Sandler was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1966, the son of Judy, a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler, an electrical engineer. His family is Jewish, descending from immigrants from Russia on both sides. When he was five, his family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he attended Manchester Central High School. He found he was a natural comic, and nurtured his talent while at New York University by performing regularly in clubs and on campuses. His comedic influences included Mel Brooks, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield. Sandler graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1988.