Adam Sandler is sometimes dismissed by younger audiences for recent bad movies like “Blended” and “That’s My Boy,” while all of his more popular older works like “The Wedding Singer” and his stand-up are forgotten. His new Netflix stand-up special “Adam Sandler 100% FRESH” reminds people why they loved him in the first place.
Sandler’s comedy special is presented as a compilation of his new stand-up routine performed in a handful of different venues. This gives him the effect of both the professional comedian who can command a giant theater, with moving slideshows and flashy effects, and the newcomer who can light up the stage of a small comedy club with his jokes alone. This worked well for a theme Sandler seemed to have of breaking down the walls of his stardom and showing his audience he was a real person just like them. This theme was evident whenever he laughed uncontrollably while he told a joke he really liked, when he dedicated a song to his old friend from SNL Chris Farley and whenever he talked about the normal things he does as a father and a husband.
Sandler has always specialized in comedic songs, and so most of his performance consisted of these. These songs followed a sort of pattern of having an upbeat or funny theme and then ending with a sudden twist that would leave audiences dying of laughter. One of the best examples of this was a three-part song he performed in a ridiculously gravelly voice around the halfway mark of the special. Each part would begin with a description of a dire scenario, like a plane about to crash, where a hero was needed. Sandler would then salute the audience and make a “juh!” sound with his mouth, before describing how his character stood up to save the day, only to end up killing them all in the end anyway because he didn’t know what he was doing. While these sort of comedic twists happened in nearly all of his songs, they were too clever each time to feel overdone or repetitive.
Sandler also reprised a couple of his jokes at unexpected times later in the show, which is a strategy only the best comedians employ. His main reprisal was a joke about how he once accidentally took a picture of a ghost while photographing his penis and was mad because he couldn’t show the picture of the ghost to anyone due to his penis being in the shot. He brought this back multiple times throughout the show, at one point saying that he gave the photo to another dad rather than emailing him the footage of his daughter’s basketball game where he was swearing a lot in the background.
Beyond Sandler’s jokes and style, it was also just fun to watch him interact with his mustachioed backup singer and keyboardist Dan Bulla. They do one hilarious bit together where Sandler yells at him for messing up a note and then makes him start from the top, only for Sandler to mess up a word. Although Bulla is just meant to back Sandler up, they occasionally build off each other or laugh at something the other one sings, which was cute to watch. The best jokes were definitely the ones where you can see Bulla cracking up in the background.
All in all, “Adam Sandler 100% FRESH” was sentimental, hilarious and moving. Definitely a must watch.
Rebecca Maher is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.