by ALEC JACKSON - February 12, 2021 - The cinematic universe a dozen times larger than Marvel
Adam Sandler can make people laugh. Some would call that a gift. I would call it a gift as well. I possess information that will lead to universal acceptance of the “Sandlerverse” theory, and therefore world peace. The Sandlerverse is the concept that each Adam Sandler film exists in the same universe. Unfortunately, the Tyson Foods corporation is trying to kill me in an attempt to prevent this information from disseminating. Good luck, Tyson Foods.
In 50 First Dates (2004), Dan Aykroyd plays a doctor in Hawaii. The Ghostbuster has a cameo in Tommy Boy (1995) thereby connecting the two films. He also introduces Ten-second Tom in the same scene. Ten-second Tom is a man whose memory only lasts ten seconds. This is a classic example of Adam Sandler writing following the “Ha-Guffaw-Aha-Haha!” format. Perhaps the finest example of this being Blended (2014), where Ten-second Tom returns to do a hilarious bit repeating, “Hi, I’m Tom,” and it doesn’t get old.
To celebrate a big golf swing in 50 First Dates, the player does a dance with the golf club. Adam Sandler does this exact same dance in Happy Gilmore (1996). While it is true two people could have independently developed the same dance, it seems far more likely that one was inspired by the other due to the dance’s intricacy and lack of self awareness. The caddy from Happy Gilmore is invited to dinner in Jack and Jill (2011). Adam Sandler’s galavanting in these movies showcases an excellent mastery of buffoonery, while leaving more to be desired in the clowning department.
In Happy Gilmore Chubbs Peterson falls to his death, later in Little Nicky (2000) he is in heaven. Little Nicky also features Rob Schneider uttering the words “You can do it!” That phrase is what unites about a third of the Sandlerverse. We first met Chubbs Peterson in The Waterboy (1998), the same film where Farmer Fred initially shows up. Farmer Fred would later have a cameo in Joe Dirt (2001).
Adam Sandler declares “You can do it!” clearly trying to emulate the cadence and accent of Schneider in The Animal (2001). This makes sense, as Sandler would have heard it in The Waterboy three years prior. After all those years, Rob Schneider never dropped his catch phrase as he uses it in The Longest Yard (2005), while clearly playing the same character from the other films. Sandler is arrested by a cop played by Dan Patrick in The Longest Yard. Dan Patrick plays the same officer in I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry (2007).
The Puppy Who Lost His Way is a fictional children's book that appears in Billy Madison (1995) and I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry. A lunch lady serving sloppy jokes shows up in Saturday Night Live (1994), Billy Madison, and Adam Sandler’s first comedy album, They’re All Gonna Laugh At You! (1993). A personal favorite of mine, The Master of Disguise, features Mr. Sandler posing the question, “You like the juice?” This brings us to the juice section of the Sandlerverse. He asked the same question in a 1993 Saturday Night Live episode. The comedy album What’s Your Name? (1997) has a singing goat bit that doesn’t really work, and it’s a call back to Sandler’s second comedy album What Happened to Me? (1996). The goat bit is kind of awful, but anyone who sits through it long enough will hear the name Giarraputo. As far as I can tell this is a reference to Jack Giarraputo, a film producer who co-founded Happy Madison Productions with Adam Sandler. Adam also throws it out in the comedy album Stan and Judy’s Kid (1999). That album contains a sketch called “Whitey” that is about a character named Whitey who appears in the court scene of Eight Crazy Nights (2002). Stan and Judy’s Kid also birthed the Uncle Donnie character who shows up in That’s My Boy (2012). Donnie’s son is getting married by Father Shakalu, whom I think is meant to be the same person as Dr. Shakalu in Grandma’s Boy (2006). You can decide they aren’t the same character, and that the Sandlerverse is a movie smaller. Pull the magic out of life. Go ahead-- I don’t care anymore. I’ve wasted too much time researching Adam Sandler to care.
Shawn Kohne, an expert on the Sandlerverse and major help in production of this article, thought that Mr. Deeds (2002) was not connected to any other Sandler films except Big Daddy (1999). This is an easy mistake to make, but I was not willing to accept it. Mr. Deeds has a cameo from “Radio man”, a formerly homeless New Yorker who became famous for having cameos in films. Craig (Radio man) also appeared in Little Nicky, thus tying each film together. Using the Radio man loophole it becomes possible to add more than a hundred films or TV shows to the Sandlerverse such as Elf (2003), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present), and Godzilla (1998).
A common misconception about Billy Madison is that the O’Doyle family was wiped out in a car crash. Wrong! They are Sandler’s neighbors in Click (2006) and the boys that harass him in Hubie Halloween (2020). There’s a running gag in Click featuring a stuffed duck. The same duck is in the background of a preschool scene in Funny People (2009). Click also has a deleted “you can do it scene” while Real Rob (2015) has one that made the final cut. Rudy Giuliani calls out those words in Anger Management (2003). Yeah, I know.
Click begins the “Lamonsoff” section of the A.S.E.U. (Adam Sandler Cinematic Universe). There’s a throwaway line in Click about a guy named Eric Lamonsoff; Adam asks about Lamonsoff in Pixels (2015), probably because they were pals in Grown Ups (2010). It seems like they’ve been friends a long time because in The Wedding Singer (1998) Adam Sandler exclaims, “I know you gave Eric Lamonsoff that same price!” In Murder Mystery (2019) Eric Lamonsoff is Sandler’s friend who has a boat. Reign Over Me (2007) features a Colonel Sanders statue in Sandler’s apartment. This is pretty flimsy, but he has mentioned Kentucky Fried Chicken six other times in other films, so that’s something. I don’t have anything for Uncut Gems (2019), but surely it will be incorporated into a future film that ties into the Sandlerverse.
Obsessively combing more than 50 Adam Sandler films for tiny details has given me a unique perspective on the characters Mr. Sandler plays. He has always played a caricature, but as his films built a pantheon of comedy legends, the Adam Sandler character became a simulacrum of a simulacrum. In Hubie Halloween, they barely bother to explain why Adam’s character behaves the way he does; Hubie is an accident prone awkward man with a good heart because he is played by Adam Sandler as opposed to any in-world justification. The greater context of his career is understood by the audience, and therefore the character does not have to be. This makes the Adam Sandler character more real than a lot of actual people, and it makes our world part of the Sandlerverse.