Sandler returned to “SNL” in 2019, kicking things off with a song about how he was fired from the show back in 1995. But it’s not something he’s all that hung up on. Since departing, as he reminded us all in his monologue performance, his movies have made more than $4 billion at the box office, so the Sand-man is doing just fine. But back in those SNL days, it sounds like he was struggling much more than his sketch performances would suggest.
Talking to the AARP in 2022, the 56-year-old spoke about how he’s changed since those SNL days, claiming that he’s “calmer” than he used to be. In fact, he maintains that during his stint on the sketch show, he had, “a quick temper” and, “made a lot of dumb mistakes”:
“Looking back on relationships, I could be an ass. I was selfish. I was competitive with other comedians and stuff. My father would say, ‘That guy’s funny,’ and I would say, ‘Hey, I’m funny, blah, blah,’ and he’d be, like, ‘Why can’t you both be funny?’ Because I was hungry, I didn’t always see clearly then. I wanted to be a big comedian like Eddie Murphy, like Rodney Dangerfield.”
It’s a surprising admission from the comedian, who always seemed to be one of the more spontaneous, life-of-the-party-type performers on the show. And according to former “SNL” writer Conan O’Brien, that’s pretty much the impression everyone had of Sandler:
“All the writers and performers had a lot of anxiety and everyone was very down and would stay up late at night, and this guy shows up who’s just like ‘This is great! Let’s all get a milkshake,’ and he was so joyous and he’s always been that way.”