A slew of famous names lamented the “awake” state that has made comedy a “taboo subject” as they gathered at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night to honor Adam Sandler with the Mark Twain Prize for Humor.
Sandler, 56, recognized how difficult it is to make people laugh.
“Comedians try to make you laugh, and that’s what the goal is,” he told DailyMail.com on the red carpet, adding, “Yeah, it’s more hypersensitive than ever, but it’ll be fine.”
And Drew Barrymore, who co-starred with Sandler in “The Wedding Singer” and “50 First Dates,” said, “Comedy in general has become a taboo subject and that in itself scares me. But I just want to appreciate people brave enough to make us laugh.”
“Anything, you know, in a moment can be something that evokes a sense of vitriol or aversion or disgust. I don’t even think Gotcha has a chance of being a Gotcha. It’s like too soon a moment. People turn on each other,” she added.
Adam Sandler, above with wife Jackie, was honored with the Mark Twain Prize
Best known for his time in “Saturday Night Live” and a slew of comedy films, Sandler was honored by a host of his celebrity friends on Sunday night, including Jennifer Aniston, Judd Apatow, Steve Buscemi, Conan O’Brien, Chris Rock and David Spade, Dana Carvey, Luis Guzmán, Tim Herlihy, Idina Menzel, Rob Schneider, and Ben Stiller.
“In these waking times we live in the only person who wouldn’t win the Mark Twain Prize was Mark Twain. He had questionable material,” Spade said during the shoot.
The show started with Sandler roasting — including a skit where Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore “found out” that Sandler was courting them to make movies with him using the same song.
Sandler’s wife Jackie joined in the prank. As Aniston and Barrymore bickered about how each of them got the number, she exclaimed, “Me too!”
The couple’s daughters, Sadie, 16, and Sunny, 14, were also in attendance.
All the artists shared stories of working with Sandler and mocked his dress sense.
Menzel joked that Sandler almost didn’t make it to the ceremony because he had a “dress code.”
Sandler, who earned “fashion icon” status for his uniform of sweatpants and a baggy T-shirt, donned a suit and tie for the occasion – but the jacket fell to mid-thighs and the trousers were too long.
“I don’t like the suit, but everything else is exciting,” he said of the awards ceremony.
But in his acceptance speech, he thanked his friends.
“All the time I listened to you, I was dealing with gratitude that the original people Kennedy Center asked to come couldn’t come,” he said.
Comedians Chris Rock (left), Dana Carvey (center), and Pete Davidson (right) were among those honoring Sandler
Actress Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore paid tribute to Sandler
Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul Pelosi talk to Steve Buscemi, right, as they arrive for the Mark Twain Prize
Politics came late in the shooting.
Judd Apatow, who was Sandler’s roommate when the comedian first started, showed Sandler’s fake ID from that time — from Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.
“This is his Joe Biden Delaware fake ID,” he said with a laugh. “According to the date of birth, Adam is now 60 years old.”
Dana Carvey, who burst onto the national scene with his impersonation of President George HW Bush, really got the political jokes rolling.
He pointed out Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi in the audience. He made fun of his impersonation of Paul Pelosi, which he said he did at an event with Napa Valley that Paul attended.
“Paul stood up for a very long time and we had an exchange. And later you beat me up,” he said as the Pelosis laughed.
“Anyway, I’m in DC. I feel like I have to do some politics,” the comedian continued.
He gave his impressions of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, including references to Trump’s social media post that he will be arrested on Tuesday. Carvey said in Trump’s voice, “Don’t read me my rights because I wrote the rights.” I did the rights.’
Before the show, Carvey acknowledged that making fun of people has become more serious and requires more care.
“It’s definitely more serious. You know, I tried to do Biden’s so stupid that no one could be offended. But I feel we should throw stones at the king. He is the most powerful man on earth. So we have to do some satire,’ he said.
“It’s much more serious than it was with Jimmy Carter, Reagan, George Bush, Clinton,” he added.
But it was Chris Rock who really brought the house down with political humor.
Rock warned that arresting Donald Trump would make him “more popular” and slammed the crowd of Washington DC insiders watching him, asking “are you stupid.”
He also mockingly defended the former president, saying it was “romantic” that he paid a porn star so Melania Trump wouldn’t find out he was cheating on her.
And he took a hit against President Joe Biden, who said he had come back from the dead to be president.
Comedian David Spade (above) was one of many to honor Adam Sandler
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attended the event at the Kennedy Center
Rock turned his fire on Trump rather than Sandler during his remarks.
“Are you really going to arrest Trump?” he asked the crowd, which included lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi and officials of the Biden administration.
“Do you know that this is only going to make him more popular? It’s like arresting Tupac. He’s just going to sell more records. Are you stupid?,” Rock continued as the crowd roared with laughter.
He told Trump “f****** a porn star and paid someone so his wife couldn’t find out.” That’s romantic.’
“We’ve all been cheated. Don’t you want the person who cheated on you to pay someone so you wouldn’t find out?’ he added.
Rock referred to the fact Trump faces criminal charges for $130,000 payments his former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid to porn star Stormy Daniels towards the end of his 2016 campaign. Prosecutors say the payment violated campaign finance laws and was made to silence Daniels about an affair she was having with the mogul.
Trump denied ever having an affair. And over the weekend, he tweeted that he was willing to be arrested on Tuesday as he urged his supporters to “protest, protest, protest.”
President Joe Biden didn’t attend the ceremony, but it didn’t stop Rock from targeting the commander-in-chief and mocking the age of 80. Biden is the oldest president ever elected.
Trump was so bad as president, he was so bad Joe Biden had to tear down a monument. Biden was dead for 16 years,” he said, provoking more laughter in the packed room.
And Rock yelled at Paul Pelosi, who was in the audience next to Nancy Pelosi.
Paul Pelosi only got it. He knows how I felt,” he said.
Conan O’Brien walked the red carpet ahead of filming
Ben Stiller greets Adam Sandler prior to the show
Rob Schneider and Patricia Schneider at the Mark Twain Prize
Idina Menzel joked that Adam Sandler almost didn’t come to the Kennedy Center because of the dress code
Sandler has long had a place on the American comedy stage.
He first gained national attention as a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live’.
He then had a successful film career that spanned more than 30 films, grossing more than $3 billion worldwide, including films like ‘Happy Gilmore’ and ‘The Wedding Singer’.
Named in honor of one of the world’s greatest humorists, the Mark Twain Prize recognizes individuals who have impacted American society in a manner similar to the eminent 19th-century novelist Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain.
Other comedians who received the Lifetime Achievement Award include Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, and Dave Chapelle.
Sandler is the seventh “SNL” cast member to receive the award, along with Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Will Farrell, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy and Julia Louise-Dreyfus. Show creator Lorne Michaels won in 2004.
The ceremony, filmed at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night, will be broadcast nationwide on CNN on March 26.