Idina Menzel Sings That Adam Sandler Makes Her 'Proud to be a Jew' at Mark Twain Awards – Kveller
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Idina Menzel Sings That Adam Sandler Makes Her ‘Proud to be a Jew’ at Mark Twain Awards

Menzel's ode to her "Uncut Gems" co-star was one of the many highlights of the star-studded night.


via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Adam Sandler was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Whether you’re comfortable with admitting to the genius in his humor or not, one thing is for sure — the Jewish actor has forever changed the face of American comedy with his movies, raunchy stand-up and iconic “Saturday Night Live” skits. And that’s not to mention how he changed Hanukkah music forever with “The Chanukah Song.”

Before he went up on stage at D.C.’s Kennedy Center to accept the award, Sandler was hailed by his “Uncut Gems” co-star Idina Menzel with a rousing song preformed in the style of Sandler’s famous SNL weekend correspondent, Opera Man. Since Menzel, who is about to star in Sandler’s upcoming “You’re So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” already has long dark hair, she didn’t need the wig — but she did wear a satin cape and waved around a little white handkerchief. She even had a crew of backup a cappella singers wearing the red and black cape to help with the extras oh! and ahs! at the end of every line of the excellent song.

The song compares Twain, the originator of the award, with Sandler’s comedy contributions, with lines like, “Signore Twain write the classic-ah book-aaaahs/ Sandman puts fishies in his tuches,” which came with a graphic visual of the latter on the screen behind the “Frozen” singer.

Along with that little bit of Yiddish, the song had a bunch of Jewish mentions. “Stiller, Apatow, so many Jews-ah,” she sang, referring to Sandler’s friends and collaborators Ben Stiller and Judd Apatow, who were in the crowd, finishing the line with, “Kanye switches channel to Fox News-ah.” (Too bad Jonah Hill wasn’t there.)

Menzel sang about how the actor went “from Stan and Judy’s little beauty,” referring to the actor’s Jewish parents, before hitting it big. Yet the most exciting part was when Menzel belted out that Sandler made her “proud to be a Jeeeeeeeew!” with a picture of Sandler and his sister lighting a menorah on screen, Sandler sporting a yarmulke on his adorable keppie.

She ended the song with a very loud and wonderfully schmaltzy, “Adam, we love yooooooou.”

Menzel’s tribute wasn’t the only musical ode of the night — nor the only Jewish moment. Fellow Jewish dad and actor Ben Stiller got on stage to celebrate his friend, but ended up mostly (lovingly) kvetching about how the two get compared. Stiller also complained about Sandler’s well-known “Chanukah Song,” which, he told the crowd, “my daughter forces us all to listen to after we light the candles every year… it’s that Adam magic,” he conceded.

He posited, “I bet if a different Jewish comedic actor wrote a way edgier song about, let’s say, Yom Kippur, his representatives would call it embarrassing and beg him not to release it.”

He then started singing the proposed ditty for the somber Jewish Day of Atonement. “It’s time to atone / So let’s get in the zone,” he started singing to a laughing crowd, then continued to the next R-rated line referencing his iconic scene in “There’s Something About Mary”: “Got my dick caught in my zipper / And now it is Yom Kippur.”

Would we want to hear this entire song? I’m gonna take a risk and say yes. Get on it, Ben Stiller.

The evening was, obviously, full of jokes — with a song from Dana Carvey, a speech from Conan O’Brien and an ode from Chris Rock. But a touching moment occurred when Sandler forwent the traditional fake Southern accent he uses in acceptance speeches and talked about his Jewish family while accepting the award.

He first apologized to his mother, Judy, who was in the crowd. “I’ve been making jokes about my mother for many years but she’s a great lady and I’m sorry if any of them ever hurt your feelings, Mom,” Sandler said as his curly haired, bright eyed mom looked on at him.

Sandler said that the secret to his success was his supportive family — his “sweet, beautiful” mom who played him Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis while growing up, and his ponytailed cool father, Stan, who introduced him to Johnny Cash, Johnny Ray and the Marx Brothers. Stan passed away in 2003.

“My parents literally did everything they could to give me crazy confidence at everything I did,” he said, adding that his two sisters, Elizabeth and Valerie, included him in everything, and his older brother, Scott, took him to his first open mic and told him that he was as good a singer as Steven Tyler and as funny as Rodney Dangerfield. Sandler said that without the abundant amount of confidence they gave him, he would not be where he is.

He recalled the best night of his life was when he met his wife, Jackie, at a party, lauding her for being sweet, gorgeous and nice, but also for telling him that he was great at everything he did.

Sandler also paid tribute to his two daughters and future co-stars, Sadie and Sunny (who, in case you didn’t know, create amazing Jewish Taylor Swift parodies), saying they give him confidence every year on his birthday when they gift him a “world’s best farter” shirt.

In talking about his daughters, Sandler captured something all of us parents can relate to. Looking lovingly up at his progeny, who he called “the life-changers” and “the true best things,” he said that “every conversation, every day, every night, every drive, every meal, every smile, every hang we have, I’m only wishing time would stand still, because being with you two and Mommy, that’s the best life can get.”

I’m not crying, etc. etc.

“Thank you for creating a delusional psychotic man,” he later joked.

Thank you for the laughs — and the feelings — Adam Sandler. You really make us proud to be Jews.

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