A slew of famous names bemoaned the ‘woke’ 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, acknowledged how tough it is to make people laugh.
‘Comedians are trying to make you laugh, and that’s that’s what the goal is,’ he told DailyMail.com on the red carpet, adding: ‘Yeah, it’s it’s more hypersensitive than it’s ever been but we’re gonna be alright.’
And Drew Barrymore, who 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 who are brave enough to make us laugh.’
‘Everything, you know, in a moment can be something that creates a sentiment of vitriol or distaste or dislike. I don’t even think gotcha has a chance to be a gotcha. It’s like too fast instant. People are turning on each other,’ she added.
Adam Sandler, above with his wife Jackie, was honored with Mark Twain Prize
Sandler, best known for his time on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and a slew of comedy films, was honored by a host of his famous 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 woke times we live in the one person who would not win the Mark Twain Prize was Mark Twain. He had some iffy material,’ Spade said during the taping.
The show started off with the roast of Sandler – including a skit where Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore ‘discovered’ that Sandler wooed them into doing movies with him with the same song.
Sandler’s wife Jackie got in on the joke. As Aniston and Barrymore squabbled about how each of them got the song, she yelled out: ‘Me too!’
The couple’s daughters, Sadie, 16, and Sunny, 14, also were in attendance.
All the performers shared stories of working with Sandler and mocked his dress sense.
Menzel joked that Sandler almost didn’t attend the ceremony because if had a ‘dress code.’
Sandler, who was given a ‘fashion icon’ status for his uniform of sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, donned a suit and tie for the occasion – but the jacket went half-way down his thighs and the pants were too long.
‘The suit I don’t love but everything else is exciting,’ he said of the awards ceremony.
But, in his acceptance speech, he thanked his friends.
‘The whole time I was listening to you I was dealing with gratitude that the original people that Kennedy Center asked to come couldn’t make it,’ 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 with Steve Buscemi, right, as they arrive for the Mark Twain Prize
Politics came in late in the taping.
Judd Apatow, who was Sandler’s roommate when the comedian was first starting out, showed Sandler’s fake ID from the time – from Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.
‘This is his fake ID from Joe Biden Delaware,’ he said to laughs. ‘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 H.W. Bush, got the political jokes really rolling.
He pointed out Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi in the audience. He joked about his Paul Pelosi impersonation, which he said he did at an event with Napa Valley where Paul was present.
‘Paul stood up really tall and we had an exchange. And later on you kicked my ass,’ he said as the Pelosis laughed.
‘Anyway, I’m in DC. I feel like I should do some politics,’ the comedian continued.
He gave his impressions of Joe Biden and Donald Trump, including referencing Trump’s social media post 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 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 silly that no one could be offended. But I feel like we have to throw rocks at the king. He is the most powerful man on the earth. So we got to do some satire,’ he said.
‘It’s way more serious than it was with Jimmy Carter, Reagan, George Bush, Clinton,’ he added.
But it was Chris Rock who really brought down the house with political humor.
Rock warned that arresting Donald Trump would make him ‘more popular’ and slammed the crowd of Washington D.C. insiders watching him, asking ‘are you stupid.’
He also mockingly defended the former president, saying it was ‘romantic’ he paid off a porn star so Melania Trump wouldn’t find out he cheated on her.
And he got in a hit at President Joe Biden, saying he came back from the dead to be president.
Comedian David Spade (above) was one of the many who honored Adam Sandler
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attended the event at the Kennedy Center
Rock, during his remarks, focused his fire on Trump instead of on Sandler.
‘Are you guys really going to arrest Trump?,’ he asked the crowd, which included lawmakers like Nancy Pelosi and officials in the Biden administration.
‘Do you know this is only going to make him more popular. It’s like arresting Tupac. He’s just gonna sell more records. Are you stupid?,’ Rock continued as the crowd roared with laughter.
He said Trump ‘f****** a porn star and paid off someone so his wife couldn’t find out. That’s romantic.’
‘We’ve all been cheated on. Don’t you wish that the person that cheated on you paid off somebody so you wouldn’t find out?’ he added.
Rock was referring to the fact Trump is set to face criminal charges for $130,000 payments his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid to porn star Stormy Daniels toward the end of his 2016 campaign. Prosecutors say the payment violated campaign finance laws, and was made to silence Daniels about an affair she had with the mogul.
Trump denied he ever had an affair. And, this weekend, he tweeted he was prepared 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 for targeting the commander-in-chief, making fun of the 80 year old’s age. Biden is the oldest president ever elected.
”Trump was so bad as a president, he was so bad that Joe Biden had to burst off a monument. Biden was dead for 16 years,’ he said, garnering more laughter from the packed auditorium.
And Rock gave a shoutout to Paul Pelosi, who was seated 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 the taping
Ben Stiller greets Adam Sandler ahead of the show
Rob Schneider and Patricia Schneider at the Mark Twain Prize
Idina Menzel joked 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 came to national attention as a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live.’
He then had a successful movie career that has spanned more than 30 films, grossing over $3 billion worldwide, including films like ‘Happy Gilmore’ and ‘The Wedding Singer.’
The Mark Twain Prize, which is named to honor one of the world’s greatest humorists, recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain.
Other comedians receiving 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, joining Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Will Farrell, Billy Crystal, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louise-Dreyfus. Show creator Lorne Michaels won in 2004.
The ceremony, filmed at the Kennedy Center on Sunday night, will be broadcast nationally on CNN on March 26.
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