While the actor and comic received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center, Pete Davidson and Drew Barrymore were toasting and roasting him.
At the Kennedy Center on Sunday night, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Rock, and Pete Davidson were among the stars who toasted and roasted the star as he accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
“We all work hard, but nobody works as hard as the Sandman,” Rock, 58, who has known Sandler, 56, for 30 years, said during the ceremony.
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The comedian continued, “Nobody comes even close, so the Oscars, you know, are f—– a——-, and if they don’t want to give my man his props, then we will see tonight.” The comedian was referring to how his friend’s 2019 film Uncut Gems was not nominated for an Oscar.
Rock also used the occasion to call attention to his own Oscars moment, in which Will Smith slapped him onstage, by yelling out Paul Pelosi, the spouse of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was attacked in the couple’s San Francisco home last year.
“Paul Pelosi, the only guy who knows how I felt,” Rock said, drawing laughter from Sandler and the rest of the audience. “Just me and you, Paul. Just me and you, babe.”
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Aniston, 54, and Drew Barrymore, who has portrayed Sandler’s on-screen love interests, performed a performance in which they took turns listing all the different things that Sandler had done for each of them over the years. Most of the things they listed ended up being the same. They then made a jest about working together in a film without Sandler.
“We should do that movie that you and I have been talking about,” Aniston said, to which Barrymore, 48, responded: “You mean the one where we don’t need that goofy boyfriend?”
Barrymore was questioned about her on-screen rapport with Sandler on the red carpet.
“It’s all based on love, admiration, and humor. I always believed in him so much, not that my opinion matters, but I felt like this was the guy. This is the one. All of us women were so in love with him on SNL,” she said. “I was so there for what Adam Sandler was putting out into the world that I wanted to be next to it. I wanted someplace to express my admiration, and I thought a film was the safest and cathartic place to do it.”
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Rob Schneider did his rendition of Sandler’s song “Grow Old With You” from the 1998 film The Wedding Singer. Sandler’s other friends also joked about the former Saturday Night Live adorably cast member.
“Nobody gave Adam Sandler his success. Adam earned this through his hard work in a really tough business, show business,” he said. “People ask me why Adam put me in so many movies. And it’s because he wants to laugh and share his tremendous success with his friends, plus I will do humiliating s— that he won’t do.”
“Adam is a very generous guy,” David Spade added. “He has hired his whole family tree to work for him. The call sheet looks like Ancestry.com.”
Meanwhile, Davidson, 29, called Sandler his “hero” and said that the star-studded cast was there to commemorate him and remind everyone of “how much better SNL was in the ’90s.”
Davidson informed the audience that he tried out for Sandler’s 1999 film Big Daddy but was rejected, as scenes from his classic comedies like Happy Gilmore and clips from his time on Saturday Night Live were interspersed throughout the entire ceremony.
“Thank God I didn’t get it because I can’t even handle fame now, so imagine what that would have been like. The Suite Life of Pete and Pete,” he said, referring to Dylan and Cole Sprouse, who scored and shared the Big Daddy role and their popular Disney TV series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
Judd Apatow, Dana Carvey, and Conan O’Brien praised their comic buddy.
When Sandler finally took the award, he was beaming and thanked his close friends and family for attending to celebrate his success.
“Everybody was great. I love you, and thanks for working so hard on all of your stuff and writing your very great jokes, and I love tonight,” he said.
Sandler added that his family had given him the confidence and support he required to succeed.
“When it came time to pick my college major, my brother was the one who said I should be an actor. I said, ‘Well, what will I do with my life?’ He said, ‘You should be an actor. You’re as funny as Rodney Dangerfield and Eddie Murphy.’ And I never thought that, but he made me feel like I was,” he said. “And that’s what my family did for me. They gave me some insane, weird confidence about myself that I still carry today.”
He added, “I feel like everyone who came and spoke up there, I think we all truly love each other. We have each other’s backs for life. People always would ask me those bad reviews you get, how does that make you feel, like s—? It doesn’t. I think I get to say it didn’t hurt me because so many of you guys in this room made me feel great about what we’ve done together.”