Chris Farley, My Childhood Idol

On October 23, 2018 Netflix released a new stand-up special. The special, Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh, featured various clips of comedian Adam Sandler performing stand-up. These clips were filmed at numerous locations along his tour. It is a very beautiful and surprisingly emotional stand-up special, with a variety of jokes and musical numbers. The moment that stood out to me, and a number of viewers, was the moment Sandler performed a tribute song about Chris Farley.

Chris Farley, for those of you who don’t know, is a famous comedian who was popular throughout the 1990s. He was a legendary cast member of Saturday Night Live. Farley appeared in a few films, some of which he starred in such as Tommy Boy. Sadly Farley’s career was cut short as he was just starting to create comedy films. Farley died of an overdose in the year 1997.

Growing up I had four uncles who I really admired. They were the funniest people I had ever seen, always making every family get together a none stop riot. I would always try to make them laugh as hard as they made me laugh, but if my memory is correct I never came close. However, some days while my uncles were watching television they would flip through the guide. Often times they would have a hard time deciding on what to watch, unless there was the Saturday Night Live Chris Farley Special playing on VH1.

My uncles would always wanna watch it, no matter how many times they had seen it. I remember one of my uncles once saying “Well we have to watch the Chris Farley special.” Laughs would just exit their mouths at crazy speeds, it was like the laughs couldn’t stop. Little Nick would think to himself “How can just one guy make the funniest guys I know laugh this hard,” and I knew I wanted to do what he did.

From that period on I idolized Chris Farley, and often when I was alone I would practice a lot of his signature bits from Saturday Night Live. Whenever I was home sick from school I would watch an old Saturday Night Live DVD over and over again. Once I knew how to use the internet, and realized youtube was a thing, I would watch clips of Farley for hours. In middle school I even found a t-shirt of Chris Farley and wore it to school as much as I could.

I wanted to grow up to be Chris Farley for the longest time, however when I started to get older and understand more about Farley I realized that it may not be wise to have this exact mid set. You see Farley also grew up idolizing a certain comedian, John Belushi. Like Belushi Farley was a legendary comedian, a bigger guy with lots of energy, and an SNL all-star. Also like Belushi, Farley abused alcohol and illicit drugs, partied harder than anyone, and literally also died of a speedball at the age of 33.

https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-chris-farley-show-mccartney/2868143

Any Beatles fan should watch this^

Tragedy is often a large part of comedians life. Chris Farley struggled with quite a bit throughout his life such as his weight, drugs, alcohol, and at least from what I can assume a certain degree of loneliness. Farley left behind a lot of unfinished projects, one in particular being picked up by Mike Myers who had been cast member on SNL the same time as Farley for a few years. He also left many of his friends such as Chris Rock, David Spade, and Adam Sandler, behind as well. Listening to interviews of them talking about Farley is both Comical and heart breaking.

To a certain extent I’d love to be just like Chris Farley, a human embodiment of comedy bringing so many laughs to so many people. Yet, the more I learn about Chris Farley the more I realize the importance of not getting lost and caught up in habits that can lead to a tragedy. Even years later it's hard for me to realize someone like him is gone. It's hard to imagine comedy today if Chris Farley was alive, the landscape would definitely be different.

Admittedly this article has just been me somewhat rambling on about Chris Farley and how much the performer means to me. It's just when Adam Sandler’s musical tribute to Farley appeared it brought me back to how the younger me use to think and how far I’ve come from then. Farley’s humor was there for me during my first break-up, and was even there for me when my cousin Chris had died.

It has made me realize that I will always admire Chris Farley and although I know he had some issues in his life I also know about how caring and kind he was. Those are traits I will always admire, especially how he would always bring the laughs to the people who needed it whether he knew them or not.

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