When Adam Sandler initially came up with the concept for “The Chanukah Song,” the prospect of him performing it on Saturday Night Live wasn’t immediately set in stone. Sandler and the SNL writers, who collaborated on the song, considered the possibility of Roseanne Barr taking the stage instead.
Barr, who is also Jewish, was being weighed as an option for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, because of her notoriety stemming from a controversial rendition of the U.S. National Anthem at a San Diego Padres game in 1990. Barr was also super relevant at the time thanks to her hit sitcom Roseanne. Her singing abilities were less than stellar, too, making her a great choice to sing a silly song on a sketch comedy show.
Sandler addressed the decision in an interview with Access Hollywood. “They were talking about Roseanne singing it… she was nice enough to say ‘No, let Adam do that, that’s his, he wrote it, that’s his song.’”
“I’m happy to be a part of Hanukkah. That was a good time of life to be associated with the song and the holiday. Very proud of that,” Sandler continued. “I sing it alone. I sing it without the kids. I go into our basement, I rip it out. I do the soft shoe to it. No, if it comes on the radio, and I hear it, I get excited. That’s still awesome.”
Adam Sandler Stills Plays ‘The Chanukah Song’ Regularly
Since its inaugural airing in 1994, Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of his stand-up performances, maintaining its presence in his comedic repertoire to this day. Sandler’s adept fusion of music and humor proved instrumental when he took on the lead role in the 1998 film “The Wedding Singer.” That film was a beloved production that stands as a cornerstone of his early “golden age” of movies — alongside hits like “Happy Gilmore” and “Billy Madison.”
In 2002, Sandler ventured into the realm of animated comedy with “Eight Crazy Nights.” This Chanukah-themed film prominently featured his iconic song. It marked the second occasion, the first being Sandler’s 1999 album “Stan and Judy’s Kid,” where the song underwent a transformation, with updates to its lyrics to reflect contemporary pop culture references.
A subsequent revision occurred in 2015. It showcased Sandler’s commitment to keeping the song relevant by incorporating new celebrities and events. Notably, other artists who have covered the song also followed suit. They’ll also routinely swap out outdated references for those that resonate with modern audiences.
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