While celebrity deaths always make the news, some hit harder than others. Chris Farley was one of those deaths that people don’t forget. In 1997, at the age of 33, Farley died of a drug overdose and when the news hit the entertainment word seemed to come to grinding halt. I remember seeing the black and white photo of him on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and thinking what a tragedy it was to for someone that young, who had spent his whole life making others laugh, to go out that way.
Almost two decades later, a documentary about Farley has finally been made titled I Am Chris Farley. If the trailer is any indication this is going to be something to see:
Although I find it odd that it’s taken 18 years to make a documentary about Farley I’m glad that time has arrived. Directed by Brent Hodge and Derik Murray, I Am Chris Farley includes interviews with a slew of SNL alumni including Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, David Spade, Molly Shannon, Dan Aykroyd and Jay Mohr, along with Christina Applegate, Lorne Michaels and Bob Saget, among others.
My two favorite quotes from the trailer:
“Anytime you get to talk about Chris Farley is a good day.” –Jay Mohr
“Success in show business doesn’t always create the best version of people.” –Bob Saget
Farley’s time on Saturday Night Live (1990-1995) was considered the golden years and his contribution was critical because he knew how to use physical comedy to make audiences laugh. Additionally, his era on SNL included a cast so talented it’s like a greatest hits list of actors: Sandler, Spade, Mohr, Myers, Dana Carvey and Chris Rock, just to name a few.
I will never forget his “down by the river” skit that was so funny even Spade and guest Applegate had to hide their faces in an effort to keep anyone from seeing how hard they were laughing. His Chippendales skit with the late Patrick Swayze is also one of my favorites. I addition to SNL, Farley also garnered fame in movies like Black Sheep and Tommy Boy which we still quote (who can forget “seven, seven miles an hour” and “fat guy in a little coat”) and also had roles in Wayne’s World, Coneheads and Airheads.
Following Farley’s death there were several articles and Behind the Music-esque shows that discussed his alternate dark life which ultimately consumed him. Drugs, alcohol and food were all his vices and, although he tried to get help, none of his 17 attempts at rehab were successful. His tragic story is often compared John Belushi’s who also died at age 33 of an accidental drug overdose.
Set your DVRs for the Spike channel (yes, you read that right) on August 10 which is when I Am Chris Farley premieres. The next day the film will be released on DVD.