Adam Sandler followed the classic comedy career path of “star on SNL, then in every comedy movie ever made.” Or at least it seems that way. The entertainment icon’s prolific output has taken in over two billion dollars and given pals Rob Schneider, David Spade and Norm Macdonald plenty of cameo time. Before you catch Billy Madison on IFC this month, check out a few things you might not know about the man who made swans, lunch ladies and Bob Barker funny.
1. Billy Madison Really Hit Those Kids With A Dodgeball
Be honest: Billy Madison spiking those kids with a dodgeball was funny. At least Adam Sandler thought so, going for full method acting by hitting the tykes full force according to director Tamra Davis.
2. His First Role Was a Cruise Ship Comedian
Nowadays Adam Sandler makes millions just by showing up, but his first movie sank pretty fast. In Going Overboard, he starred as an unsuccessful stand-up comic on a cruise ship that gets hijacked by terrorists. The film — which also featured Billy Zane, Milton Berle and Billy Bob Thornton — failed to make waves upon its release in 1989, but was later released on home video during the post Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore years.
3. He was a College RA
Sandler was a Resident Adviser for fellow students while at New York University, a fact which has somehow not become the plot of one of his comedies.
4. Hotel Transylvania Features His Real Wife and Child
Sandler provided the voice of Dracula in the hilarious computer-animated comedy Hotel Transylvania. Early appearances of Drac’s wife and infant child have audio recorded from Adam’s wife Jackie and his daughter Sadie Sandler.
5. He almost starred in a Tom Cruise movie
Adam Sandler had a chance to be taxi driver Max in the literal Tom Cruise vehicle Collateral, but had to pass on the role due to other commitments. Jamie Foxx would score an Oscar nomination for the part.
6. Conan O’Brien appeared on his first comedy album
Sandler’s first comedy album, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!, featured many of his SNL cohorts providing comedic riffs. Former SNL writer Conan O’Brien can be heard as the deadpan voice of the Dean of Admissions who encounters Sandler’s Buffoon character.
7. Pac-Man’s Creator Is in Pixels
Adam Sandler’s videogame comedy Pixels had an actor playing Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani. But the real deal also appeared, with the genuine Toru appearing as an arcade machine repair man.
8. He got his start on MTV
Hardcore Sandler fans remember his appearances on the wacky MTV game show Remote Control opposite his comedy pal Colin Quinn. Adam performed characters on the show, many of which would inspire future bits on SNL.
9. He played Smitty on The Cosby Show
Before MTV, however, Sandler made his TV debut as Theo’s smooth-talking classmate Smitty. Several years later, Sandler would spoof The Cos and his unique speech patterns on SNL. It was a simpler time.
10. He once played a crazy clown
Before Billy Madison, Sandler played a small part in Bobcat Goldthwait’s cult comedy Shakes the Clown. It’s worth seeking out. Trust us, it’s awesome.