If Mariah Carey is the Queen of Christmas (and she doesn’t think she is), Adam Sandler is the King of Hanukkah. Back in 1994, while still on SNL, the latter debuted “The Chanukah Song,” which he wrote due to the dearth of songs celebrating the Jewish festival during the holidays. It was an instant classic, one he’s since updated, and it gave Sandler another holiday song after “The Thanksgiving Song,” which he bowed two years prior. Thing is, Sandler almost wasn’t the one who sang it.
Per Deadline, Sandler sat down for a chat with Access Hollywood, during which he reminisced about the episode in which it first aired. It was December 3, 1994, and the host was Roseanne Barr, with Green Day as musical guest. But Lorne Michaels and company thought about giving the song to another member of the Tribe.
“They were talking about Roseanne singing it, and she was nice enough to say ‘No, let Adam do that, that’s his, he wrote it, that’s his song,’” he recalled.
“I’m happy to be a part of Hanukkah,” he added. “That was a good time of life to be associated with the song and the holiday. Very proud of that.”
Sandler says he’s still a fan of it. “I sing it alone, I sing it without the kids, I go into our basement, I rip it out, I do the soft-shoe to it,” Sandler said. “No, if it comes on the radio, and I hear it, I get excited, that’s still awesome.”
Would the song have worked if sung by Roseanne? Give that her most famous musical moment is a notoriously withering take on the “Star Spangled Banner,” maybe not. Given the direction her life has taken in the last handful of years, maybe it’s for the best Lorne let Sandler do it up.
You can watch the original SNL rendition of “The Chanukah Song” in the video above. You can watch his Access Hollywood chat below.