It seemed unlikely that anyone would accept the Mark Twain Prize in sweatpants or basketball shorts. But to quote Twain himself, “May you always keep your youth.”

After a decades-long cold war with movie critics, which included a baffling snub after his performance in 2019’s Hidden Gems, New Hampshire’s own Adam Sandler has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

The event will be held in March at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall in Washington D.C. and broadcast at a later date.

Sandler is the 24th recipient of the award, according to Washington blog The Hill. Past recipients include Andover native and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno.

It’s an honor Sandler probably didn’t see coming in the summer of 1995, when he was unceremoniously fired from Saturday Night Live (which he later sang about when he finally agreed to host the show 24 years later).

At the time, Sandler was not the bankable movie star he is today, and it was after his departure that he broke out thanks to hits such as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Water Boy, as well as a more dramatic turn in Big Daddy.

While Sandler has shown his range as a dramatic lead in films such as Reign Over Me, it’s his surefire, “popcorn movie” Happy Madison films that continue to draw.

But, for whatever reason, it seems like critics can’t let one go by without carving it up as if it’s intended to be Shakespeare.

For now, though, Twain will do. And like a clown at a mini-golf course, Adam Sandler gets the last laugh.

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