When I heard Late Night with Jimmy Fallon had nabbed an interview with Adam Sandler, I gotta admit that part of me cringed. The thought of watching him play the bashful boy-man through ten minutes of awkward talk show banter filled me with dread. But Sandler — who isn’t just press shy, but a conscientious objector to the stuff — turned out to be graceful, open, and effortlessly funny. He was Gene Kelly out there: impossible to trip or fluster. Maybe it’s because he and Fallon are both SNL alums that Sandler was at ease. But it still surprised me that when Fallon asked him about his marriage, Sandler served up a charming anecdote about the anniversary cards he and his wife give each other — “Mine always begin with: I’m sorry!” His best bit was describing what its like to be a dad while also being famous: “When I take my kid to school, all the parents stop and stare. Some guy’s always saying ‘put out that joint!’ Now I gotta wear underwear with my sweatpants.” Who knew the unplugged Sandler could be so down-to-earth and I-wanna-have-a-beer-with-this-guy delightful?
More on Sandler after the jump
Not me. It’s not that Sandler’s half-baked thug-mensch schtick doesn’t tickle my funny bone. The Happy Gilmore Bob Barker beat-down still stands up as solid- gold comedy (“the price is wrong, bitch”). It’s just that Sandler has always completely avoided the glad-handing, love-me-on-screen-and-off part of being a movie star. He never, ever does print interviews; and he’ll usually put in one teeth-gritting talk-show appearance per movie. I remember watching him on The Russell Brand Show looking like a kid who’s been sent to the vice principal’s office.
The funny thing is, the fact that he doesn’t pimp out his off-camera personna has never made me want to see his movies any less. And obviously, I’m not alone in not caring if he mixes it up with the ladies on The View. His movies have made almost $2 billion domestically. I’m not suggesting that Sandler’s strategy would work for everyone. Megan Fox might just be another bodacious pinup without her saucy talk to salivating journalists. But it makes me wonder where certain stars might be if they had put a moratorium on self-promotion. Probably no impact on most established names, right? But what about someone like Ashton Kutcher: Might he be a bigger star if he revealed less about his every waking moment? What do you think PopWatchers?