On March 19, 2023, Adam Sandler was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Named in honor of the 19th-century author and humorist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, the award is given to an individual in recognition of their impact on American society through their work.
At a gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, many comedians, actors, and friends joined Sandler to celebrate. Featuring some of the biggest names in comedy, guests included Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Conan O’Brian, Dana Carvey, Pete Davidson, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, Idina Menzel, David Spade, and Steve Buscemi.
Costars since 1994
Sandler and Buscemi have both had lengthy movie careers. Sandler’s filmography has largely focused on comedies, such as the ever-popular Happy Gilmore (1996), while Buscemi’s work has been more varied since the 1980s. He’s played hard-hitting characters like Tony Blundetto in The Sopranos and Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire in addition to roles in comedy films and shows. The one thing that Buscemi and Sandler have in common is that they both seem to love to work together.
Buscemi and Sandler have appeared in many films together over the years, including titles such as Airheads, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Hotel Transylvania, Summer Vacation, Grown Ups, and Hubie Halloween.
‘I’m in heaven. I love it’
Buscemi took to the stage at the Kennedy Center gala to talk about working with Sandler. He quickly joked that he wasn’t sure how many people had spoken before him because “it all blends together–kinda like Adam’s movies.”
Continuing, he said that he “was a serious actor before I met you, man! I did edgy indies. Have you ever tried that? I’m not talking about playing yourself in Unedited Gems,” a sly reference to Sandler’s 2019 crime thriller, Uncut Gems (2019). Buscemi quipped, “The whole time I was watching it, I was thinking, ‘Stay in your lane, Waterboy.’”
His speech then turned to a more serious note when he thanked Sandler for all he’s done. “I love you, Adam, nobody makes me laugh like you, and nobody has taken better care of me in this business than you,” he said. He added that he was not alone in feeling this gratitude, as Sandler does this for all of his friends – or as Buscemi said it, all “the guys you came up with.”
Describing how much fun it is to work with Sandler, Buscemi said, “I love when you scream… at me off camera, like funny things to say, and I just try to say them like you, and then when I hear you laugh at the funny thing you told me to say I’m in heaven. I love it.”
Buscemi concluded by sharing the reason he enjoys collaborating with Sandler. “For me, the best part of working with Adam is just getting to hang out with you, man. Congratulations, Adam. You are deservedly getting this award for your legendary career, and knowing you, your talent, and your big heart, the best is yet to come.”