“It was scheduled, but it kind of got sprung on me quick,” Sandler said about the performance. “I had to mentally get ready because when I was singing the Farley song in the studio in rehearsals, I kept getting really upset because I loved just being in 8H — the studio. It was making me upset.”
During his first time hosting the long-running sketch show, Sandler performed a song dedicated to his late friend and fellow SNL alum. The song highlighted some of Farley’s memorable characters and sketches on SNL. Sandler took a walk down memory lane and sang about his time spent with Farley throughout the tribute. The song also included emotional lyrics about his kids watching old clips of Farley on the show.
“I couldn’t really sing it out loud. I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me off and upset,” he said about the rehearsals for the tribute. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I got to prepare for this — for the show — to try not to break down.'”
He added that he didn’t want to let down anyone at the show. “They were probably thinking, ‘Oh man, you gotta stay calm. Stay calm. Nobody wants to see you cry like an idiot the whole song, you know?'” he said.
Sandler shared that he used his wife and kids as a distraction before the performance. After he waved to them and pointed out to the audience that his family was also in attendance, the audience members all waved to his wife and kids.
“Then I got on there and strummed the guitar and was just trying to calm down and then they pointed to me. “All right, we’re rolling.” I said, ‘Okay, let’s do this. Just stay steady,'” he recalled. “It was really cool.”
Sandler’s time hosting SNL marked his first time back at studio 8H since he left the series as a castmember in 1995.
Listen to the full interview below.