In March, Sandler will be presented with the prize, which is bestowed on “individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain.”
“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 Rutter said. “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.”
Sandler will be gifted a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt as 2023’s recipient.
Some of the famous past recipients are Dave Chappelle, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Martin, Will Ferrell, Billy Crystal, Tina Fey, and Bill Murray.
Bill Cosby received the prestigious prize in 2009, but it was rescinded in 2018 after the comedian was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against a woman. The move to rescind the honor was a first for the center.
Sandler will be the 24th recipient of the prize, which was first given in 1998 to Richard Pryor.
The center noted that the comedian’s films have grossed over $3 billion worldwide. The star is best known for classic comedies such as The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, Anger Management, Billy Madison, 50 First Dates, and Grown Ups.
Some of Sandler’s upcoming projects include Netflix films Spaceman of Bohemia, Murder Mystery 2, and You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah.