Erik Carter for The Washington Post
On Sunday, March 19, Tisch Drama alumnus Adam Sandler (Class of 1988), was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Awarded since 1998, the prestigious prize honors individuals who have had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th-century writer Samuel Clemens, best known as Mark Twain. The Kennedy Center described Clemens as “a fearless observer of society” with an “uncompromising perspective on social injustice and personal folly.” Previous winners of the prize include Steve Martin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eddie Murphy, and Carol Burnett.
As a student in the Department of Drama, Sandler attended the Lee Strasberg Institute and was a comedy club regular where he honed his craft. He eventually joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990. In addition to his stand-up comic career, Sandler is an actor, filmmaker, and singer.
In a recent Washington Post article Sandler recalled his time at NYU in the Drama Department. He enrolled in 1984 and met Tim Herlihy while setting up his room in Brittany Hall. Sandler told Herlihy he wanted to be a comedian, and the first weekend they met, they began working together. Herlihy has been a regular writing partner ever since, along with fellow NYU students Frank Coraci, who was studying film, and drama student Allen Covert. These members of his "NYU team," as Sandler called his fellow alumni during keynote remarks at Tisch Salute in May 2022, remained essential collaborators after their time at Washington Square.
The celebrity-attended Mark Twain Prize ceremony honoring Sandler will be broadcast on March 26th at 8:00pm on CNN.