Story Corps

Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston and Chris Rock were among the actors and comedians in Washington, D.C. this weekend to celebrate Adam Sandler.

Sandler received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Sunday night.

In the 1990s, Sandler worked with number of now-famous comedians and actors on Saturday Night Live. Conan O'Brien is among them. At the ceremony, he poked fun at Sandler's loyalty — he often works with the same team of writers and actors.

"A lot of amazing. amazing people have flown to D.C. to say nice things about Adam Sandler. But have you asked yourself why so many of Adam's friends were available to speak tonight? I'll tell you why. Cause when Adam isn't working, they're not working," O'Brien joked.

Robert Smigel, who also met Sandler on SNL, weighed in on his brand of comedy. "He's a creative genius. When he started at SNL, he was a complete original, so much so that half the crew had no idea what he was doing," Smigel said on the red carpet before the show. "Older people on the staff kind of thought he was just dumb. Because he sounded dumb. Because his voices sound dumb. But he's one of the smartest guys and one of the most precise guys I've ever worked with."

Sandler created misfit characters like the creepy kid looking for house-sitting jobs and opera man. He's also known for his funny songs, like Lunchlady Land. Steve Buscemi and Dana Carvey actually broke into song, singing a line from Lunchlady Land ("Sloppy Joe, Sloppy Sloppy Joe") on the red carpet.

After SNL, Sandler went on to make a lot of movies: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Longest Yard, Punch Drunk Love and Uncut Gems among them.

Buscemi has appeared in several of Sandler's films. He took to the stage — and noted what Sandler has meant for his career: "Nobody makes me laugh like you and nobody has taken better care of me in this business than you. He does this for all his friends. He's done this for so many people.... But for me, I think the best part of working with Adam, with you, is just getting to hang out with you, man."

Drew Barrymore, who has also worked with Sandler in films, is a big fan of his goofball energy. Before the show, she said "Adam can go to the farthest depths but somehow he does it without alienating people and that is a true art, as far as comedy is concerned."

Sandler's comedies have alienated some critics over the years, but they've also grossed more than $3 billion worldwide.

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor airs on CNN on March 26.

Meghan Collins Sullivan edited this piece for radio and the web.

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