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Canteen Boy is a recurring Saturday Night Live character played by Adam Sandler. Canteen Boy is a naive, childlike assistant scoutmaster with an acute attention to detail. He is always seen with a full scout's uniform and a canteen around his neck. Canteen Boy is routinely mocked by other characters in the sketch, who are well aware that their jokes will be lost on the character. It appears he lacks self-confidence, such as one time when he was called an idiot he proceeds to call the bully an idiot too, only to say he said nothing when the bully threatens him. His revenge toward these bullies often ties in to his skills as an outdoorsman. Canteen Boy is a master at snake-calling, and he enjoys the television show Seaquest. He has also said in passing that he very much admires Cheryl Tiegs. A sketch would often end with either Canteen Boy finding a snake or his tormentors having to run away from a sudden onslaught of snakes. Given his attention to detail, his social awkwardness, and his focused obsession with specific topics (in his case, water and snakes), Canteen Boy displays characteristics common among those with Asperger syndrome. Sandler later stated that there is nothing wrong with Canteen Boy, rather he is "someone who has been in the Scouts too long".
Although the word 'boy' in the character's name suggests he's a child, it has been made clear that Canteen Boy is actually a 27-year-old man who still lives with his mom and is still active in the Boy Scouts, despite being overage. Nevertheless, the season 19 Valentine's Day episode hosted by Alec Baldwin with his wife at the time Kim Basinger had a sketch where Baldwin played Mr. Armstrong, a scoutmaster who made overt sexual advances toward Canteen Boy, stirred up much controversy due to its implications of pedophilia and many gay television viewers complained to NBC that they felt that the skit was homophobic. Canteen Boy had clearly understood what was happening or was ill at ease with the attitude, as he runs off into the woods. The infamous sketch became the subject of Baldwin's monologue the next time he hosted on December 10, 1994.
In the VHS Best of Adam Sandler release, a disclaimer is added that explicitly states that Canteen Boy is 27 years old and that the sketch is based on actual events (with some elements added in for dramatic effect). This disclaimer has also been put in the NBC 90-minute rerun, the version shown on the Best of Alec Baldwin DVD, and the Netflix version. The 60-minute version shown on such cable channels as Comedy Central, E!, and VH-1 Classic do not have the sketch at all.
List of SNL Episodes Featuring Canteen Boy
- March 13, 1993 host: John Goodman
- April 10, 1993 host: Jason Alexander
- October 9, 1993 host: Jeff Goldblum
- October 30, 1993 host: Christian Slater
- February 12, 1994 host: Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger
- May 14, 1994 host: Heather Locklear
- December 10, 1994 host: Alec Baldwin (on Baldwin's monologue reenacting a more politically correct version of the notorious Canteen Boy sketch)
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