Thirty Years Later, ‘They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!’ Is Still Adam Sandler’s Worst Comedy Album
Hey Generation X, want a little sobering reality to start your weekend off right? Adam Sandler’s first comedy album just turned thirty.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to say that Sandler’s first album — a Grammy-nominated, double-platinum affair — was also his worst. After all, shouldn’t comedians get better over time? There are plenty of laughs here, but they’re almost all of the aggressively stupid kind. Later albums had lots of that as well but Sandler interspersed his future idiocy with tracks that were clever and sometimes poignant. On They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!, it’s nonstop dumb. (And hey, if that’s your favorite kind of Sandler, this is the album for you!) Here are a few reasons to knock this album to the bottom of the Sandman’s discography.Lackluster ‘SNL’ Cameos
Sandler was only a couple of seasons into his Saturday Night Live tenure when he recorded his first record, and he brought some buddies along for the ride, including David Spade, Rob Schneider, Chris Farley and Tim Meadows. That sounds promising, but what we get are tracks like “Buddy,” in which Sandler and Spade call each other “buddy” a lot until Schneider arrives and they all switch to “dude.” It was likely based on a stand-up set that Schneider performed on a Young Comedians Special about all the possible meanings for “dude” but here it gets neutered with repetition the only reason to laugh.Endless Beatings
Speaking of mindless repetition, there’s a running gag on They’re All Gonna Laugh where unsuspecting high school faculty members are pummeled for no reason. “The Beating of a High School Janitor,” “The Beating of a High School Bus Driver,” “The Beating of a High School Chemistry Teacher” and “The Beating of a High School Spanish Teacher” are all basically the same track, 30 seconds of high school revenge fantasy that end with an authority figure getting kicked in the ribs. The violence is too silly to be disturbing but why repeat this non-joke over and over?
Hey, we like a good fart joke as much as the next guy but toilet humor needs some other level to be appreciated over multiple listens. Good luck finding the nuance in tracks like “The Longest Pee,” where the joke is that a guy can’t stop peeing. It’s the kind of track that gets a snicker on first listen and a skip on subsequent spins.
There are plenty of hints on They’re All Gonna Laugh At You! that Sandler has better stuff coming. “The Thanksgiving Song,” a ditty he’d performed on Saturday Night Live. is goofy fun and a predictor of his “Chanukah Song,” now a genuine holiday standard. “Toll Booth Willie” is the prototype for later lovable losers, although this guy is less sympathetic and multidimensional than characters like “The Goat” who’d appear on later albums. You’ll recognize The Waterboy’s Bobby Boucher character masquerading as the High School Janitor — the character was always funny, Sandler just found better things for him to do in later years.
Things got smarter and funnier for Sandler on the albums that followed They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! But that doesn’t mean you won’t laugh at him singing about masturbating “At A Medium Pace.”