The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

by Tom Farley Jr., Tanner Colby


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143115564
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/26/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 201,578
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Tom Farley, Jr., Chris’s older brother, is president and managing director of the Chris Farley Foundation, which educates young people about substance abuse and addiction.

Tanner Colby is former head writer of the National Lampoon Radio Hour, and coauthor of Belushi: A Biography. He lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt


Irish brothers share one of the strangest relationships on earth. We fight like hell among ourselves on a daily basis, but one word or action against one brother brings the wrath of God down upon you from the others. That was Chris and me. We were always competing, whether it was driveway basketball, touch football, or Monopoly. Most of the time, these games would end in a brawl. Nothing bloody, mind you. Drawing blood would bring the fury of Mom or Dad down on all of us. No, most of the time we'd strike a few blows and then run like hell. And let me tell you, nothing was more terrifying than being chased through the neighborhood by a crazy, mad Irish sibling who outweighed you by twenty-five pounds and had a brick in his hand!

But rare was the time that I wouldn't come running if Chris was in trouble. I was the older brother; that was my job. And, Chris being Chris, it was a job that put me in harm's way more times than I would have liked. One such time, when I was in eighth grade and Chris was in sixth, he got into a fight with a classmate. He tackled the kid and threw him to the ground, landing on top of him and breaking his collarbone. Word got around school that the kid's seventh-grade brother was gunning for Chris. Naturally, I had to step in. I put the word out that the brother would have to go through me first. I found out later that day that the kid's brother was named Rocky. No shit: Rocky! The guy was massive (a future all-city lineman in high school, no less). No fight ensued, but I did learn that I possessed a real gift of what the Irish call "the gab." I talked my way out of it. It was my only defense, without which Chris would have certainly got me killed several times over. Life with Chris was exciting; he brought drama and danger into our lives. But no matter what he put you through, he could always just give you a look and make you laugh. Biy, did he make us laugh.

We always loved to tell "Chris stories." I've heard them from friends, relatives, teachers, coaches—even priests and nuns. You could be the funniest guy in the room just by describing some of the stuff Chris did. For every hilarious thing he did on camera, there were twenty things he did offscreen that just blew it away. He lived to make others laugh, and he was fearless about it. In the years since Chris passed away, there have been countless times when Chris's buddied would find themselves huddled together, sharing these crazy stories. At one time, I even thought that a collection of those stories would make a fantastic book. I still do. But I now believe that those funny stories would not paint the right picture of who this kid was. Chris had far too much depth and way too much pain. We all enjoyed Chris so much, and it's hard to put those things into words.

I began this project by listing all the people who either knew Chris the best or were there at the important moments in his life. I spoke to most of them and gave them assurances that this was a project that our family was behind all the way. I wanted them to be open and honest about their memories, opinions, and feelings about what part of what, for most, was an unforgettable relationship. I'm not sure I was totally prepared for the story that Tanner and I ended up with. The funny stories and outrageous moments are definitely in there, but what emerged was this amazing picture of the multifaceted character traits that Chris possessed. He was hilarious, yes, but he was also a very religious, very caring—and very troubled and addicted person. It's a sad story, no question about it. But it's Chris.

Soon after Chris died, I told my wife that my greatest fear was being sixty years old and trying hard to remember this kid who was my brother. I guess anyone who's lost somebody close can say that. Being able to watch the fun movies and video clips only gets you so far; it's not the full picture. I'm pleased that this book will be something I can pick up when I'm older, remember Chris and his wild life, and be once more amazed that I had such an unbelievable person in my life.


Excerpted from "The Chris Farley Show"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Tom Farley.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction Tom Farley xi

Act I

Chapter 1 A Motivated Speaker 3

Chapter 2 Madison, Wisconsin 11

Chapter 3 An Epiphany 36

Chapter 4 Attacking the Stage 56

Chapter 5 Whale Boy 73

Chapter 6 Super Fan 98

Chapter 7 The Place in Alabama 118

Act II

Chapter 8 A Friendly Visitor 145

Chapter 9 The Magic Sixty-six 171

Chapter 10 The Lost Boys 191

Chapter 11 The Polar Bear Pit 212


Chapter 12 Raising the White Flag 239

Chapter 13 The Devil in the Closet 261

Chapter 14 Fatty Falls Down 290

Chapter 15 The Parting Glass 311

Epilogue 327

Acknowledgments 331

Note on Sources and Method 335

The-Ographies 337

Index 343

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Brave, fast-moving, 4stars"

" It digs beneath the buffoonish exterior and uncovers a complex human being . . . The Chris Farley we meet here is both funnier and more lovable than the typical celebrity drug casualty, which makes The Chris Farley Show both sadder and more frustrating than the typical just-say-no cautionary tale."
-The New York Times Book Review

" What you'll love: the book's intimate accounts give as much time to Farley's sensitive nature and generosity of spirit as they do to his ugliest moments."
-The Washington Post

" Farley has no shortage of support and admirers . . . the compilation of direct quotes from his loved ones makes for powerful reading and provides a more forceful reminder of how terrifying addiction can be."

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The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I ever read. A story that tells a side of his life that a fan may have never knew. Being a child from the 90's and from Wisconsin I looked up to Chris. This book is told by his family and SNL family and they collectively do an amazing job. This book made me laugh and cry. Truely my favorite book!
docbells on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This was nice fast read of the rise and downfall of the very funny Chris Farley. I really enjoyed the book - but gave it only 3 stars as I was hoping for additional stories/funny moments in the life of Chris. What I found instead was numerous first hand accounts of what kind of person he was. We all know the story of his downfall. Watch any behind the music episode on VH1 and you will find the similar pattern of rise against the odds - find fame - find drugs/alcohol - go to rehab - relapse - die... That part is very tragic and I found myself getting more and more irritated at Chris for following this path. I would recommend the read - but I wish I laughed a bit more during...
vfranklyn on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I've never been a big fan of Chris Farley. There were a few things he did that I thought were funny, but overall he's not my style of humor. It was interesting to learn about what he was really like and how kind-hearted he was. I came away from the book appreciating his work more and sympathizing for those who lost him.That said, I have very little sympathy for someone who throws away his life when he has so many opportunities and so much to live for. Maybe I just don't understand the demon of addiction since I don't suffer from it, but I just found myself wanting to smack him in the head and tell him to get his act together. Other people have done it, so he could've as well. It's just such a waste.My favorite part of the book was when Dan Akroyd was talking about setting him straight and how he just laid down the law about addiction and how Farley would never leave behind the legacy the Belushi did. If Dan Akroyd had said that to me, I would've listened.
princesspeaches on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book has it all. I seriously laughed out loud; I cried; I kept hoping the inevitable ending would somehow change. This is a well put together story which is a must read for anyone who Chris Farley made laugh.
litelady-ajh on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Very well done biography. Not just someone giving their account of his life, but a compilation of many people who knew him from the time he was a kid to the day he died.
theeclecticreview on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This book made me laugh and cry. Chris Farley was an extraordinarily talented and unselfish human being who unfortunately had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. One of my favorite Farley movies is Tommy Boy and all of his friends and family said that Chris was playing himself. He cared so much about making people laugh that many did not know he was crying for help. He died way too young and the world has lost a remarkable comedian and a truly spiritual man.
astults on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts is a remembrance of Chris Farley as a person and a comic. Comprised of interviews, the book is a surprisingly fast read. The interviews come from his brothers, kids he grew up with, and people from the comedy world. It was surprising to find out Chris was close to his brothers. (His sister, Mary Anne, was older and doesn¿t factor into many of the childhood stories. It¿s unclear if they weren¿t close, if she declined to be interviewed, or if her interviews weren¿t used.) The book contains stories from all of them and there are many pictures of them together.When someone has died it¿s easy to remember only the ¿good¿ things about the person. Though co-written by his brother, this book includes thoughts and opinions that don¿t try to make Chris into a saint. Chris was religious and one of his childhood friends became a priest. Father Matt Foley and Chris spoke about faith and the temptations of drugs often.The comedic decisions Chris made also provides conflicting views. The first Saturday Night Live skit Chris became known for was the Chippendale dancer tryout with guest host Patrick Swayze. Not everyone interviewed for the book thought it was funny. One of the motivations for Chris to be funny was to please people (especially his father) and there are differing viewpoints on given on how to achieve this. I¿ve never seen a movie starring Chris Farley but I think I would have enjoyed seeing him perform live. Art work right in front of you looks different when it¿s in a book and often times can¿t capture the essence of what makes it so great. No matter what unrehearsed footage is shown of Chris I doubt it will capture his comedic timing or athletic ability but it¿s a joy to read people talking about it.
bookwormteri on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I admit to loving Tommy Boy, I even loved Black Sheep, and I was horrified when Chris Farley died. I was not the pop culture follower then as I am now, so I didn't hear of his issues before his death. I always thought that his young death was such a shame, after reading this book, I know it was.Told from the perspectives of those who knew him best, this is not your average biography. Fascinating and horrifying. The story of watching someone you love achieve their dreams and self destruct. Really a quick and good read.Chris Farley, you are missed!
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DrinksHoppyBeers More than 1 year ago
I never realized how unique Chris was until I read this book. The book is written well and provides unbelievable insight. It gave me the closure on Chris' death I never knew I needed.
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DeeNadj More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book was written by Farley's brother, I thought it would be a "hearts and flowers" version of a very sad story, but it was not. He told the truth, no matter how unpleasant or unpretty it was, which was something I came to seriously appreciate while reading this book. As much as people feel they know about Chris Farley (the beginning, middle and end of his story), this book lets you know there was much much more to the man himself. I didn't think I'd like the "first person account" style of writing, but seeing the situation from each person's perspective was very interesting and allowed the reader to get a lot of information in a compact format. This book is one that will stay with the reader for a long, long time.
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