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Sandler charts success

While many pop acts are having a tough time landing a spot on the charts, the comedy album from Adam Sandler is experiencing double-digit chart jumps. The comedian also has landed a role in an untitled Nora Ephron film and will be seen this summer in “Airheads” with Joe Mantegna.

But Sandler — perhaps best known as Opera Man or Cajun Man from “Saturday Night Live” (and no relation to the reporter) — admits to being surprised at the sales volume of the disc “They’re All Gonna Laugh at You,” considering how simply it was made.

“I was just screwing around in the recording studio with some of my friends,” Sandler said. “And this is what we came up with.” Getting the record deal was apparently equally easy.

“Lorne Michaels and Mo Ostin liked Opera Man so much, they let me do an album ,” Sandler said of the “Saturday Night Live” creator and Warner Bros. Records chairman.

The pair correctly estimated Sandler’s following. Sales of the disc are approaching 200,000 units, earning it a spot on Billboard’s Top 200 pop charts and making it one of the most successful comedy albums in the history of the genre.

Unlike traditional comedy albums that rely on warmed-over standup routines, Sandler’s disc sports vignettes he was unable to do on “SNL,” and he’s added a handful of off-center songs to keep things interesting. An animated musicvideo, based on his “Lunch Lady Land” routine of a harried high school cafeteria worker, is being completed to stoke additional marketing firepower.

Like most comedians, Sandler perfects his craft through standup routines. On tours of the collegiate circuit during breaks in the taping schedule of “SNL,” Sandler is among the top-drawing comics in the marketplace.

In addition to the film roles he’s landed, Sandler has several film projects of his own in the works, among them an untitled screenplay he’s scripting with “SNL” compatriot Tim Hurlihy.

The film, Sandler said, is autobiographical and will chronicle his life in school. His association with Michaels (who will bring “Lassie” to the big screen this year as part of a deal with Paramount Pictures) will tap Sandler into the studio.

Although his role in Ephron’s Christmas film will remain under wraps until the end of the year, “Airheads,” which is slated for a summer release from 20th Century Fox, is expected to raise his career profile even higher.

While he would like to get more involved in projects outside the “SNL” gig, Sandler realizes the break he’s been given. “I’ll stay on (the show) as long as they want me here. Lorne is giving me a good shot, and I don’t want to screw that up.”

Sandler, understandably, dismisses wags who say “SNL” has floundered. “We’ve succeeded in getting a whole new generation of people to watch the show,” he said, “and I’m proud of that.”

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