Sandler, who returned to host SNL for the first time since he left the series as a cast member in 1995, said on the Dan Patrick Show that he became "really upset" when he first rehearsed the song ahead of the live show.
"It was scheduled, but it kind of got sprung on me quick," the comic said on Monday. "I had to mentally get ready because when I was singing the Farley song in the studio in rehearsals, I kept getting really upset because I loved just being in 8H — the studio. It was making me upset."
Sandler, 52, performed a song highlighting some of Farley's memorable characters and sketches on SNL, as well as his time spent with his late friend. The song also included emotional lyrics about his kids watching old clips of Farley on the show.
"I couldn't really sing it out loud. I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me off and upset," he said about rehearsals for the tribute. "I was like, 'Oh man, I got to prepare for this — for the show — to try not to break down.'"
He said that he didn't want to let anyone down at SNL.
"They were probably thinking, 'Oh man, you gotta stay calm. Stay calm.' Nobody wants to see you cry like an idiot the whole song, you know?" he said.
To help keep him even-keel, Sandler said he used his wife and kids as a distraction just before the performance. He waved to them and pointed out to the audience that his family was also sitting with them, and audience members all waved to his wife and kids.
"Then I got on there and strummed the guitar and was just trying to calm down and then they pointed to me. 'All right, we're rolling.' I said, 'OK, let's do this. Just stay steady,'" he recalled. "It was really cool."
During Sandler's time on SNL in the '90s, he was part of an all-star cast that included Farley, who died in 1997, shortly after Sandler left the show. Sandler's tribute to Farley was first included on his Netflix stand-up comedy special 100% Fresh.
“He was a one-man party, you know who I’m talking about: I’m talking about my man, Chris Farley,” Sandler sang. “On Saturday night, my man would always deliver / Whether he was the bumblebee girl or he was living in a van down by the river / He loved the Bears and Ditka, danced at Chippendale’s with Swayze / When they replaced his Folgers, he went full-on crazy.”0comments
Later in the song, Sandler shared how Farley has continued impact his life more than 20 years after his death.
“Hey buddy, life’s moved on but you still bring us so much joy / Make my kids laugh with your YouTube clips and Tommy Boy / And when they ask me who is the funniest guy I ever knew / I tell them hands down, without a doubt, it’s you," he sang.