Monday , March 4 2024
Adam Sandler's career has spanned more than 20 entertaining years of slapstick comedy, music and the occasional dramatic surprise.

Adam Sandler: Canteen Boy to the People’s Choice

“And I just remember talking about Sean Connery and his performance…and his chest hair. And, boy, I wish I could do that.” –Adam Sandler, 2012 Academy Awards Broadcast movie montage.

Adam Sandler may never be 007 or even a Bond villain. But Sandler has created a unique career ranging from his days on Saturday Night Live to a series of silly but fun movies—and even a few more serious performances along the journey.

Sandler was a fixture of Saturday Night Live’s early ‘90s cast as a featured player for five seasons beginning in 1991 as part of a cast that included Chris Farley and (now Senator) Al Franken. Among Sandler’s most legendary bits on SNL were “The Chanukah Song,” so popular it’s been updated numerous times to keep up with the times, Canteen Boy, including a controversial bit with Alec Baldwin as Scoutmaster, Opera Boy, and many others. Sandler’s three Emmy nominations are for being part of the SNL writing staff.

Leaving the venerable sketch show in 1995, Sandler moved on to feature films, with his best known movies comedies, including starring roles in Billy Madison (1995), Happy Gilmore (1996), The Waterboy (1998), and Big Daddy (1999).  For his 1998 movie The Wedding Singer, he also wrote and performed several songs. Although he mostly stayed within his wheelhouse of raunchy slapstick, goofy comedy, Sandler did venture outside his presumed comfort zone from time to time and into more serious drama, surprising fans and critics with Punch-Drunk Love in 2002. A romantic comedy directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and co-starring Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Punch-Drunk Love features Sandler playing a lonely man, whose family seems only out to thwart his slim chance at love. It’s a great role, playing to the actor’s darker side, and prompting Roger Ebert to comment, “Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor. Watching this film, you can imagine him in Dennis Hopper roles. He has darkness, obsession and power.” His role, earning Sandler a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for his performance, is a far cry from SNL’s “Opera Boy.”

Crossing over into animated features, also in 2002, Sandler wrote and voiced Eight Crazy Nights, which has become for many (especially those who celebrate Chanukah) an essential piece of the annual winter holiday festivities. Riffing off Sandler’s iconic SNL “Chanukah Song,” the movie’s title originates in the song’s line, Instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights! Sandler became an instant hero to young Jewish folk everywhere, parched for an alternative to repeat airings of It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas during the winter holiday season.

A perennial favorite at the fan-voted People’s Choice Awards, Sandler has been nominated for 11 awards, winning six time, including nods in 2011 and 2012 for “Favorite Comedic Star.” In 2011, he received his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Sandler’s latest comedy Jack and Jill will be released March 6 on Blu-ray, Combo Pack & DVD.”


About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

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