In 1994, Adam Sandler unveiled the iconic “The Chanukah Song” during a “Saturday Night Live” “Weekend Update” segment. Sandler, the creative force behind the holiday melody, recently shared with Access Hollywood that Roseanne Barr, the host that week, was initially considered to perform the song. However, Barr graciously deferred, recognizing Sandler’s ownership of the composition.
Reflecting on the origins of the song during the 1994 “Weekend Update” with Norm Macdonald, Sandler expressed his motivation to fill a musical void around Hanukkah. The lyrics playfully urged, “Put on your yarmulke. Here comes Hanukkah. So much funukah. To celebrate Hanukkah,” highlighting the festival of lights and the uniqueness of eight nights of celebration.
The humorous tune featured a roster of Jewish celebrities, including David Lee Roth, James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and Dinah Shore. Sandler injected wit by noting unexpected Jewish affiliations, such as Rod Carew’s conversion and Harrison Ford’s quarter-Jewish heritage.
Revisiting the success of “The Chanukah Song,” Sandler, often hailed as the king of Hanukkah, expressed pride in its enduring popularity. He candidly shared that he still performs the song privately, dancing to its rhythm in his basement. Even after all these years, hearing it on the radio remains an exciting and cherished experience for the comedian.