During a sit-down interview with '60 Minutes' presenter Sharyn Alfonsi, Sandler opened up about his journey before acting.
Adam Sandler is a great actor and is best known for his comedic films. He has made his mark in the rom-com genre, and his performance in "Hustle," where he plays the role of a basketball scout, reminded audiences that he had the range to pull off all kinds of roles. Despite debuting onto the screen in 1990 with "Saturday Night Live" and starring in several hit comedies throughout the '90s and '00s, Adam Sandler's career graph wasn't as smooth as one might imagine. Compared to the egregiously inconsistent careers of other actors, Sandler maintains a steady pace that is nearly unheard of in a perfectionist world. In a recent interview, he recalled how he started off at just $10 for standup. His humble beginnings kept him grounded and made him the relatable star that he remains to this day.
During a sit-down interview with "60 Minutes" presenter Sharyn Alfonsi, Sandler opened up about his journey before acting, saying he started by doing stand-up for just $10 a night. He explained that he did stand-up comedy in New York City, playing Comic Strip Live more than 500 times - and was paid just $10 per gig. It was when he realized that a trademark of his act would be to use his guitar to sell his jokes. "I was so nervous every time then I'd get up and I couldn't remember what I was supposed to say and go blank," he admitted. "You have the guitar in your hands because that way I was at least doing something - it was the security blanket."
Sandler got his big break on "The Cosby Show" and then landed a gig on "Saturday Night Live" alongside Chris Rock, David Spade, and the late Chris Farley. During every Adam Sandler stand-up show, Sandler straps on his electric guitar and sings a song. In 2018, Sandler paid a beautiful tribute to his late friend as he references Farley’s electrifying SNL turns as a Chippendales dancer and a motivational speaker “living in a van down by the river.” The song, mixed with equal parts of profanity and poetry, is a living testament to why Sandler is such a phenomenal actor, comedian, and singer.
“Only Sandler could do that,” says Dana Carvey, an SNL star when the younger comedian arrived in 1990, according to The Washington Post. “That’s another gear that Adam has. He’ll be silly. But he’s not afraid to go for sentimentality and earnestness.” Sandler's generational comedies which include “Happy Gilmore,” “The Wedding Singer” and “Grown Ups” — have earned more than $3 billion at the box office. But for Sandler, popularity and praise rarely come hand in hand. His dramatic performances in “The Meyerowitz Stories,” “Hustle” and “Uncut Gems” brought the attention of many critics, which Sandler had a hard time coping with.
According to Deadline, during a 2022 interview for his Netflix film "Hustle," Sandler reflected on the reviews for the first film he ever co-wrote with Tim Herlihy, 1995’s "Billy Madison." “When I was 17 and I got into this, I didn’t think about critics… I didn’t even realize that stuff was coming,” Sandler said. “I just thought you made movies, people go see it. When Billy Madison came out, me and my friend who wrote it, we were just like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re going to write about this in New York!’ The actor said he’s since learned to deal with the criticism, adding: “It’s great, everything has turned out excellent. And it’s OK, I get it. Critics aren’t going to connect with certain stuff and what they want to see. I understand that it’s not clicking with them.”
Watch the full interview with 60 Minutes: