Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Chris Farley

Go To
"Basically, I only play one character; I just play him at different volumes."

Christopher Crosby Farley (February 15, 1964 — December 18, 1997) was an American comedian and actor famous for starring on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995. He, Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider, were known as "the Bad Boys of SNL," known for bringing in a new era of raunchy, shocking humor to the show (which, at first, was refreshing, but soon plunged the show into Seasonal Rot in the mid-1990s and was one of the reasons why critics in the early to mid-1990s trashed SNL for being juvenile and sophomoric).

Some of his most famous sketches included "The Chris Farley Show", where he'd nervously interview the guest hosts and/or musical guests, the "Zagat's Guide" sketches in which he and Sandler played wife and husband respectively, the "Coffee Commercial" sketch in which he plays a short-tempered customer, and the "Chippendales" sketch in which he danced shirtless with guest host Patrick Swayze. His characters on SNL included Todd Connor of the Superfans, Bennett Brauer, one of the "Gap Girls" and, most notably, the homeless, clumsy motivational speaker Matt Foleynote . His celebrity impressions included Newt Gingrich, Meat Loaf, Roger Ebert, Hank Williams Jr., Tom Arnold, Lori Davis, John Madden, and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (notable because the first time he played Schwarzkopf was the last time Dennis Miller was a Weekend Update anchor).

Farley appeared in a number of movies, which included Wayne's World, Wayne's World 2 (as a different character), Coneheads, Airheads and Billy Madison. After he left SNL, he would star in such films as Tommy Boy and Black Sheep (1996), both of which starred him with Spade, Beverly Hills Ninja and Almost Heroes.

Sadly, he suffered from drug addictions and obesity throughout his career. He died tragically of a drug overdose in 1997 at age 33, eerily the same age and under similar circumstances as another SNL alum, John Belushi, who Farley was said to have idolized. The autopsy revealed that Farley had severe heart disease and general atherosclerosis due to his long time poor diet and alcohol and drug abuse and the medical writer for the Associated Press wrote that had Farley lived he would have required major by-pass surgery but given the poor general state of his heart and arteries, Farley would likely have died in surgery.

Farley's last film, Dirty Work, was released after his death, and also dedicated to him.

His brothers Tom, John, and Kevin continue to make cameo appearances in Happy Madison Productions films. A documentary featuring several of his castmates, family members and close friends, I Am Chris Farley, was released in 2015, while Adam Sandler released a tribute song for him, simply titled "Farley," in 2018.

In 2024, it was announced that Chris Farley would receive a biopic based on his brother Tom's biography, The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts, starring Paul Walter Hauser as Chris and directed by Josh Gad, with the Farley family's blessing.

Film credits:

You're gonna be tropin'... in... a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!!!:

  • Acrofatic: He was famous for being extremely agile and a superb physical comedian and gifted dancer despite his size, able to easily pull off complex dance moves and do perfect cartwheels, somersaults and even backflips as as well as doing many of his own stunts and martial arts moves in Beverly Hills Ninja. By his death, however, he had lost much of his physical prowess as his poor diet and drug addiction caught up with him.
  • Big Fun: Often played into his size for comedy. "Fat guy in a little coat...!"
  • Catchphrase:
    • His most famous one was Matt Foley's "I am 35 years old, I am thrice divorced, and I live in a VAN down by the RIVER!"
    • Another from "The Chris Farley Show": "That was awesome, man."
  • Corpsing: Farley was a master at causing his SNL castmates, especially his best friends David Spade and Adam Sandler, to crack up during sketches. He would frequently catch everyone off guard by changing his line deliveries or character actions during the live performance or crossing his eyes whenever he knew the cameras and audience couldn't see it.
  • Creator Backlash: Farley left the Premiere of Beverly Hills Ninja in tears over the feeling that the movie was awful and that he was nothing more than "the fat guy who fell down".
  • Face Fault: One of Farley's specialties. In an interview, Norm Macdonald recalls how Chris Farley once demonstrated to other Saturday Night Live cast members how he could fall face-first onto the ground without involuntarily extending his arms to catch himself. None of the other cast members were able to mimic this feat.
  • Fan Disservice: His infamous "Chippendales" skit with Patrick Swayze. His fellow SNL cast members praised his confidence to appear shirtless on-camera looking the way he did.
  • Fat and Skinny: Chris Farley and David Spade were often praised for their great comedic chemistry with each other in their films and SNL skits. It was common for Chris Farley to play a clumsy, but lovable idiot while David Spade would play a snarky and sarcastic little man.
  • He Also Did: Starred in the music video for Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Soul To Squeeze" (off the soundtrack to Coneheads, which he also starred in) as a truck driver.
  • The Other Marty: He recorded most of his dialogue of Shrek but died before he could complete his work and was replaced by Mike Myers.
  • What Could Have Been: There are several roles that Farley would have done had he not died.
    • Prior to his death, he was in talks to star in adaptations of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Incomparable Atuk, as well as a Fatty Arbuckle biopic. These three projects are alleged to be cursed, as Farley, John Belushi, and John Candy were all attached to star and died before production.
    • One of the most well-known examples of this related to animation was his voicework for Shrek, which (depending on which account tells it) had recorded anywhere from 85% to 95% of his lines before he passed. Dreamworks initially tried casting his soundalike brother, John, to do the remaining five days of voice work, but when he turned the offer down due to his grief (which he later regretted), the role was recast with Mike Myers. Meyers re-recorded all the dialogue and the film was reanimated, to the tune of $4 million, to match Myers' more outrageous style, but some fans have lobbied for Farley's original voicetrack — some of which has leaked alongside early storyboards.
    • He and David Spade would have starred in a third Buddy Picture titled Tree, centering around a low-level White House employee meeting a quirky truck driver while searching the Pacific Northwest for the annual Christmas tree. However, Farley died shortly after they verbally agreed to it and the project was ultimately never made.
    • There were talks for a film-adaptation of his Matt Foley character from SNL with David Spade in a supporting role.
    • Farley was considered for Ishmael in Kingpin, but was unable to star in the film due to commitments to Black Sheep (1996). The role would go to Randy Quaid.
    • He was considered for the role of Mr. Krupp in a live-action adaptation of Captain Underpants movie, plans of which began before the first book was even published and were only scrapped when Farley died.
    • He would have played Eric Lamonsoff in Grown Ups, which was initially developed in the 90s. The role was ultimately recasted with Kevin James and released in 2010.
    • Paul Walter Hauser (I, Tonya, Richard Jewell) had discussions with Farley’s family about starring in a potential biopic on the man. However, the project didn’t materialize, and Hauser doesn’t expect to take the role in the future due to undergoing a weight loss regimen.


Video Example(s):


Chris Farley Song

Adam Sandler delivers a tribute to his close friend and SNL castmate, Chris Farley.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CelebrityElegy

Media sources: