It’s not uncommon for men in their forties and fifties to reconnect with old buddies, maybe watch a game, have a few cold ones, perhaps even head out of town for a guys' trip. Happens all the time. Very rarely, however, are these men paid for such an experience.
But such is life for comedy veterans like Adam Sandler, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Nick Swardson. The four old friends, who play Smart Financial Centre on Tuesday as part of Sandy Wexler’s Here Comes the Funny Tour, will no doubt entertain the audiences with comedic riffs on dating, family life, success and any other number of topics.
Of course, considering the men – particularly Sandler, Spade and Schneider – have been friends for decades dating back to their days on Saturday Night Live, they’re just as likely to entertain one another during their respective sets. If anything, this tour was an excuse for the old friends to catch up.
“With your buddies, it’s hard, because people get busy and everyone scatters,” Spade said in a recent phone conversation. “This really is the best trick to get everyone together. At this point, with families, wives and kids, getting everyone together for dinner is hard. When you have to work together, it’s a great reason to get together. If not, everyone just fades apart.”
Seeds for the tour were laid while Sandler, Spade, Schneider and Swardson were filming the Netflix original comedy Sandy Wexler (it debuts on Friday). Sandler continually asked Spade how his standup sets were going, to the point where Spade wondered aloud why Sandler didn’t consider a return to the stage.
That led to a few pop-up gigs at various comedy clubs where Spade was an announced performer and an unadvertised Sandler would jump onstage and work through some material. The new material was a hit, and a tour was born. To Spade, the chance to perform alongside his friends made for one hell of an opportunity.
“It’s fun because we usually watch each other on the sideline and make fun of each other backstage,” he says. “We all come out at the end and wave and say good-bye. The audience knows we know each other, and it’s nice for them to see that.”
As for what Tuesday night has in store, expect some variety. Spade tends to opine and provide insight on the ins and outs of daily life. Schneider will get political, which Spade contends he will not do.
“I’ve always stayed away from the political stuff because I’m just scared,” he says. “Like if I said that Trump is really taking this whole ‘bring your daughter to work thing a little too seriously,’ then people think I’m either for or against him. It’s too risky. But Rob goes there; he’s got the balls.”
As for Sandler, Spade says his friend has worked through the stage rust and put together a fresh set of material. In fact, he at one point was so satisfied with his new material that he was reticent to revisit the old stuff – songs like “The Chanukah Song” and “Lunchlady Land.”
“He told me at one point that he didn’t want to do the old stuff, and I’m like, ‘Journey still plays ‘Don’t Stop Believing,'" Spade says.
One new Sandler song that has generated a ton of buzz during the tour was penned in tribute to the late, great Chris Farley, who died of a drug overdose almost 20 years ago. Spade, who co-starred with Farley on Saturday Night Live and in films like Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, will forever share a bond with Farley. The two comedians’ personas – Spade the dry smart-ass, Farley the larger-than-life comedic tour de force – were so perfectly aligned that Spade admits he would have been open to future projects with Farley.
And while he admits that he doesn’t particularly care to discuss the heartbreak that accompanies the loss of such a good friend – and really, who could blame him? – Spade says that time has helped heal wounds.
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“I can’t say that I think about him every day anymore, but it’s almost every day,” he says. “It was every day for ten straight years, but you hear the [Sandler] song, it still makes you cry. I have to move around backstage while it plays, because if you stop, it sucks you in so fast.”
Tommy Boy, released more than 20 years ago, was designed as a way to showcase a couple of young SNL talents with 90 minutes of banter and “fatty falls down” humor. It ended up a cult classic, one that forever bonded Spade with his late co-star.
“It was the ultimate in thinking you’re sitting on something great, but you’re not really sure,” he says. “It could go either way, but it was very fun to do it. We made some great memories.”
Sandy Wexler's Here Comes the Funny Tour, featuring Adam Sandler, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Nick Swardson, arrives at Sugar Land's Smart Financial Centre on Tuesday, April 11. Tickets are $89.50-$159.50.