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Chris Rock on How He Met Adam Sandler, Why They Became Friends
It’s no secret that Chris Rock and Adam Sandler are best buds. The guys basically vacationed together in Grown Ups. And Grown Ups 2. But their relationship goes far, far back—even before their time working on Saturday Night Live! together—to when the two were rising, college-aged comedians.
Rock, Esquire’s Summer cover star, sat down for a new episode of “Explain This,” where celebrities run down moments from their careers. When we showed Rock a picture of himself and Sandler from 2018’s The Week Of, he launched into two incredible stories about Sandler. (Followed by a half dozen compliments.) In the first story, Rock remembered the first time he saw Sandler perform stand-up. It was at New York’s legendary Comic Strip Live, where comedians like Rock and Sandler worked their way into the public eye. Rock says it took a year or two to perform at the club on a weekend night. One time, Rock took a week-long trip to Los Angeles—and when he came back, here was this guy Sandler, coming out of nowhere, hamming it up on a weekend night at the club.
“So I’m supposed to hate him,” Rock says. “I watch his act and he’s so funny. He’s so funny. I just fell in love with him. Then he got off stage and we talked and we hung out. He was going to NYU and I hung out at his dorm. I just love the guy.”
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Check out the rest of the video, which is a genuine treat—featuring stories about Chris Farley, Rock’s cameo in “Old Town Road,” and his new film, Spiral. But if Rock’s love-at-first-sight story didn’t give you a full portrait of their friendship, he added a story from his wedding for good measure. The reason Rock loves Sandler the most? It’s because Sandler danced with Rock’s aunt Lillian at his wedding. We can’t think of a better barometer for best-friendship than dancing with anyone and everyone at a wedding.
“This man flew in to Washington, D.C. and danced with a bunch of Black women,” Rock said. “If the revolution ever comes, I want my Black brothers and sisters to know that Adam Sandler danced with Lillian. So we shall spare him.”
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