A long time ago, June of 2006 to be exact, I wrote a story about Chris Farley. It was a rather mean-spirited article, which attacked the fans of Chris Farley, and one I almost forgot about. A week or so later, I wrote another article about him and how I may have been wrong.
Regardless, I still stand by original sentiments about the man. Pretty much all of his comedy I was exposed to was him involved in physical skits. The world laughed at an over-weight man running in place while being squirted with a hose, putting on coats that were a wee bit too small, or falling on coffee tables only to break them into a million pieces.
This was not funny to me. The world was laughing at this guy because he was fat – nothing more, nothing less. My follow-up piece chronicled my adventure into something new – an old SNL skit where Farley didn’t rely on his size to earn laughter. He played himself, to the geek-boy extreme, interviewing Paul McCartney. You know what? It was f*****g hilarious. Chris Farley was indeed funny without the fat.
But I wrote both of those articles over a year ago, and I pretty much forgot about them. Until today, when I noticed that Tom Farley (Chris’ brother) posted a comment on the original piece. His comment reads:
Maybe, just maybe, you can state an opinion that Chris was never funny – on camera! But that is the only way you ever saw him. Those times on camera account for perhaps 5% of his life, and it was scripted. So you make a pretty ignorant argument.
With the exception of the years I had to share a bedroom with Chris (which we’re NOT funny), there were plenty of times when Chris was extremely funny. He was an amazing character study, could read people perfectly, and had fantastic timing. Long before Chris died, or was even famous, our friends would gather and share “”Chris stories”. They were ten times funnier than anything on film.
But go ahead and make stupid remarks with no basis of knowledge backing them up. I guess you must watch a lot of Bill O’Reilly to think and argue in this way! Hey, knock yourself out. Nice drawing though.
It’s hard not to feel awful when someone compares you to Bill O’Reilly. Nor was I trying to be ignorant. Again, I was commenting on what I saw, both through his films and on SNL, and that’s all I had to go by. I never meant for people to think I was making fun of the guy or his death. So I wrote him this e-mail back (and I also let him know that I would be publishing it):
Dear Tom Farley,
Firstly, it took me a while to remember which article your comment was aimed towards, as that blog was over a year old. Your comment affected me and I wanted to send you a follow up to explain a couple of things. It was never my goal to be compared to someone like Bill O’Reilly.
I never meant to attack Chris’ character or make fun of his tragic end. The whole piece was designed to attack a certain area of his fan base, which seemed to respond rather well to his physical schtick more than anything else. He was an overweight dude who used it rather well and people loved him for it. That’s the part that bothered me.
I wrote a follow-up article to this piece a few weeks after the original one was published. It was titled, “Maybe I was wrong about Chris Farley” and it detailed the responses I got when the original one published.
The point of that article was that I was wrong about Chris. A good friend of mine brought me over to his house and showed me a skit from SNL called, “The Chris Farley Show.” My friend told me that this is the skit that would change my mind. So I watched it, curiously, and Chris was in rare form. He was interviewing Paul McCartney as himself, in super geek-boy form, as many of us would be should Paul actually be sitting next to us. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen him do and it proved to me that he was funny outside the physical stuff. But sadly, it was the physical stuff that sold so well and I think it played a great role in destroying him.
You can read that follow-up piece here: http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/?p=310
I’m not doubting that he wasn’t a funny individual in person. Sadly, I (and a good portion of the world) never got to see that side of him. I was only exposed to the “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” routines or the skits designed for him to dance and break coffee tables. I wish I could have seen more of the little moments, the McCartney moments or Farley in real life.
Again, I never meant for this piece to disrespect him, so I apologize to you and your family if it came out that way. It was simply an observation of what I had been exposed to. I hope this clears up a few things for you. I look forward to hearing back from you.
P.S. And if it wasn’t sarcasm, I am glad you liked the picture. Believe it or not, that was indeed a tribute to him.
I hope this clears a few things up and I hope to hear back from Tom. Every once in a while, that blog will get some truly angry comments from people who never read the follow up. Tom’s was not one of them, though I understand his plight, but I still wanted to give this issue a proper conclusion.