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Adam Sandler’s Musical Tribute to Chris Farley Will Make You Both Laugh and Cry

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I wasn’t expecting to cry while watching Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh on Netflix this October, but I also didn’t expect to sob during Click, either. I should have known better! The special features new material from the comedian, plus a few special moments that honor his past — like a rendition of “Grow Old With You” from The Wedding Singer, which he dedicated to his wife Jackie, and a sentimental musical tribute to the late Chris Farley.

Farley and Sandler were best friends, appearing together on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995. Farley’s death was tragic — he passed away on Dec. 18, 1997 from a drug overdose. A unique attribute Sandler has — which one could argue is why he’s had such a longstanding, mainstream career — is the heart he puts into his work. Many of his films have tender moments that surprise you, like in the aforementioned Click, and also include his gaggle of friends: David Spade, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider, to name a few. That’s why I should have known that when he started strumming his guitar during his Netflix comedy special and said, “I’m gonna do this one, it’s a very special song, it means a lot to us,” I was done for.

Sandler is a great guitarist, and the way the song starts reminds me of a Bruce Springsteen track. It’s beautiful and nostalgic; there’s a melancholy tone to it. The first verse of the song encompasses what we’re in for: a funny, realistic, and heartbreaking tribute to Farley.

“First time saw I him, he was sweeter than sh*t. Plaid jacket and belt too tight, he wasn’t even doing a bit. Then he cartwheeled around the room and slow-danced with the cleaning lady, he was a one-man party, you know I’m talkin’ about, talkin’ about my friend Chris Farley,” he sings.

Adam Sandler & Chris Farley during Image Source: Getty / Steve Granitz

Netflix and Sandler put out the song 21 years to the day after he passed. “We told him ‘Slow down, you’ll end up like Belushi and Candy,’ he said ‘Those guys are my heroes, it’s all fine and dandy.'” In the song, the comedian seems to reconcile the heartbreak of Farley’s untimely death with his talent and the legacy he left behind — he sings that Farley now “makes his kids laugh” through YouTube clips and Tommy Boy.

Sandler sings through Farley’s best skits from the show: Matty Foley and “livin’ in a van down by the river,” Lunch Lady Land, the Patrick Swayze Chippendales skit, Gap Girls, and so on. He talks about their trip to celebrate fellow comedian Tim Meadows’s wedding, plus Farley’s constant terrorizing of their friend David Spade. It seems that their group was loyal, dedicated and, at the very least, was a hoot to be around. Farley sounds like he was easily the funniest and kindest guy in the room.

I personally lost my composure when Sandler goes in for his guitar solo and the carousel of Farley photos from his days in the spotlight, as well as home video footage, plays behind him. It’s an emotional song that will make you feel warm seeing the memories and legacy Farley leaves behind, but is also a heartbreaking reminder that so many of his family and friends are still missing him 21 years later — and that the best comedy has heart, too. Sandler certainly did his friend justice.

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