What: The return of Opera Man to the Weekend Update desk at SNL.
Who: Adam Sandler.
Why we care: At some point in 1995, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley were unceremoniously fired from Saturday Night Live, paving the way for the Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, and Cheri Oteri era. When Sandler finally squashed whatever beef he had with Lorne Michaels and returned to host the show on May 4, he proved the degree to which his firing was an incredible mistake.
Sandler’s episode marked one of the most consistently entertaining episodes in recent seasons, with sharp sketches about everything from reporters using Snapchat to realistic expectations for vacations and how clothes are just holes. But the moment that served as the most stark reminder of Sandler’s pivotal contribution to SNL in the early-’90s came when he revived his Opera Man character on Weekend Update. Who could have predicted that this bit would age like a celebrated libretto, rather than make elder millennials question everything they thought was funny way back when? Somehow, Sandler rattling off current events in singsong pidgin Italian is just as funny in reference to Harry Connick Jr. and Vice President Al Gore as it is to more modern issues like Game of Thrones and Seth Rogen. (For his part, Rogen was ecstatic to get name-checked by Opera Man.) Nostalgia aside, the bit succeeds on the strength of how its sheer silliness can mask punchy joke-writing. Sandler has undeniably still got it. Whether that means his next Netflix movie will be any good, though, is anybody’s guess.
Watch the entire performance below: