125: “Fat Guy In A Little Coat” – Chris Farley’s 90s Comedies

Saturday Night Live is not just a TV comedy institution but also an incubator for some of the brightest comedy stars of the silver screen. In our three-part miniseries Saturday Night Leavers – Celluloid Man-Children Of 90s Cinema, we are surveying the careers of three men who left the show in 1995, and who took their SNL fame to new heights by becoming movie stars.

In Part Two of the miniseries we discuss Chris Farley, one of the hottest stars to ever burst out into national fame from Saturday Night Live. Farley took his unforgettable comedic persona and superstardom to the cinema immediately after SNL fired him in 1995, but his career was tragically cut short by his death in 1997 at the age of 33.

We begin by discussing our own childhood needs for attention and approval from strangers, and then we investigate Chris Farley’s upbringing as a hell-raising but sensitive and devoutly Catholic boy in Wisconsin, his meteoric rise in improv comedy, and our own favorite moments of Farley’s career in SNL and beyond. Then we revisit Chris Farley’s two best known film roles: co-starring with SNL alum David Spade in 1995’s hit brake pad sales comedy TOMMY BOY, and in 1996’s less-than-hit political(?) comedy BLACK SHEEP. How do these movies hold up now?

Whether or not you knew him as a “heartbreaker” or “not hygienic,” and whether or not he ever really lived in a van down by the river, Chris Farley was an inescapable staple in American homes throughout the 1990s. And quotes from his sketch and movie characters were on the tongues of countless grade-school youth, including at least one host of this podcast. Do… do you remember that? It was awesome!

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