Adam Sandler performs emotional tribute to Chris Farley on "Saturday Night Live"

By Danielle Garrand

/ CBS News

Comedian Adam Sandler returned under the lights of NBC's Studio 8H to host "Saturday Night Live" for the very first time — nearly 25 years after leaving the show. While it may have been a long time since he was a cast member on the sketch show that gave him his start, he isn't forgetting about the past — especially his friend and former cast member, the late Chris Farley.

Sandler, who originated many popular characters and skits, including "The Chanukah Song" and "Opera Man" while on the show, took a moment at the end of the May 4 episode to honor Farley with a musical performance. Sandler took the dimly-lit stage with a guitar and microphone to sing a heartfelt tribute to his late friend.

"First time I saw him he was sweeter than honey," Sandler sang while playing his guitar. "Plaid jacket and belt too tight and he wasn't even being funny. Then he cartwheeled 'round the room and slow-danced with the cleaning lady ― he was a one-man party. You know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about my friend Chris Farley."

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At the mention of Farley's name, the audience in studio 8H went wild and an image of the late comedian appeared on a monitor. Sandler continued the melody, saying that Farley would always "deliver" no matter what role he was playing, as archival footage of sketches played.

Ending the night with @AdamSandler's tribute to Chris Farley. 💌 #SNL pic.twitter.com/FW1KkIETFu

— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) May 5, 2019

During the emotional four and a half minute performance, Sandler shared both happy and sad memories, from drinking after the week's show together, to seeing Farley cry in the office about his father.

Sandler also shared the last "big hang" the friends shared, which was at fellow SNL alumni Tim Meadows' wedding party. "But a few months later, the party came to an end," Sandler sang as his voice began to break. "We flew out to Madison to bury our friend. Nothing was harder than saying goodbye."

The comedian wrapped up the performance singing about Farley's legacy — how his videos still make Sandler's kids laugh. And, asked the audience to cheer loud enough, so, "maybe he'll hear us."

Farley and Sandler shared the show's stages in the '90s, becoming two of the breakout stars of the decade, as well as fast friends. But, the the pair were fired from "SNL" in 1995. "Yes, we were [fired]," Sandler said in a 2014 interview. "We kind of quit at the same time as being fired. It was the end of the run for us. The fact that me and him got fired? Who knows. We were on it for a few years, had our run, and everything happens for a reason …"

Two years later, Farley died in his Chicago apartment due to an overdose. He was just 33 years old.

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First published on May 5, 2019 / 10:04 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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