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Adam Sandler’s 100% Fresh Review — Adam Sandler’s New Netflix Stand-Up Special Proves He’s At His Best When Singing
My buddy Tzoni and I often reminisce fondly about the moment we first became friends. Tzoni was the guy at school who was willing to burn people CDs for a small fee, and I was a person willing to offer him friendship instead of cash. And so there, by the lockers, in sixth grade, Tzoni passed me the six-track Adam Sandler mix I’d asked him for, complete with classics like “The Goat” and “Tollbooth Willy.”
Not everything on that CD has aged well. But after watching Sandler’s new Netflix special, 100% Fresh, I can tell you one thing that has: Adam Sandler.
Yes, Sandler’s actual Rotten Tomatoes score is somewhere around 20 percent not-fresh, and he’s notoriously made a number of deeply problematic flops including Ridiculous Six. But occasional gems like the recent The Meyerowitz Stories and now this stand-up special are proof that when Sandler wants to, he can be amazing—especially when he’s singing.
From start to finish, 100% Fresh is Adam Sandler at his best. It’s a music-heavy special that stays relatable and induces crying on both ends of the spectrum. Sandler’s characters range from a grown man pissing in his shower (crying laughing) to a guy who really misses his good friend Chris Farley (just crying). During the Farley tribute, Sandler emits emotion like you’ve never seen from the 51-year-old comedy fixture. It’s the second to last song of the special, and its undoubtedly a shining moment.
The former, however, had me laughing harder than I can remember in recent years. “I know I should go to the toilet—but the toilet is too far, the toilet is too far away,” Sandler sings rigidly, waxing poetic over a track that sounds straight out of a Devo album while wearing a checkered pair of clout glasses. “I am an animal. I am the destroyer. They caught me pissing in my neighbor’s pool. And now I have to get a lawyer. It was worth it,” he continues, as the narrative takes a dark turn and abruptly ends. He takes off his glasses and jumps straight into an all-too-relatable standup bit about relentlessly wiping your ass.
During another song, Sandler brings a Bar Mitzvah to life, chronicling both the outward and behind-the-scenes moments of the day. From “make a bank deposit” to “make out in the closet,” “Bar Mitzvah Boy” transforms its subject into a superhero of sorts, drinking Schnapps and wilding out with his friends on his special day. “Mom and dad yell at me, dis-grace my fam-i-ly, I’m a man so I don’t care, got my first mustache hair,” he sings before launching into a chorus the audience can’t help but participate in. The song is a reminder of Sandler’s brilliance not only in songwriting but in songwriting about his faith. Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song,” remains one of his most popular musical moments, and a modern holiday classic.
With 100% Fresh, Sandler isn’t just funny, he’s forthright with his emotions, too. The special ends with two serious moments—the tribute to Farley, and a song for Sandler’s wife, Jackie. In his song for Farley, Sandler goes beyond referencing the SNL moments we all remember, diving deep into their friendship and the unapologetic lifestyle everyone loved him for, but that led to his demise. After an impressive guitar solo, Sandler sings:
After a show he’d drink a quart of Jack Daniels and stick the bottle right up his assBut hungover as hell that Catholic boy always showed up to morning massWe’d tell him slow down, you’ll end up like Belushi and CandyHe said those guys are my heroes, that’s all fine and dandyI’m not making that shit up, that’s the truth about my boy Chris Farley
On the song for his wife, Sandler takes his iconic Wedding Singer track “I Wanna Grow Old With You” and spins it into an homage to his real-life marriage. The last refrain of the song, though, repositions the serenade toward his fans, bringing the special to an emotional culmination.
“And this goes for all of you guys here tonight. Thanks for growing old with”—he begins as a montage of clips from his movies, SNL days, stand-up specials, and TV shows runs rapidly in the background—”me.”