(The Hill) – Adam Sandler is poised to receive one of the country’s top comedy awards in front of a Washington crowd. The 56-year-old “Billy Madison” star is the 24th winner of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Kennedy Center announced on Tuesday.
The award from the D.C. performing arts institution “recognizes individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century novelist and essayist Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain.” “Adam Sandler has entertained audiences for over three decades with his films, music, and his tenure as a fan favorite cast member on [‘Saturday Night Live’],” Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter said in a statement announcing the selection. “Adam has created characters that have made us laugh, cry, and cry from laughing,” Rutter said.
Past recipients of the Mark Twain Prize include Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Letterman, Bill Murray and Jay Leno, among others. Winners of the award have also been known to make stops at the White House ahead of the ceremony in recent years. In 2016, Murray surprised reporters with an appearance in the White House press briefing room. Carol Burnett, the 2013 Twain Prize recipient, also had an Oval Office visit with then-President Obama before being awarded the honor. The Mark Twain Prize will be presented at a March 19 gala at the Kennedy Center that will be broadcast at a later date.