Why were Adam Sandler, Chris Farley fired from SNL?

Nearly 30 years after Adam Sandler first joined Saturday Night Live as a writer in 1990 and before becoming a cast member in 1991, Sandler finally returned to Saturday Night Live. This time Sandler was the host of the iconic New York City-based show on their Saturday May 4th, 2019 episode.

The actor, comedian and former SNL superstar took the opportunity to address his (and his best friend, the late Chris Farley’s) firing from the show back in 1995 during his opening monologue. And he created a song for it. How very Adam Sandler. Watch Sandler’s full monologue and song below.

Sandler Sings Swan Song on Saturday Night

When Sandler returned to 30 Rock to host SNL, he did it in typical Sandler-fashion; by singing a song with Chris Rock and Pete Davidson. It began with an opening monologue that pegged his time at SNL as being the “greatest time in my life.”

“My wife and kids are here tonight, and I always tell them how SNL was the greatest time in my life. So they ask, ‘If it was the greatest, why did you leave?'” Sandler said, before a breaking out in song to answer the question.

“Between seasons I heard a nasty rumor that I was getting the sack / I tried to call Lorne Michaels but he never called me back / (I’m joking, he called me),” Sanders sang. “I was fired, not rehired / Well it made me sad and blue / I told my boy Chris Farley I got fired and he said, ‘Sandman, they fired my ass too.’”

That’s when also-fired Chris Rock came onstage and also sang a verse. “I was fired, I was fired by NBC / Then I went on In Living Color / Three weeks later, they took it off TV,” Rock said.

Current SNL cast member and former Ariana-Grande boyfriend Pete Davidson then joined in on the fun, singing “I was fired,” only to have Sandler respond he hasn’t been fired. “You weren’t fired,” Sandler said. Davidson sing-replied, “I wasn’t? How is that even possible?”

Sandler sang back, “I don’t know but be patient, it’s coming soon.”

Why Was Adam Sandler Fired From SNL?

Since the Internet was still evolving in 1995, there wasn’t much news when Sandler and Farley were fired from the show. In the mid-1990’s there’s not very much news, whether behind-the-scenes or in-front-of-the-scenes, about why Lorne Michaels decided to get rid of the power duo. All we have are a couple quotes from Sandler in the last decade.

“I got fired,” Sandler told a soon-to-be-fired Conan O’Brien in 2010.

Sandler relayed that his manager at the time sensed something was coming down. His manager told Sandler that maybe he should start looking “for something else to do.” Sandler recalled replying to his manager: “I like it (at SNL). Then Farley ran into my office, saying ‘We’re getting fired.'”

For his part, Adam Sandler still isn’t sure why he got fired or isn’t letting on. One quote we were able to locate was this passage in an interview he did with the Daily Beast, that speaks vaguely about his involuntarily leaving the show

Yes, we were [fired]. We kind of quit at the same time as being fired. It was the end of the run for us. The fact that me and him got fired? Who knows. We were on it for a few years, had our run, and everything happens for a reason. We kind of understood because we did our thing. It hurt a lot at the time because we were young and didn’t know where we were going, but it all worked out.

Not much to go on other to say that “we kind of quit at the same time” doesn’t quite make sense, so it seems like there’s more to it. If so, then why would Sandler return to Saturday Night Live and sing about being “fired” if it wasn’t mostly true?

Whatever you think of Adam Sandler’s movies (I personally dislike 90% of them), no doubt he was one of the biggest comedians and up-and-coming actors in 1995. From Vanity Fair:

In February of that year, Sandler’s Billy Madison debuted at No. 1 at the box office, and the following February he released yet another comedy classic, Happy Gilmore. Somewhere in between, both Sandler and his friend and castmate Chris Farley were fired from S.N.L. Farley’s dismissal from S.N.L. was also sandwiched by back-to-back comedy classics: Tommy Boy, released in March, 1995, and Black Sheep, released in February, 1996. Both of those Farley vehicles were produced by Lorne Michaels himself. 

Despite the low 1995 ratings and some behind-the-scenes factors that the S.N.L. audience at home isn’t privy to, throwing Sandler and Farley out with the bathwater directly after a season that saw both the debut of Sandler’s “Hannukah Song,” and several classic sketches like the “Gap Girls,” “Canteen Boy,” and Matt Foley in heavy rotation, remains as much a puzzle to us as it does to Sandler.

Considering the success and the relationships that Sandler and Farley had with Executive Producer Michaels, it only further muddles the reasoning why Lorne decided to chop the two. We think there’s a few plausible reasons why he made that decision at the time. One, Sandler and/or Farley didn’t have a great relationship. Two, despite the success that the two brought to the show, sagging ratings forced Michaels to shuffle up the cast to get a completely new creative direction and/or energy. Three, a combination of those reasons.

To be honest, we’re speculating. The only people that knows the real real they got fired was Lorne Michaels and Adam Sandler. Whatever the case, Sandler and Farley would go on to have successful careers making movies and Saturday Night Live, despite some down years here and there and hits and misses, continues to be a cultural weekend staple.

2 Comments

  • Anonymous

    FUCK YOU and your STUPID BULLSHIT UNINFORMATIVE article that reveals nothing and is NOT news worthy. FUCK YOU I say.

  • Anonymous

    I STOPPED READIN THE ARTICLE AFTER YOU SAID YOU DONT FUCK WITH SANDLER. YOURE A GOOFY AND YOU GAVE NO INFORMATION.

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