An Early Adam Sandler Roast Erupted into ‘Violence’
A bunch of Adam Sandler pals recently gave him a red-hot roasting as he received his Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. But twenty years ago, comedy pal Robert Smigel reminds us (via his Triumph the Insult Comic Dog Twitter account), Sandler was the victim of another comedy roast as part of the very first Night of Too Many Stars. It was a star-studded dais full of comedy’s biggest names, including Kevin Nealon, Jon Stewart, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and David Spade. But unlike the event at the Kennedy Center, this one just might have been the most honest comedy roast we’ve ever seen.
First up is Jon Stewart, Sandler’s costar in Big Daddy. He congratulates Sandler on his performance in Punch-Drunk Love, giving it two thumbs up … on a scale of 1,000 thumbs. What the hell? Sandler is pissed! “Are you insulting me or something?” Stewart then explains to Sandler how roasts work — “we’re just kidding around.” Oh yeah, Sandler forgot. But his memory of how these things go doesn’t last for long.
Stewart gets off another zinger — “I was at a theater the night Little Nicky opened. I have never seen such a long line … for refunds!” — sending Sandler into full Punch-Drunk Love rage mode. “Fuck you, motherfucker! You fucking think you’re better than me because you got that stupid bullshit cable show?” A cowed Stewart shuts his trap and takes a seat.
Conan is up next. “You know, Adam was first hired as a writer on Saturday Night Live. His skits always stood out because they were the only ones written in crayon.” Boom! A crimson-faced Sandler is on his feet again, getting all up in O’Brien’s grill and calling him a “seven-foot piece of red cabbage. Fuck you, man!”
The scent of blood is in the air as Jimmy Fallon is introduced. Sandler issues a warning: “Go ahead, motherfucker. Say your shit, pretty boy. I’ll fucking crush you.” Fallon doesn’t even try. “You did the right thing, fucking asshole.”
That leaves old chum David Spade, who asks for permission to tell a few rough ones. Go ahead, says Sandler — if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? And indeed, a fuming Sandler tries to sit quietly while Spade deals out insults like, “You’re the exact same guy you were when you first started. A drunken buffoon.”
But the serenity doesn’t last long. After Spade congratulates Sandler on his great characters — Bobby Boucher, Little Nicky, and the one you play in every other movie — the Sandman leaps to his feat to show everyone how good Spade is at physical comedy, bashing his head into the lectern and sending him to the floor with a few kicks thrown in for good measure. “Fucking asshole!”
For those of you who haven’t caught on, this was all a joke, part of Smigel’s Night of Too Many Stars fundraiser for autism. But don’t you wish more celebrity roasts featured Spade getting his skull slammed into furniture? Now that’s comedy!