Adam Sandler is 48 years young today, and he’s been bringing joy and mirth to our lives for over 20 years now. Like so many great comedic minds, he got his start on Saturday Night Live, where from 1991 to 1995 he entertained us with great characters like Canteen Boy and Operaman. To celebrate Sandler’s birthday, let’s look at some of his finest moments on the SNL stage.
His unfortunate encounter with the Scoutmaster as Canteen Boy.
This was one of the most shocking sketches SNL ever did, and even now, 20 years after the fact, it’s still a bit jarring to watch. Adam Sandler plays his adorably dim-witted Canteen Boy character, while Alec Baldwin plays a scoutmaster whose sinister motives become increasingly clear. The fact that SNL managed to do a sketch about a topic as serious as child molestation and actually make it funny is a testament to how strong the writing was at this time. Although the fantastic performances by Baldwin and Sandler don’t hurt either.
Every time he classed up the news as Opera Man
Adam Sandler was a frequent Weekend Update correspondent, and none of his characters were more beloved than Opera Man, who brought some much needed sophistication to the Weekend Update. But while we loved it when he’d sing about Bill Clinton or Demi Moore in his operatic tone, we loved in even more when he broke character and just started doing his Eddie Vedder impression
When he just wanted to sleep in your bed.
The chemistry between Adam Sandler and Chris Farley was amazing, and The Herlihy boy sketches were a perfect example of that. Sandler is a sweet-but-somewhat-creppy little boy who just wants to watch your house for you, while Chris Farley is an increasingly aggressive advocate of his services. the pair compliment each other perfectly.
When he gave us some southern culture as Cajun Man
This is an example of how a one-joke sketch can be really, really funny. I mean, all Cajun Man does is pronounce words that and in “-tion” in a Cajun accent (“Defini-TION, liposuc-TION”), and somehow, that ends up being pretty funny. Maybe we’re overthinking this comedy thing, eh?
His immortal ode to his red-hooded sweatshirt.
Watch here. Because there’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than singing a love song to an inanimate article of clothing. Plus, Paul McCartney shows up to give him a “dib dib dib,” which was awesome.
When he made every Jewish kid feel a little less lonely at Christmas
There’s not much to say about this one; it’s the “Hanukkah Song,” it’s a classic. There are plenty of good lines here, but my personal favorite is “Paul Newman’s half Jewish/and Goldie Hawn’s half, too/put them together/what a fine looking Jew!” It’s hardly a surprise that there would eventually be two more versions of this song. The only question is “when will we finally see Part 4?”
When he suffered from a broken heart on The Denise Show
Let’s be honest: we’ve all suffered from a broken heart at some point in our lives. But thankfully, we probably didn’t host a public access show crying over our lost every week while our Dad called to scream at us. That’s what poor Brian does on The Denise Show.
His darkly hilarious turn as a suicidal husband in the Zagat’s sketches
Yet another glorious example of Sandler and Farley playing off of each other brilliantly. Farley is excessively enthusiastic wife reading entries in the Zagat’s brochure, while Sandler just gets sadder and angrier by the minute. Who would’ve thought a line as dark as “GIVE ME CANCER NOW GOD!” could be so hilarious?
When he took us to the magic Lunchlady Land
This song would go on to appear as a track on Sandler’s classic comedy album They’re All Gonna Laugh At You, but the SNL version is by far the best way to enjoy it. Where else can you see Chris Farley marrying a sloppy joe?