News & Politics

PHOTOS: Adam Sandler and Other Stars at the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Gala

Jennifer Aniston, Judd Apatow, Drew Barrymore, and Chris Rock were among those spotted at the Kennedy Center.

Adam Sandler. Photograph by Dan Swartz.
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Party photographer Dan Swartz’s diary of bashes, benefits, and galas.

Comedic royalty descended upon the Kennedy Center last night for the 24th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebrating this year’s recipient: Adam Sandler.

With a career spanning nearly four decades and boasting Grammy, Emmy, and Golden Globe award nominations, the Brooklyn-born performer has worked with an impressive group of comics, actors, and musicians. Many of them traveled to Washington, DC over the weekend to pay tribute to the creative force behind everything from “The Chanukah Song” to The Wedding Singer to The Waterboy, during a star-studded gala performance.

Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore poked fun at playing his on-screen love interests in multiple movies, while Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, Pete Davidson, Rob Schneider, and David Spade paid tribute to his breakout role on Saturday Night Live in the early ’90s. And Idina Menzel had the packed Concert Hall in stitches as she helped open the tribute program with a parody of Sandler’s “Opera Man” character.

The Mark Twain Prize “recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens” (aka Mark Twain). As a recipient of this year’s prize, Sandler will receive a copy of an 1884 bronze portrait bust of Mark Twain sculpted by Karl Gerhardt.

CNN will exclusively air a recording of last night’s performance on Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. ET. It will also stream live for pay TV subscribers via and CNN OTT/CNNgo.

Jackie Sandler, Adam Sandler, and daughter Sadie Sandler.
Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter and musician Peter Ellefson.
Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore.
Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi.
Chris Rock, Dana Carvey, and Pete Davidson.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Jose Lopez.
Ben Stiller.
David Rubenstein, Chairman of the Boards of the Kennedy Center, and Caryn Zucker.
Marie Sheppard and event chair Dale LeFebvre.
Judd Apatow.
Netflix Films Chairman Scott Stuber and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
Chairman and CEO of CNN Chris Licht.
Jackie Sandler and Adam Sandler.
Jennifer Tapper and Jake Tapper.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Idina Menzel as “Opera Man.”
Nikki Glaser and Ian Fidance.
Jackie Sandler waves to fans upon entering the Kennedy Center.
Drew Barrymore.
Nancy and Paul Pelosi speak with Steve Buscemi and Karen Ho.
Bret Baier and Amy Baier.
Honoree Adam Sandler enters the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center.
Conan O’Brien.
Rob Schneider and Patricia Azarcoya Schneider.
Abby Phillip and Marcus Richardson.
Kaitlan Collins.
David Spade.
Tinx (aka Christina Najjar).
Idina Menzel.
Ben Stiller greets Jackie and Adam Sandler.
Dana Carvey and Robert Smigel.
Michael Bearden provided music direction for the program.
Dan Bulla and Emily Bulla.
Adam Sandler gives his mom, Judith Sandler, a kiss on the cheek.
Steve Buscemi and Karen Ho.
Tim Herlihy.
Dana Bash and Jonah King.
Wolf Blitzer.
Luis Guzmán.
Sam Feist and Danielle Feist.
Phil Mattingly.
Patricia Azarcoya Schneider, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, and Karen Ho.
Ben Stiller greets Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi.
Dana Carvey adjusts his tie before walking the red carpet.