Chris Rock Roasts the Oscars and Praises Adam Sandler at Mark Twain Prize Ceremony
Chris Rock paid tribute to this year’s Mark Twain Prize for Humor recipient Adam Sandler at the Kennedy Center, and managed to tell a few more slap jokes in the process.
“Before I start, Paul Pelosi the only guy who knows how I felt,” Rock quipped to uproarious laughter at the ceremony, which was taped March 19 and aired on CNN Sunday. “Just me and you, Paul! Just me and you, babe!”
Rock then regaled the crowd with a story about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s and being one of only three Black kids at his school. “How many times do you think a kid asked me to hang out at his house after school?” Rock asked the audience. “Once. Once in like sixteen years,” said Rock. “David Moscowitz: the Jews, nice people.”
Rock then told the story of how he first met Sandler when both were aspiring comics. Rock recalls working at a club called The Comic Strip—stacking chairs and mopping floors—for two years before getting a coveted “weekend spot” at the New York institution. After leaving the Comic Strip for about ten days (“Eddie Murphy saw me at the club, flew me to LA,” said Rock, casually flexing), Rock returned to the club to find Sandler doing a Saturday night set. “I’ve never seen him before in my life, and we’re kind of the same age and he’s on on a weekend,” Rock says. “I’m like, ‘Who the fuck is this guy’?”
Despite his brewing jealousy, Sandler’s comedy won Rock over, particularly a basketball joke about Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game. “It’s like the funniest joke in the world,” Rock says. “I’m laughing so hard. I’m like, God damn’t this guy is good. Right away all that jealousy and hate and whatever, washed away.”
Like the expert comedian that he is, Rock then tied his relationship with Sandler back to his lonely grade school days. “[Sandler says] the greatest thing in the world to the guy that no one wanted to play with. Adam goes, ”Hey, we’re going over to my dorm wanna hang? And he’s been letting me hang ever since.”
Rock couldn’t help but end his tribute to Sandler with one more dig at the Oscars. “The Oscars are, you know, they’re fucking assholes,” Rock quipped, touching on both the slap and Sandler being snubbed for Hustle (and Uncut Gems, and Punch-Drunk Love). “If they don’t want to give my man his props, then we will tonight.”