Adam Sandler and me

When I was still in my early teens I became a huge fan of comic writers such as P. G. Wodehouse, S. J. Perelman, and Stephen Leacock. I loved the way they played with words to get laughs and dreamed of writing just like them. So I tried writing a comic story, a parody of the hard-boiled detective genre which Perelman in particular was a genius at, such as his famous short story Somewhere a Roscoe.

But I quickly realized that once I had given my characters what I thought then were clever and funny names (I recall that Dan Druff was the name of my detective hero), I had pretty much exhausted my humorous skills and so gave up the whole project. The world of literature is richer for me leaving it.

I was reminded of this when I read about the new Adam Sandler film for Netflix that has resulted in some of the American Indian extras walking off the set because they were offended by some of the jokes in the script. The actors had been assured beforehand that Indians would be treated respectfully and were appalled at what they were expected to say and do in the film. The actors were particularly offended by the jokey names given to Indian women, such as Beaver’s Breath, Smoking Fox, No Bra, and Sits-on-Face, names that telegraph the punch lines of jokes a mile away. This is of course the kind of sophisticated humor that has made Sandler a legend in the world of comedy.

Leaving must have been a tough decision for lowly paid extras to make because they need the money and getting an acting job is hard. But they had no choice because when the actors complained, the filmmakers responded in the usual way that clueless people do, by arguing that since they did not mean to be offensive then it could not be offensive and the actors should simply lighten up and take a joke, the same argument that supporters of the racist Chief Wahoo use. (Some good news: It looks like the Curse of Wahoo is working again this year. As of today, the Cleveland team has a record of just 6 wins and 13 losses, have the worst record among the 15 American League teams, and have the 29th worst record out of 30 teams in major league baseball. Only one more notch to drop!)

In my defense, I can say that I realized at age 15 or so that if making up silly names were all I had going for me as a potential comic, then I needed to go into another line of work. I wonder how old Sandler must get before he realizes the same thing.


  1. DsylexicHippo says

    It remains a mystery to me how Adam Sandler still has a career. Beaver’s Breath is supposed to be funny? He should stick to his trademark fart jokes.

  2. Holms says

    Sadly, he actually started out somewhat strongly, with I think Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer which were very well recieved. I watched and enjoyed those three, and remember thinking that his style was silly but enjoyable, and that his star was rising swiftly. Then I watched Little Nicky and went off his movies cold turkey. Given the fact that his slump has lasted a good 15 years without his profits abating one bit, I doubt he will see any reason to change.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    I expect France to give Adam Sandler a Légion d’honneur award any day now.

  4. jws1 says

    I thought Cleveland’s baseball team had abandoned the racist mascot. On Sportscenter highlights I see a red letter “C” on the team’s hat where that hideous face use to be. Is it in the building or printed on tickets? On a related note, is it bad that I still like the movie “Major League”?

  5. jws1 says

    Oh. Why can’t these great captains of industry be actual leaders, take a stand and abandon the damn logo? Fans who threaten to end their fandom over it are usually liars: they return as soon as the winning does.

  6. says

    There’s a lot of online comedy about how Adam Sandler projects are all basically 90 minute commercials. They’re loaded with product placement at a rate higher than pretty much any movie or TV show you can think of, in the laziest way possible. Once all of that money comes in, the movies cost barely anything for the studio. They are all basically vacations for his buddies who work for relatively cheap, and they make enough profit to keep being inflicted on the world. There’s no real story or plot, and the “scripts” are probably rough outlines that his (mostly failed) stand-up buddies just riff on a couple of minutes before the cameras roll.

  7. doublereed says

    I think most people recognize that Adam Sandler actually has a decent amount of talent both in comedy and acting. But for some reason he seems to revert to his man-child shtick whenever possible which got old like two decades ago. He relies on a lot of focus groups for his movies, which is kind of like letting youtube comments decide the direction of your ideas.

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