Adam Sandler earns ‘SNL’ season-high ratings, and pays tribute to Chris Farley

Will Heath/NBC

(NEW YORK) — Adam Sandler returned over the weekend to host Saturday Night Live for the first time since he left the show 24 years ago, delivering laughs, a touching tribute to his former cast mate, Chris Farley, and a much-needed ratings boost.

The episode, which also featured appearances from SNL vets Chris Rock, Kristen Wiig and Jimmy Fallon, plus musical guest Shawn Mendes, equaled the season high audience numbers set by two previous episodes this season: the holiday show in December hosted by Matt Damon, with musical guests Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus; and the 2018 season premiere, with host Adam Driver and musical guest Kanye West.

Sandler joined SNL in 1990 as a writer before later earning his spot as an on-air regular.  However, he was fired five years later, along with fellow “bad boys” Farley, Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider.

Sandler closed out the episode with a touching tribute to Farley, who died of a drug overdose in 1997 — a four-minute-plus song that recapped the pair’s personal friendship and Farley’s time on SNL, as clips from the comedian played on a screen in the background.  Sandler debuted the song in his recent Netflix comedy special, Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh.

Earlier, Chris Rock joined Sandler for his monologue — a song about being fired from the show.

Sandler and Farley last appeared as regular cast members in a 1995 show hosted by Bob Saget and featuring TLC as the musical guest, though Farley played Newt Gingrich in an episode in 1996.

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