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Funny You Should Ask: Adam Sandler on Money, Life and Eating It on Stage

Adam Sandler's not as pudgy as recent press accounts suggest. And he's eager to distant himself from the $20 million paycheck conversations, but in a Manhattan hotel he's happier than Gilmore.

Sandler likes his new movie Mr. Deeds. But he also (horrors!) defends his last bomb Little Nicky. He sounds sincere when he says he hates it when people lose money on him. And his own wealth? Like the affable Deeds, he's a fish out of water, even if it is Evian.

McCuddy: Do you have a butler?

Sandler: Uh, no, no, no. I have a buddy of mine that I grew up with who lives in my house. On occasion I go, 'Hey, you wanna make some of those little pizza things?' And he goes, 'No, come on man, I'm sleepin.' I got one of those.

McCuddy: But no butler.

Sandler: No butler, no.

McCuddy: What would Adam Sandler do with a butler?

Sandler: Feel guilty all the time. If I asked him to get something I'd feel like, 'Well maybe I should get it, you sit down.' Depends on how old the butler was.

McCuddy: How do you deal with wealth in your personal life?

Sandler: I'm a little psychotic. I didn't grow up like... Put it to you this way: My parents, I send them out, you know when I want them to visit, I buy my father a first class ticket, and my mother a first class ticket to come see me. And the next thing I know it's like (mom voice) 'We traded it in, we got eight coach (tickets). So now you don't have to pay (laughs) anymore.' So I kind of grew up thinking that to blow money is stupid. And you don't want to have too much more than your old man had. So I take it easy.

McCuddy: Remember Leno's old story about how he bought his parents a VCR when they first came out and they thought it was too expensive so he said, 'Oh it was only $99.' And the next day they called back and said, 'Your uncle wants one, and your brother wants one.'

Sandler: (Laughs) Ahhhh, that's right. That's right. That's a funny one.

McCuddy: Tell me about the first time you 'ate it' on stage.

Sandler: Literally, almost every time. I was 50-50. First of all, I was 17 when I went on my first time in Boston and I ate it terribly there. Five minutes of humiliation. But for some reason I drove home with my brother that night going, 'I liked it. That was fun.' (Laughs) I don't know why. And then when I came to the city, I went to NYU, I went on throughout college and I would say one out of three went all right. But like an idiot, I always invited friends or girls to come see me from my dorm. I'd be like (cool voice) 'I'm goin' on at the Paper Moon Friday at nine o'clock. Check it out.' And then they'd come and I'd eat it and I was like (eyes open wide) I gotta see that person after this?

McCuddy: Do you remember the first heckle?

Sandler: Oh, well actually the first night on stage I had a retainer in my mouth. And so it was either something like, 'That idiot's got braces,' or 'Lose the retainer.' Something like that.

McCuddy: Something clever.

Sandler: (Laughs) People didn't like me. I was young and cocky.

McCuddy: What happened on Little Nicky? When you look back and say 'I was in charge,' and that became that.

Sandler: Didn't make enough cash for everyone to be happy. But I do love the movie. I loved making it. And when a kid comes up to me on the street and says, 'Hey dude, I watched Little Nicky the other night,' I'm always happy. I'm glad they had fun watching it. I feel bad losing people's money. And hopefully we'll get them back that cash. But I still love the movie.

McCuddy: You're OK with a 'one out of three' being funny the way it was in stand-up?

Sandler: No, that, that, that ... See I think Little Nicky is funny. I really think it could be our funniest movie that we did. If I was going to throw one in, I'd put that one in, you know. I don't watch my movies too much but if I had to I'd watch that one.

McCuddy: That's the 'Kubrick' film that years from now we'll look back and go...

Sandler: I don't know if anyone besides me ... I know when I have a kid I'll make him like that one the best too. 'You stick with me on this Nicky thing.'

McCuddy: Is there too much pressure on you when you're running the show? Do the suits say, 'Oh Adam will make this funny?'

Sandler: (Laughs) No. Usually I do it with my buddy so they always say, 'Adam's guys will make it funny.' And I'm always in there working. Yeah, I don't sleep very much. And I'm constantly thinking. But, uh, like, I know I gotta get this done, and that done, and that done. But I'm psyched. I Iove when the movie's complete and I get to say, 'I was a big part of that thing and I like it.' So it's worth it to me.

"Mr. Deeds" opens Friday, June 28.