For many of us who weren’t alive in the 1970s, when Steve Martin and George Carlin were revolutionizing comedy with A Wild and Crazy Guy and Class Clown, the first (and perhaps only) time we’ve paid for comedy in a record store was for They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!, Adam Sandler’s 1993 debut album. It came out when Sandler was at the peak of his SNL fame, and two years before he became mega-famous with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore.
But to people like me, i.e. males who still laugh at the sound of a toilet flushing, Sandler was already a comedy god, largely thanks to They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! It was, as they say, “potty humor,” but gleeful “potty humor,” with filthy set-ups, crass punchlines, and catchy songs. Find me a person who doesn’t love “Lunchlady Land,” and I’ll find you a SLOPPY JOE SLOP SLOPPY JOE. It was dumb, but goddamn if Fatty McGee doesn’t put a smile on my face.
In honor of the album’s 20th anniversary, Spin spoke to some of the team that helped put Laugh together, including Judd Apatow, Tim Herlihy, and Sandler himself in the form of an enlightening oral (hehe oral) history.
Adam Sandler: There were skits and songs and stuff I wanted to do but didn’t think I could get on SNL because they were too filthy. So I told Lorne [Michaels] I was interested in making a record and he introduced me to [Warner Bros. Records Chairman] Mo Ostin and we had a nice meeting. Everyone thought I wanted to make a stand-up record, but I wanted to do something more like Cheech & Chong, with sketches and everything. That was the idea.
Judd Apatow, performer: At that moment, Adam hadn’t done almost anything. That’s why he was making an enormous amount of phony phone calls — because he had all this comedic energy and didn’t have a place to put it. At two in the morning, I would walk in his room and he would be making a prank phone call complaining about the turkey sandwiches at Jerry’s Deli. He would be really amused, and no one was in the room with him. So all that energy went into making the record.
Sandler: We were all so young and didn’t know what we were doing. We’d be talking to each other at three in the morning, saying the filthiest things possible. I liked things like The Ben Stiller Show and The State, but I was off in my own world with my comedy. I called Conan [to ask if he'd perform on the album's "The Buffoon and the Dean of Admissions"], and Conan read it and went, “Oh my god, why are you making me do this?”
Apatow: Adam doesn’t have much interest in being cool or hipper than the room. He’s not fascinated by pop culture. He is purely hilarious in his own space. He’s not about irony. He’s not a smartass. He’s not cynical. He just loves being funny. He’s a Rodney Dangerfield guy. (Via)
For more, and to remember when Sandler actually cared, head to Spin.