Word came last night that Adam Sandler’s next four movies will be available exclusively on Netflix. It may seem odd for one of the most successful actors of the past 20 years to take his work out of movie theaters and onto the Internet, but these will be smaller-scale productions and he stands to make an absolute fortune from the deal. He’s also struck out with many of his recent films, including this summer’s Blended.
The news took us back to our first memories of Sandler, long before the endless flood of movies, classic songs like “At a Medium Pace” and “Lunchlady Land” and even Saturday Night Live. Back in 1989, the struggling comedian was largely known for playing bizarre characters like Trivia Delinquent and Stud Boy on MTV’s Remote Control and his blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearances as one of Theo’s friends on The Cosby Show. He was also moonlighting in comedy clubs around New York, slowly making a name for himself.
Here’s a clip of Sandler playing New York’s Comic Strip in 1989. The recent Tisch School of the Arts graduate sticks largely to self-depreciating jokes, like how his family clearly preferred his brother and his difficulty in talking to women. “I’m no good with good-looking girls,” he said. “They scare me. The ugly girls, they’re much easier to talk to.”
Right around this same time, Trimark Pictures took a chance on Sandler and cast him as the star of the low-budget cruise ship movie Going Overboard. It disappeared without a trace, but it wasn’t long until Saturday Night Live called him in for an audition and changed his life forever.