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Steve Buscemi Revealed the Reason He and Adam Sandler Work Together So Much

Photo Credit: Ben Gabbe / Getty Images for The Webby Awards
Photo Credit: Ben Gabbe / Getty Images for The Webby Awards

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 

Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler in a still from Airheads (1994).
Scene from the film Airheads. (Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox / Carlito / MovieStills DB)

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’

Steve Buscemi and Adam Sandler in a publicity still from the film, The Wedding Singer.
The Wedding Singer (1998). (Photo Credit: New Line Cinema / Zayne / MovieStills DB)

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.”

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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.” 

Ryan McLachlan

Ryan McLachlan is a historian and content writer for Hive Media. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History and Classical Studies and his Master of Arts in History from the University of Western Ontario. Ryan’s research focused on military history, and he is particularly interested in the conflicts fought by the United Kingdom from the Napoleonic Wars to the Falklands War.

Ryan’s other historical interests include naval and maritime history, the history of aviation, the British Empire, and the British Monarchy. He is also interested in the lives of Sir Winston Churchill and Admiral Lord Nelson. Ryan enjoys teaching, reading, writing, and sharing history with anyone who will listen.

In his spare time, he enjoys watching period dramas such as Murdoch Mysteries and Ripper Street and also enjoys reading classical literature and Shakespeare. He also plays football and is an afternoon tea connoisseur.