The Chris Farley Show

The Chris Farley Show

by Tom Farley

Chris Farley is my idol, but he is also my greatest fear. I'm a chubby comic, child of alcoholics from Wisconsin and I really want people to like me. Is that enough to spend a life spiraling into and out of addiction and eventually die from an accidental overdose  saying your last words  to a sex worker-- “don't leave me--” who then promptly leaves you?The Chris Farley Show doesn't exactly answer that question but it does make you realize it's a good question to keep asking. The book, which is a chronological oral biography compiled mostly by his brother, starts with Farley's childhood outside of Madison Wisconsin. His time at Marquette University, and Second City are covered, but the bulk of the book chronicles his time at Saturday Night Live and the two years between his leaving Saturday Night Live and his death.

As oral biographies go, this book is certainly in top form. It doesn't hurt that many of the people quotes are entertainers themselves and so have an entertainer's ear for making a story: Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Conan O'Brien, Molly Shannon and David Spade all talk candidly about what they loved about Chris and what worried them about him. Farley's brothers and other family members also weigh in on their concerns about Farley, about the addiction in their family and how they thought it might have affected Chris. Although he did more than a few stints in rehab and was clean and sober for differing amount of time, he never seemed able to get a good grasp on the skills needed to live a sober life.

Much of the last chapters which detail the last fews of Chris' life contain quotes from his friends who alternately blame themselves, each other and occasionally even Chris for his death. The only common thread of those perspectives seems to be regret in the lack of intervention. Ulitmately, Farley died much like his idol John Belushi, at the same age and from the same cause.