Adam Sandler put out one of the freshest comedy specials of 2018 with 100% Fresh, now available on Netflix. Spoiler alert: the multimedia show, filmed at various venues as small as the subway and as massive as an arena, ends with a touching tribute to Sandler’s friend Chris Farley. Today marks 21 years since the death of the iconic Saturday Night Live star.
Farley overdosed on cocaine and morphine on December 18, 1997 at the age of 33. Often compared to fellow SNL alum John Belushi, many worried the Tommy Boy actor would go the same way as Belushi or John Candy, who died of a heart attack. “Those guys are my idols. It’s all fine and dandy,” Sandler quotes in the song.
Paired with a slideshow of friend photos, nostalgic SNL clips, and ‘home footage’ videos, the song has a notable difference from everything else in 100% Fresh. Throughout the special, Sandler ‘breaks.’ He’s laughing in the middle of songs and has a smile on his face the entire time. During this song, however, he is solemn. He looks down during his guitar solo, knowing all eyes are on the images playing behind him. That solo—and the entire song—is the most vulnerable we may ever see the You Don’t Mess With The Zohan star on stage.
Those born after his 1995 departure from Saturday Night Live may not have much of a connection to Farley. But anyone who has lost a friend way too soon will recognize the tone of the tribute and empathize with the comedian frequently mocked for boom-or-bust comedy films. Not having released a stand-up special in 25 years, one can feel the weight of Sandler’s career—the Happy Gilmores, the Jack and Jills, the awards, the Razzies, making blockbuster movies with his friends where he requires the production build a temporary basketball court on set, his loving family. With a decades-long legendary comedy career, Sandler gets to sing the one song you feel is the only song he needs to sing us…in front of dozens, hundreds, thousands, and by way of Netflix, millions of people. His face holds steady like a man who has already cried many times just writing the words.
Watch the tribute song below and check out 100% Fresh in its entirety on Netflix. It’s okay if you squirt a tear or two.