Adam Sandler’s first stand-up special in decades(?), 100% Fresh, is an hour and 13 minutes long. The last 13 minutes is great. The first hour is not. Use your fast-forward button wisely.
The last 13 minutes is great because it features two songs: One a touching tribute to the late Chris Farley that contains a lot of old photos and footage of Farley, and the second, an updated version of “Grow Old with You,” from The Wedding Singer written as a tribute to Sandler’s wife, Jacqueline Sandler. Both are very sweet, a little raunchy, and very touching (the extended guitar solo on the Farley song, however, is unnecessary). If you are a fan of Chris Farley, The Wedding Singer, or Sandler — or ever were a fan of Sandler — skip to the last 13 minutes. It’s all you need to watch.
The first hour, unfortunately, is kind of crap. Sandler’s Netflix stand-up special is as lazy as Sandler’s Netflix movies. It’s a series of random, half-formed stream-of-conscious jokes that he probably came up with on the toilet. Worst still is the fact that his songs — usually Sandler’s strong suit — are also meandering, pointless, and mostly unfunny.
Sandler splices footage from several different shows in several different venues — cutting back and forth during even the same jokes — and if that weren’t jarring enough, the entire show is broken up into a joke-song-joke-song-joke-song format, so he never gains much in the way of momentum, because every punchline is met with another lame song. If there was a “theme” to 100% Fresh it’s that it’s all mostly profanity-laced Dad jokes, homoerotic humor, and bits about having sex with his wife. Occasionally a joke will land, but even when it does, it’s not allowed any time to breathe before he’s on to his next song.
The songs are, by and large, very bad. He sings about a smelly Uber driver; he sings a song that’s less of a song and just a list of Halloween candies; there’s a song about peeing in places like the sink or the pool because the toilet is too far away; and he sings “Bar Mitzvah Boy,” which is original to this special but feels so warmed over and rehashed that I thought it was something off an old album. There’s also a song called “Station 69” about astronauts doing 69 in zero gravity that features a cameo from Rob Schneider. It’s exactly how it sounds.
Moreover, in an age where most stand-up acts feel like confessionals, Sandler does absolutely no soul-baring. He jokes about telling his daughter during a game of mini-golf that he teabagged her mother in order to throw his daughter off her game. He jokes about how his wife once simultaneously farted and queefed in his face; he jokes about making a connection with a random guy from Oklahoma on a roller coaster; and he jokes about doing anal with his wife (though, there’s a twist). The show’s recurring joke is one about finding a ghost in a dick pic, but being unable to share it with his friends because his dick is in it.
And these were the best jokes, or at least the ones more fully formed than the sort of random observations about how his wife likes to apply moisturizer on him all the time, or about how his Dad used to shave his beard once a decade, or about how quiet electric cars are. There’s just not much substance in the show — it’s silly and facile, and that’s OK. Adam Sandler is not exactly Hannah Gadsby and I wasn’t expecting him to be. Unfortunately, 100 % Fresh is not funny, either, even in the sophomoric sense. It’s just bad, though I do applaud one fantastic lyric from his updated version of “Grow Old with You”: “Now when I’m on a diet, you take away all my potatoes / say fuck all those guys after reading Rotten Tomatoes / I hope they all die miserable deaths as I grow old with you!” By and large, however, Sandler seems incapable of conjuring up much of that magic he had in the early ’90s. 100% Fresh is 87 percent rotten, and like his Netflix movies, it feels completely phoned in. With that said, the last 13 minutes are terrific, schmaltzy, show-stopping songs that remind us all that, while Sandler may not be a great comic anymore, he’s a loyal and fairly likable doof.
Header Image Source: Netflix