One of the great moments in comedy movie history could have turned out much differently. Dan Patrick hosts an IMDB/Amazon podcast called “That Scene,” and the latest installment has Adam Sandler and his longtime writing partner Tim Herlihy talking about the fight scene with Bob Barker in Happy Gilmore.
Sandler revealed that the original choice for that scene was not actually Bob Barker, but Ed McMahon: “We loved Ed McMahon and we loved Johnny [Carson]. I remember being so young and cocky then that we literally would say when we sent [the role] to Ed McMahon, ‘Of course he’s gonna do it. It would be good for him. This is good for his career to be in a movie getting in a fight with me.'”
Sandler quipped that McMahon probably never even saw the offer and that his manager cut it off, wondering why he’d roll around with him.
There was one condition on which the longtime Price Is Right host would accept the role: “Barker read it, and his first response, and I know he’d probably tells everybody this, I’ll do it but I have to win the fight.”
As Sandler tells it, Barker lived next door to Chuck Norris and trained with him for the fight scene. One other nugget: Judd Apatow, who was Sandler’s roommate back in the day, was credited with writing the “price is wrong, bitch” line.
With how much Happy Gilmore has been covered in internet nostalgia, it’s interesting that I had never heard this tidbit about Ed McMahon before.