Adam Sandler’s Dad Used to Call Him When He Was Live on the Air During ‘SNL’
It can be pretty annoying when your parents call you at work. Like you’re just supposed to have everyone’s Paramount+ password memorized? But if you think that’s bad, imagine being summoned to a landline phone for a call from Dad during a live television show.
Adam Sandler recently reminisced about his SNL days during a Los Angeles Times Actors Roundtable featuring a handful of actors likely up for year-end awards (like Sandler in Hustle). He told his peers about what life was like during his television days:
“When I would come off stage on Saturday Night Live and I had a good skit, any skit, even if it didn’t go right, I would walk by this desk where pages would answer the phone,” Adam remembers. “I would walk by and a page would go, ‘Adam, Adam, your father’s on the phone!’”
Adam recalls taking those calls from his dad, even as the show was going on behind him. “He’d go ‘That-a-baby! That was terrific!’” What’s a son to do except quickly say, “All right, I love you, dad! I got to go do something!” (Like grab his guitar and goof around on Weekend Update, for example.)
That unconditional support drove Sandler’s Hustle performance as Stanley Sugarman, a basketball scout who helps raw but talented Bo Cruz make it to the NBA. “I was basically playing (Bo)’s dad the way my dad would raise me,” Sandler says. “Never talked about himself. Never talked about ‘hey, it’s four in the morning, I’m tired too.’ My character needed something to show for himself but he just fell for this kid and wanted the best for him. And I always felt my dad would do anything for me.”
Growing up, Sandler’s dad coached all of his youth sports teams. That’s why the character’s name is Stanley. “My dad’s name was Stanley,” he says. “I did that for my father.”
Sandler now regrets not having his father come to 30 Rock to watch more of his Saturday Night Live performances. “I didn’t ask him to come to the show a lot,” he says. “Because when my mom would (come), I would kind of freeze up. I wasn’t as loose as I could be when my mom was there, I don’t know what it was. I didn’t want to do certain things or I felt silly that this is what I felt was funny. I knew my mother was going ‘Wow, you’re sicker than I thought.’”
But like many dads of famous athletes, Stanley Sandler could at least watch the kid do his thing on TV. And if he was in the studio audience, how could he give Adam a “That-a-baby!” in the middle of the show? Actually, that would have been pretty great.