“Just me and you, Paul,” Rock added, addressing the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was injured in an attack at the Pelosis’ home several months after Will Smith slapped Rock onstage at the Oscars.
Rock told the audience that he was sharing a few jokes that didn’t make it into his recent Netflix special, “Selective Outrage.” He was one of several comedians, actors and filmmakers who sang Sandler’s praises – in the case of Dana Carvey and Rob Schneider, literally. Rock’s full remarks, along with Sandler’s and several other stars’ including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Steve Buscemi, Luis Guzmán, Conan O’Brien and David Spade, will air nationally Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.
Nearly every speaker agreed that Sandler’s comedy isn’t highbrow, but that doesn’t make him unworthy of such an honor. They lauded his ability to work hard, make people laugh and care deeply about the people in his life.
“You’re not getting a different person on a different day,” Drew Barrymore told reporters. “He is absolutely Adam. He’s had the same people as his friends, coworkers, colleagues for 40-something years. … That says so much about someone (to have) sustaining friendships.”
Sandler stood, clapped and cheered heartily throughout the show as his longtime friends and colleagues delivered a combination of roasts and heartfelt sentiments about him.
“I think the reason (bad movie reviews) didn’t hurt me is because so many in this room have made me feel good about what we did together,” Sandler said, adding that all the important people in his life “make me feel like the critics didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.”
Adam Sandler considered wearing basketball shorts to the Mark Twain Prize
Sandler has become an unlikely fashion icon – his uniform of a baggy t-shirt or Hawaiian shirt and even baggier basketball shorts have sparked memes and “Dress Like Adam Sandler Days” at schools across the country.
The comedian told USA TODAY he hoped to wear basketball shorts for the occasion, but that idea was quickly shut down.
“I almost wore basketball shorts tonight in honor of him,” said influencer Tinx, who cites Sandler as one of her biggest fashion inspirations.
Sandler’s clothing choices became fodder for a slew of jokes during the show: “He almost no-showed when he heard there was a dress code” (“Uncut Gems” co-star Idina Menzel), “even the front window mannequin at a Bass Pro Shops dresses better” (Buscemi), “He’s a fashionista, they say, but I say he’s a slob” (Sandler’s mother, Judy Sandler), “he starred in ‘Billy Madison’ and dresses like Billie Eilish (Spade).
His wife, Jackie Sandler, joked every time she lays out a sweater or suit to wear to a red carpet, her husband replies, ‘Babe, that will destroy my career.'”
Dana Carvey, David Spade talk cancel culture
“SNL” alum Carvey, who appeared in Rock’s Netflix special, told reporters on the red carpet that there’s “no such thing as too far” in comedy.
“If it was government-ordered that you had to watch it, you’d be allowed to be offended but if anyone happened on it, they could turn it off,” Carvey said. “But that was just pure, unadulterated Chris Rock brilliance. The entire thing, he was on point and that’s really difficult, what he did.”
Onstage, Spade joked that “in these woke times, the one person who wouldn’t win (the Mark Twain Prize) is Mark Twain.”
Can America take a joke? Yes. Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock incidents are part of a continuum, experts say
What you won’t see on TV
You’ll have to wait until next week to see the special in full, but these tidbits weren’t part of what will be broadcast:
- Drew Barrymore miming beating Rob Schneider with a baseball bat a la “50 First Dates” from the concert hall balcony.
- Pete Davidson, who attended last year with then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian, smiled and waved to his “King of Staten Island” director Judd Apatow from across the hall.
- Dana Carvey getting a reporter’s help turning the flash off on his phone so he could film a video for his podcast co-host, David Spade, to prove to him that someone listens to their show. (Carvey later began his campaign among reporters to get the Twain Prize himself next year.)
- Other notables in attendance: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash; Fox News’ Bret Baier, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos
- The after party featured a “Wedding Singer”-themed bar, complete with drinks named after Robbie Hart, Boy George and Julia Gulia.
‘People in prison need movies, too’:Adam Sandler roasts himself, Ben Stiller at Gotham Awards
‘We want to be heard’:Why comedians make intimate comedy specials