When it comes to funny people in Hollywood, Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are pretty high up on the list. So it should come as no surprise to their fans that Sandler and Apatow’s comedy connection goes back decades. Their best-known project is probably 2009’s Funny People, a movie written and directed by Apatow, which stars Sandler as a world-famous comedian who is diagnosed with a terminal illness. But Funny People is far from the only time Sandler and Apatow have worked together, and the pair actually has a surprising personal connection to one another.
Alongside Funny People, Sandler and Apatow also collaborated on the 2008 film You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, which stars Sandler as an Israeli army counter-terrorist commando who becomes a hairdresser in New York City. As well as playing the lead role, Sandler also came up with the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Apatow and Robert Smigel. More recently, Apatow made a cameo in Sandler’s Netflix vehicle, Sandy Wexler. But movies aren’t the only thing that Sandler and Apatow have in common. Here’s what you need to know about their surprising connection.
Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow were roommates
Anyone who’s seen Funny People will remember the candid footage of a young Adam Sandler at the start of the film, making prank phone calls from his apartment alongside some friends. Well, that footage was actually shot by Judd Apatow when the pair shared an apartment together in Los Angeles early in both of their careers. As noted by The New York Times, “In grainy video a boyishly goofy Mr. Sandler, still in his 20s with a tilted baseball cap on his head, is shown as he lies across a messy bed in a dingy Los Angeles apartment, making prank phone calls to the delight of a few off-screen observers.”
In 2012, Apatow and Sandler gave a joint interview on 60 Minutes Overtime with Anderson Cooper (via The Hollywood Reporter). The director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin revealed of his time living with Sandler, “Back then, life was just doing stand-up or writing jokes. You would sleep until noon every day and kind of stumble out.” He continued, “You would have to be at work at 8:30 at night. Work was sometimes 15 minutes.” Basically, the late-night lifestyle of two comedians who just so happened to be roommates was pretty much what you might expect.
Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow's Red Lobster treat
Adam Sandler moved out of the Los Angeles apartment he shared with Knocked Up director Judd Apatow in the early ’90s when he was cast on Saturday Night Live. However, despite relocating to New York, Sandler apparently continued to pay his part of the rent every month, in case he lost his job and needed to move back to Los Angeles. Apatow revealed during his appearance with Sandler on 60 Minutes Overtime (via The Hollywood Reporter), “He just left, like he was going to come back, but he just didn’t come back.” While Sandler was famously fired from SNL in 1995, by then, he’d started his successful comedy career, and he’d soon become a major movie star.
Before Sandler moved out, he and Apatow shared a lot of great experiences together. As Sandler joked on 60 Minutes Overtime, “It wasn’t broke. We were doing as comedians good enough to get by … We could eat at Red Lobster once every month. That was a big night out.” Although before he hit the big time with his role on Saturday Night Live, it sounds as though Sandler had some commitment issues when it came to spending money. Per Apatow, “Adam always had a rental car. He never bought a car for literally 12 years.” Apatow was also quick to reveal that Sandler’s cars were usually “filled to the brim with trash and McDonald’s bags,” which is pretty relatable.
Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow are friends for life
In 2015, to celebrate the release of Judd Apatow’s book Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy, Adam Sandler appeared alongside the director on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “He’s always been the sweetest, nicest, most giving guy,” Sandler said, singing Apatow’s praises. “We were roommates, and he was just always about everybody else. We had no idea you were going to become whatever the hell you are right now.”
Apatow is married to the actress Leslie Mann, who co-starred alongside Sandler in Funny People. Of her husband’s longtime friendship with Sandler, Mann told The New York Times, “When you achieve a certain amount of success and you’re surrounded by people who will basically tell you anything, you can’t always trust what those people are saying.” As a result, Mann revealed that Sandler is Apatow’s “touchstone person,” who “keeps him grounded and gives him reliably honest feedback.” Basically, it sounds as though former roommates Sandler and Apatow are going to be friends for life.
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