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Adam Sandler to Receive 2023 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

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Adam Sandler is set to receive the 2023 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on March 19, 2023 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington, D.C.

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Sandler, who was a cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live from 1991 to 1995, is the seventh former cast member of that long-running show to receive the honor, a sign of its profound influence on American comedy. He follows Billy Crystal, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In addition, Lorne Michaels, who created the show, received the honor in 2004.

“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.”

Over the past 30 years, Sandler has enjoyed success as a comedian, actor, writer, producer, and musician. His films, including Grown Ups, Big Daddy, The Longest Yard and The Waterboy, have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide.

Sandler’s work has been recognized with nine People’s Choice Awards, five MTV Movie Awards and 10 Kids Choice Awards. He has also been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, four Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards. 

Sandler has also made his mark on the Billboard charts. His first two comedy albums, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! and What the Hell Happened to Me? each logged more than a year on the Billboard 200. Three of his albums – What the Hell Happened to Me?, What’s Your Name? and Stan and Judy’s Kid – have made the top 20 on that chart. His “The Chanukah Song” has been a holiday perennial since its release in 1995.

Previous recipients of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize are Richard Pryor (1998), Jonathan Winters (1999), Carl Reiner (2000), Whoopi Goldberg (2001), Bob Newhart (2002), Lily Tomlin (2003), Lorne Michaels (2004), Steve Martin (2005), Neil Simon (2006), Billy Crystal (2007), George Carlin (2008), Bill Cosby (2009; rescinded in 2018), Tina Fey (2010), Will Ferrell (2011), Ellen DeGeneres (2012), Carol Burnett (2013), Jay Leno (2014), Eddie Murphy (2015), Bill Murray (2016), David Letterman (2017), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (2018), Dave Chappelle (2019) and Jon Stewart (2022).

The event was created by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and John Schreiber. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the nation’s busiest performing arts facility. It hosts more than 2,000 performances for audiences totaling nearly 2 million annually.

Sponsorship packages for the Mark Twain Prize gala performance, which start at $1,300 and include a pre-performance reception, gala performance tickets, and a post-performance celebration, are on sale now and can be reserved online or through the Development Office by emailing mtp@kennedy-center.org. Information about limited sales of performance-only tickets will be made available at a later date.

Performance tickets will be available at the Kennedy Center Box Office, online at kennedy-center.org, and via phone through Instant Charge, (202) 467-4600; toll-free at (800) 444-1324. For all other ticket-related customer service inquires, call the Advance Sales Box Office at (202) 416-8540.

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