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a jeweler and gambling addict who gets caught up in debt. The 2019 film is considered by some to be the best performance of Sandler’s career.
Sandler was close to Farley, who died tragically at 33 from a drug overdose in 1997. More than twenty years after his death, Sandler still gets emotional when he sings the “Chris Farley Song.” He performed the song in his Netflix special, “Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh,” and in May 2019 as host on “Saturday Night Live.”
While Farley steals the show here, Sandler plays the perfect sidekick, a woman who works at The Gap, watches too much Court TV and nearly breaks when Farley can’t stick to a diet.
In a 2022 appearance by Conan O’Brien on Howard Stern’s SiriusXm show, the comedian shared what is was like being Sandler’s neighbor in Los Angeles.
“No one just goes to someone else’s house and knock on the door,” he said, adding that Sandler will stand outside the gate at his home yelling “Coney! Coney!”
In his 2018 Netflix special, Sandler plays music, invites his English bulldog on stage and brings viewers to tears. It’s a masterpiece.
In this 1996 film, Sandler played Happy Gilmore, a man-boy who wants to be a professional hockey player. When his grandmother faces losing her home, Happy joins a golf tournament to try to save her house.
In this 1998 classic, Sandler plays Robbie, a wedding singer, who falls for Julia, a waitress, played by Drew Barrymore. But both are engaged to different people.
Sandler plays a waterboy for a college football team who gets a shot to join the team. At the time, the comedy opened in first place at the box office.
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor honoring Adam Sandler airs on CNN Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. ET.