Adam Sandler seemed like a guy who stumbled into fame. He wasn’t the slickest of comics. His time on MTV’s Remote Control wasn’t nearly as impacting as Dennis Leary. He eventually got the big phone call to join the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1991 (although he’d worked as writer the season before). He clicked with a comic pack including David Spade, Chris Farley, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider. For the most part he was a supporting player in sketches. He was a featured player for three years and only a top level cast member for two seasons. He didn’t get much time with America wanting more Farley, less filling. This explains why so many of the bits on Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler are solo shots from Weekend Update.
“Christmas Song” is his tribute to the Christian holiday. Not quite as good as his other season song. “Gap Girls” puts him in drag with the rest of the boys. A youthful Alec Baldwin drops into the store. “Schmitts Gay” is one of the best ad spoofs from this era. A beer ad featuring a major twist when the Adam and Chris get their sudsy fantasy at a backyard pool. “Opera Man #1″ is his singing weekend update character who makes fun of Tammy Faye Baker and celebrities in the news using faux Italian. It’s funny the first time, but this special gives us three more visits with the guy. “Canteen Boy” makes Sandler a socially inept boy scout that is OCD about his canteen. Alec Baldwin is the creepy scout master with a hairy chest.
“Hanukkah Song” makes sure that each year we hear Sandler on the radio for eight crazy nights. This caught on better than his “Christmas Song.” “The Denise Show” lets him be a psychotic guy hosting a show all about his ex-girlfriend (Shannon Doherty). Very funny in a stalker way and predicts the numerous youtube sites that do this. “Springsteen” interrupts Courtney Cox’s opening monologue for the Boss (Sandler) to remind her of being in his video. “Room Service” checks Kirstie Alley and Kevin Nealon into a fancy hotel in Rome. The staff (Sandler, Rob Schneider, Chris Farley, and Mike Meyers) are all hands with Kirstie. This was done before Kirstie became the star of Fat Actress so it’s not that gross. “Zagat” makes Chris Farley a middle-aged woman and Sandler as her crabby husband. She goes through the Zagat’s restaurant guide. She gets excited about words and Sandler complains. Sandler keeps spending most of the sketch with a smile on his face. It kills the atmosphere. “Cajun Man” is another Weekend Update character using the accent from The Waterboy. All his words end with a “tion.”
“Lunch Lady Song” is another musical moment. Farley drags up as the character to make it fun. Sarah Silverman pops up in the background. This is one of the few pieces of proof that she was on the series. “Grandma” straps him in support hose to play the elderly. Her grandkids are played by Michael Keaton and Farley. Keaton needs Farley to keep any eye on her so he can get busy with a date. She only wants Keaton’s help. It grinds on way too long. “Halloween Costumes” is from Weekend Update. Sandler gives tips on low cost costumes. It gets annoying fast. This is not an E. Buzz Miller part 2. “The Herlihy Boy” is an ad for a house-sitting service. He’s desperate for the job. Farley is the dad who wants his son to water your plants. “Iraq Pete” is another Weekend Update character from Sandler. He’s like the Iron Sheik during his Saddam period. He gets the crowd to boo him with his pro-Iraq riffs.
Adam Sandler’s time on Saturday Night Live gives zero hint that he would become a huge comedy star in movies. The sketches aren’t close to being considered classic. His various Weekend Update characters beat to death one note jokes. At least he had his goofy songs to make sure he’s remembered around the holidays. Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler presents Sandler like a football player that didn’t have a major college career, but became an NFL legend. Nobody can accuse Sandler of creatively peaking too soon.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The video transfer is fine for a series shot in standard def. The detail lets you see how Sandler went from scrawny runt to a beefier guy at the end of his run. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo.
Extra Sketches include “Canteen Boy Monologue” with Alec Baldwin explains the anger out of the earlier sketch. The redo the sketch to make things more appealing to the outraged. “Thanksgiving Song” and “Red Hooded Sweatshirt (Valentine’s Day Song)” give him more holiday songs. There’s two more Weekend Update visits from “Cajun Man” and Sandler’s bad tips for “Halloween Costumes.”
Photos are dozen snaps from the production.
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler is truly for the devoted who set their Tivo to record every showing of Happy Gilmore on the weekends. The fact that so much of this special is taken over by his Weekend Update characters doesn’t speak well for his legacy. Watching a full show of him exposes his inability to keep a straight face during a sketch. He’s almost as bad as Horatio Sanz in keeping in character. If you didn’t know about his Hollywood career, it’d be easy to predict Sandler would have Chris Kattan’s future. This collection is essential for anyone who adores all of Sandler’s holiday songs. Now you have something to play during Hanukkah.
Lionsgate Entertainment presents Saturday Nigh Live: The Best of Adam Sandler. Starring: David Spade, Chris Farley, Alec Baldwin and Adam Sandler. Running Time: 75 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: September 28, 2010.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.