SNL walked away with another Best Variety Sketch Series award at the 2019 Emmys, but despite the recent controversies, criticisms by the president or the ongoing debate over the quality of the show, the focus on stage in Los Angeles Sunday was elsewhere.
Lorne Michaels gave the acceptance speech for the award and shared that the episode submitted for the category was Adam Sandler's return to the show. The Happy Gilmore actor returned to host after 24 years and closed out his appearance with a tribute his late friend Chris Farley.
Michaels was clearly overcome with some emotion during the speech, echoing Sandler during rehearsals for the performance, and spoke from a rare place while describing the tribute.
"It was a very, very chilling moment and very powerful." Lorne Michaels reveals that the episode of #SaturdayNightLive they submitted for best variety sketch series was the one with Adam Sandler's tribute to Chris Farley https://t.co/WmT1Fmyol4 #Emmys pic.twitter.com/SPFeygEkid— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 23, 2019
“This means a lot,” Michaels said through tears. “The show we submitted was the show Adam Sandler did. He came back to host 24 years after he left, and in middle of the show he did a tribute to Chris Farely, and the crew and the cast and everyone who was in that studio, most of whom worked here when Chris Farley and Adam Sandler were young men, it’s rare that you see a camera man tear up or the boom crew crying. It was a very chilling moment, and very powerful.”
He added that the moment was one thing that keeps the show going before joking that the politics do too, according to Deadline.
Farley was one of the prime cast members during the mid-'90s boom period for Saturday Night Live. Along with Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and a few others, he helped to define the comedy of the show for half the decade before moving on to film for a short career.
His death from overdose in 1997 was a major hit on fans, comedians and his fellow castmates at SNL. Sandler's tribute captured that and the win for the show, while expected, shows how strong that could be.
Sandler spoke out following the show's airing and revealed how hard it was to perform during rehearsals.
"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 said back in June. "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.'"
SNL beat out several great contenders for this year's award, including Who Is America? with Sacha Baron Cohen, Documentary Now! featuring SNL alums John Mulaney and Fred Armisen, I Love Your America with Sarah Silverman, Drunk History and At Home With Amy Sedaris.
SNL will return on Sept. 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.