Saturday Night Live is something of a cultural institution in America, and has played host to some of the finest comedic talents the country has produced over the past three decades. Some of the show’s biggest names have had their own best of DVDs showcasing their finest work on the show.
This release focuses on Adam Sandler and the apparent best of his output during his time as a member of the SNL team. Those familiar with the SNL format will know what to expect, a series of character-based skits, as well as the occasional musical number.
Out of the material here, Canteen Boy is one of the better sketches. Sandler, however, is overshadowed by the comedic talents of Alec Baldwin, whose presence and timing lead to him stealing every scene. Baldwin plays a scout master who makes a series of passes towards Canteen Boy. It’s an interesting piece to have included, as this is without question the basis for The Waterboy’s Bobby Boucher. The sketch is funny to begin with, but soon becomes tedious as it runs for far too long and the joke runs very, very thin, indeed.
The best sketches are the Opera Man pieces. While I’d stop well short of saying these were brilliant, and I wouldn’t actively encourage people to watch them, they stand up very favourably against the majority of the material on the disc, and include some quite funny moments whilst showing off Sandler’s rather good singing voice. One of the funnier moments is the incorporation of Pearl Jam’s Even Flow into a news piece about the album Ten reaching number one.
Another scene that shows off Sandler’s voice is his introductory sketch for the Courtney Cox presented show, where he imitates Bruce Springsteen and performs an excellent version of Dancing In The Dark before descending into incoherent mumbling and forgetting his lines for comedic effect.
Other than that, though, the rest of the disc is filled with sketches that either outstay their welcome, simply aren’t funny or are just plain offensive (and often all three).
There are moments of horrendous cultural insensitivity, and sketches that play on base level cultural stereotypes for laughs. These, like much of the material presented here, don’t stand up to the test of time, and are just too offensive to be funny. Comedy like this can be funny if it’s done with any degree of wit or has something to say, but, sadly, that’s not the case here.
Ultimately, the material on this disc is more miss than hit, with few of these sketches matching even the worst of Sandler’s cinematic output. The aforementioned cultural insensitivity, and the fact that the vast number of sketches failed to raise laughs made me question if this is a cultural or generational thing, or is it just the fact that it isn’t all that funny? I’ll go for the latter, but I’m happy to hear arguments to counter that.
I have seen a few of these releases for other SNL stars and have been unimpressed, and I’m firmly of the opinion that the quality of its alumni’s post-SNL work far outshines what they were doing on the show to such an embarrassing extent.
Other than a photo gallery, there are no extras on the disc, so given the absence of laughs and extras I would suggest this is one for Sandler or SNL fans only.
I was leaning towards giving this one star, but the Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam sketches were enough to bump it up to two.
Adam Sandler: The Best Of Saturday Night Liveis out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.