Navigate to News section

Revisiting Adam Sandler’s Debut Album ‘They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!’

Yeah, maybe he’s mailed it in. But Adam Sandler’s perverted, idiotic, cuss-heavy record is still a comedy classic.

Jonathan Zalman
January 13, 2016

The 2016 Razzies nominations were announced on Wednesday—the awards highlight the worst in movies and acting—and Adam Sandler is all over the list, for Pixels and The Cobbler. (I didn’t see either of them, which was apparently the thing to do.) Sandler’s Netflix flick The Ridiculous 6, I read, was received just as poorly. But this isn’t an article about Sandler falling off because I really couldn’t care less about that now. Sure it’s disappointing, but that’s life. For me, Sandler hit the hardest when I was a kid and I’m OK with that being what it is.

In 1993, Adam Sandler, about two years into his stint on SNL, released his debut comedy album They’re All Gonna Laugh at You! It was the first comedy album I ever owned (I had it on tape), and it cracked me and my friends—Boston boys (Sandler is a New Englander himself)—up endlessly. A common effect of the “best” albums, I recall feeling like it was written directly for me, a perverted adolescent—the best time, really, to be alive. In retrospect, the comedic success of this album—and by success I don’t mean how it charted, but rather how much it farted—was inevitable. Performers and writers included Conan O’Brien (whose late-night show debuted the same year the album came out), Rob Schneider, Tim Meadows, David Spade, Robert Smigel, and Judd Apatow. (This feature by SPIN, on the oral history of the album, is a great primer, too.) They swore endlessly, talked about penises and stuff, and beat up people at some fictional school. For a middle schooler, this is gold.

Here are some of my favorite tracks to the album, mostly skits, arranged by theme. Enjoy them on your own, or use them as a parenting device. Whichever you choose, remember: Sandler’s a pioneer, so he’s allowed a run of duds these days.

The Buffoon and the Dean of Admissions” (Themes: Boners and testicles; Hatred for mom, dad, teachers, and secretaries; diarrhea)

The Longest Pee” (Themes: pee, out of control pee)

The Beating of a High School Janitor” (Themes: mopping, beating people up)

The Buffoon and the Valedictorian” (Themes: Siskel & Ebert, breasts, firecrackers, fellatio)

The Thanksgiving Song” (Sandler’s vocal range is clearly underrated!)

Oh Mom…” (Highlight: “No… They’re all gonna laugh at you!”)

At a Medium Pace” (Theme: hand jobs)

Lunchlady Land” (This song is just tops. Sandler’s refrain of “Hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders, navy beans, navy beans, meat loaf sandwich” is just fantastic. And this song made me look up the word “gout.”)

Toll Booth Willie” (Themes: Swearing; Worcester, Massachusetts (holler!); Louisville Sluggers; swearing)

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.