Sandler, 52, told the “Dan Patrick Show” during an interview that he had to overcome his own emotions to perform the song dedicated to his late friend and former co-star.
“It was scheduled, but it kind of got sprung on me quick,” Sandler said. “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’s tribute referenced many of his late friend’s hit sketches and characters, including the motivational speaker character Matt Foley, whose catchphrase “I live in a van down by the river” has made audiences laugh for decades. He also sang about his personal memories of Farley, recalling how he was “funniest guy I ever knew.”
"I couldn't really sing it out loud,” Sandler said in the interview. “I was kind of mumbling because his image and stuff was making me off and upset. I was like, 'Oh man, I got to prepare for this — for the show — to try not to break down.'"
Farley, who starred on the sketch show with Sandler in the early 1990’s, died of a drug overdose in December 1997 at age 33.
Sandler said he waved to his wife and kids in the audience before he sang, sharing that it was their presence that helped him through the performance.
"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 said. "It was really cool."