When Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler told Oprah Winfrey on her show yesterday about the time when Aniston turned down Lorne Michaels and the chance to join Saturday Night Live, more than a few people may have been more than a little shocked. Aniston? On SNL?
Here's the clip:
Now before you think this is some made-up story to help promote their upcoming movie: Just Go With It. Seriously.
There's more than enough reason for Sandler to know not only who Aniston was in 1994, but also why he'd want her on his show. Because Aniston was 25 when Friends debuted in September 1994. And before that, she had performed sketch comedy on network TV in FOX's short-lived series, The Edge, which aired during the 1992-93 season. The Edge may not have had the staying power of In Living Color, but it did boast plenty of names of people you know today.
MTV's Julie Brown was nominally the host, Edd Hall provided voiceovers, Bill Plympton provided animation sequences between sketches, and the cast included, in addition to Aniston: Wayne Knight (who went on to mess up Jurassic Park and torment Seinfeld as "Newman!"), Paul Feig (who went on to create Freaks and Geeks), Jill Talley and Tom Kenny (who later married, with future successes on Mr. Show and SpongeBob SquarePants), Rick Overton, and Alan Ruck! Kevin Nealon even somehow ended up in a couple of episodes while still on SNL?! And the show's creator David Mirkin, went on to show-run The Simpsons from 1993-95.
But what about Aniston as sketch comedian? Here's a look at the start of one episode, in which Aniston voices the butt of Goldie Hawn (as well providing said rear end?), then plays a Guns N' Roses groupie with Brown spouting that classic movie line, "A dingo ate my baby," then the victim of a practical joke:
And here she is in a bikini for a Sports Illustrated spoof:
So, knowing what we know now about the 1994-95 season of SNL -- it's generally considered one of the weakest seasons -- Aniston certainly made a wise career move at the time. Although can you imagine what that season may have been with her? Hmmmmm.....
MTV News caught up with Chris Rock and Adam Sandler on the red carpet for their current movie, Grown Ups, and asked them about their work as producers on an upcoming biopic of the late Richard Pryor. Marlon Wayans is slated to star as Pryor, and Rock defends that choice in this clip. As for when the movie will get made? That remains up in the air. Director Bill Condon, who also wrote the script for Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?, has a full plate already this year and will be directing the fourth Twilight film, Breaking Dawn. So when will we get to see a Pryor biopic?
Every so often, a comedian decides to sing; and of course, there's a whole genre of musical comedians who do only that. But it's quite rare to find a comedian have one of his or her songs covered by an even more famous singer. Such was the case, we learned this fall, with Neil Diamond performing a cover version of Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song," which you may recall first seeing and hearing on Saturday Night Live, and then every December since on your radio. It's on Diamond's new Christmas disc, "A Cherry Cherry Christmas," and now we have an official music video for it. Would you have guessed that it's animated? Roll it! Happy Holidays...
Oh, and here is Sandler performing his song live years ago:
If the initial trailers for Funny People, the third film written and directed by Judd Apatow, looked a little bit too melodramatic to be a comedy, then, well, that's because it is just that. As Apatow explains in the hourlong documentary, Inside Funny People (which debuted at midnight on Comedy Central, with repeats planned for noon Tuesday and 3 a.m. Thursday): “It's hard to make a comedy that’s really more a drama than a comedy. I don’t know if I can do it.” But do it he did.
The wealth of background material on the "funny people" who inhabit the film already has proven to be quite remarkable in promoting the movie and showing that it is about comedians. Apatow's documentary featurettes also reveal just how much of himself he poured into the film, as well as how much of a comedy nerd he was and still is. Case in point: Apatow says the following early in his Comedy Central documentary about the need to get all of his actors back onstage in comedy clubs...
“There’s a feeling you get when you do stand-up, that you just need to experience to know what it’s about. It’s the terror of revealing yourself, and the feeling that if I don’t get a laugh this time, I must get it next time or I will not be able to sleep at night.”
In the special (sure to be on the DVD, which at this point may have to be a box set!), Apatow shows us how he incorporated video he shot of Sandler back when the two shared an apartment in Los Angeles right after both had left college, and used it as a plot device in the film (with Sandler's character making actual prank phone calls, just as he had as a 21-year-old). It's a meta move, but seeing it documented on film is also very endearing. Apatow also shows clips of Sandler performing at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Calif., 18 years ago, and then again last year as Sandler shook off the stand-up rust to get into character. You see clips of both Sandler and Apatow on A&E's at the Improv with Budd Friedman, then also Sandler at a lunch roundtable in the Improv last year with Friedman, Paul Reiser, George Wallace, Carol Leifer, Monty Hoffman and Mark Schiff (comics Apatow said he and Sandler looked up to when they were trying to get stage time). There's footage of Seth Rogen performing stand-up at the tender age of 13 (different from the clip of 13-year-old Seth Rogen I posted back in April), as well as joke-writing sessions that included help from Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Allen Covert, and footage from several of the stand-up performances -- much of which I'm sure will also pop up in a separate Comedy Central special this Friday, Funny People: Live.
Performing jokes for strangers is a feat in itself. Doing it after a long time away from it, combined with the massive expectations that audiences normally heap upon their stars, can even keep some greats from making a so-called "comeback" to his or her roots. (Remind me sometime to share my thoughts on Eddie Murphy's absence from the stage and his brother, Charlie Murphy, who has filled that stand-up void in recent years) Anyhow.
In this clip, we not only get to see Sandler return to stand-up stages and comedy clubs to rehearse his routines for Funny People (they're self-aware enough to focus in on the fact that Sandler was so rusty he hit himself in the lip with the microphone trying to work the mic stand!), but we also get to see footage of him performing in his basement as a 15-year-old. Great stuff!Funny People - Featurette - Adam Sandler Returns to Stand Up