It’s becoming increasingly clear that the world is going to shit and we’re all going to die, but first we’re going to go insane. 60% of the world’s animal life has been wiped out since 1970, Trump wants to do away with birthright citizenship through an executive order… and that was just this morning. Every day I wake up thinking it can’t get any worse and every day Twitter tells me how it has (incidentally, Twitter was caught ignoring threats from the mail bomber’s account and has made no substantive changes in this regard, though it is considering doing away with the like button).
What I’m trying to say is, what a weird time for Adam Sandler to be funny again.
Like many of my generation, I’ve had a complicated relationship with Adam Sandler. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard Sandler’s “The Buffoon” sketches from his comedy album “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You” for the first time, a memory so vivid you’d think it was the Kennedy assassination. I remember the circumstances of hearing “The Buffoon” better than I remember 9/11.
I remember it because I’d never laughed that hard at a work of pop-culture before. I had one of those moments of clarity, where even as I was rolling on the floor like an idiot, I thought “Wow, comedy can be like this?”
I don’t know if I would’ve grown up wanting to write jokes without Adam Sandler. Sure, maybe it was simply a matter of right place, right time; and sure, maybe playing a character whose backstory is “he’s a moron” who screams about his grandma’s bush and his hairy balls wasn’t exactly a watershed moment in the annals of comedy. But everyone remembers their first, and Adam Sandler was mine. I continued to laugh with him through Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, which weren’t good, necessarily, but dumb in just the right way, transcending mere artistic considerations to become true cultural touchstones. His act started to get a little staler, as acts do, and somewhere around, I don’t know, 50 First Dates, or maybe his multiple collaborations with Kevin James, I sort of gave up hope of ever really laughing at Adam Sandler in quite the same way ever again.
And that was fine. All good things eventually come to an end, no one can be funny forever, your first love eventually moves on and has kids with someone else and moves to a new town. Such is the way of things. I never blamed Sandler too much for it (okay maybe a little). He always seemed like he was having a good time dicking around with his buddies or making money for his kids even if he wasn’t making stuff that I liked anymore. “Shills” always seem happier than “artists,” anyway. That’s probably why we resent them so much.
I probably wouldn’t have watched Sandler’s new comedy special, 100% Fresh, if I hadn’t heard multiple good recommendations. I didn’t quite believe them, but what the hell, I thought, I’d give it a shot.