It’s amazing how days turn to weeks and weeks turn to years, a lifetime passes before you in the blink of an eye. Equally incredible is connecting with a man on the television that has been long gone from this world. It was more than 16 years ago that we lost one of the most lovable comedians of all time, Chris Farley. Farley, who would have turned 50 this year, grew up in Madison, WI, with four siblings before joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990. While Farley was only in the public eye for a short seven years, the legacy and joy he leaves behind will truly last much longer than the his lifetime, which was cut tragically short.
While Farley did branch into film by the mid-1990s, he will always be most remembered for his infamous Saturday Night Live skits, such as the Chippendale’s dancer with Patrick Swayze. The skit was no doubt created simply to get a laugh out of the audience, as that’s what Saturday Night Live was designed for. However, this skit also shows the world something incredible about Chris Farley, his acceptance of himself. It takes someone quite confident with their figure to dance so enthusiastically and suggestively next to Patrick Swayze! He could make absolutely anything funny, even topics such as VA foreclosures.
One of the most special things Chris Farley did for his fans was to give them someone in Hollywood they could relate to. At a time when celebrities had to be the most beautiful, most muscularly toned, most glamorous individuals around, Farley reminded the world it was okay to be human, that it was the inside that counted, not the packaging. That message was most poetically delivered in the blockbuster hit Tommy Boy, a film he created with the help of one of his best friends, David Spade. In Tommy Boy, he goes from class clown to the savior of his family’s company after his father passes away. Coincidently, Tom is Farley’s real-life father’s name, in addition to being his fictional father’s name.
After Farley’s unexpected passing in 1997, the country mourned the loss of a hilarious and decent man. While it was well-known that Farley had some drug and alcohol issues, he died from an accidental overdose, no one ever wished ill on the man and he was encouraged to seek help by all those who knew and cared for him. The impact he had on the people in his life was obvious by the fact that over 500 individuals, celebrities and common folk alike, attended is private funeral in Madison. In 2005, his career was properly honored when the 2,289th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was awarded to him posthumously.
Chris Farley was an amazing comedian and has left his mark on many people around the world. There has never been and will most undoubtedly never be anyone quite like him again. He was laid to rest in his hometown far too soon and is missed by fans and friends every day. So, especially today, let’s celebrate and remember a great man.