REGARDING CHRIS FARLEY…

REGARDING CHRIS FARLEY…

A long time ago, June of 2006 to be exact, I wrote a story about Chris Farley. It was a rather mean-spirited article, which attacked the fans of Chris Farley, and one I almost forgot about. A week or so later, I wrote another article about him and how I may have been wrong.

Regardless, I still stand by original sentiments about the man. Pretty much all of his comedy I was exposed to was him involved in physical skits. The world laughed at an over-weight man running in place while being squirted with a hose, putting on coats that were a wee bit too small, or falling on coffee tables only to break them into a million pieces.

This was not funny to me. The world was laughing at this guy because he was fat – nothing more, nothing less. My follow-up piece chronicled my adventure into something new – an old SNL skit where Farley didn’t rely on his size to earn laughter. He played himself, to the geek-boy extreme, interviewing Paul McCartney. You know what? It was fucking hilarious. Chris Farley was indeed funny without the fat.

But I wrote both of those articles over a year ago, and I pretty much forgot about them. Until today, when I noticed that Tom Farley (Chris’ brother) posted a comment on the original piece. His comment reads:

Maybe, just maybe, you can state an opinion that Chris was never funny – on camera! But that is the only way you ever saw him. Those times on camera account for perhaps 5% of his life, and it was scripted. So you make a pretty ignorant argument.

With the exception of the years I had to share a bedroom with Chris (which we’re NOT funny), there were plenty of times when Chris was extremely funny. He was an amazing character study, could read people perfectly, and had fantastic timing. Long before Chris died, or was even famous, our friends would gather and share “”Chris stories”. They were ten times funnier than anything on film.

But go ahead and make stupid remarks with no basis of knowledge backing them up. I guess you must watch a lot of Bill O’Reilly to think and argue in this way! Hey, knock yourself out. Nice drawing though.

Tom Farley
Brother

It’s hard not to feel awful when someone compares you to Bill O’Reilly. Nor was I trying to be ignorant. Again, I was commenting on what I saw, both through his films and on SNL, and that’s all I had to go by. I never meant for people to think I was making fun of the guy or his death. So I wrote him this e-mail back (and I also let him know that I would be publishing it):

Dear Tom Farley,

Firstly, it took me a while to remember which article your comment was aimed towards, as that blog was over a year old. Your comment affected me and I wanted to send you a follow up to explain a couple of things. It was never my goal to be compared to someone like Bill O’Reilly.

I never meant to attack Chris’ character or make fun of his tragic end. The whole piece was designed to attack a certain area of his fan base, which seemed to respond rather well to his physical schtick more than anything else. He was an overweight dude who used it rather well and people loved him for it. That’s the part that bothered me. 

I wrote a follow-up article to this piece a few weeks after the original one was published. It was titled, “Maybe I was wrong about Chris Farley” and it detailed the responses I got when the original one published.

The point of that article was that I was wrong about Chris. A good friend of mine brought me over to his house and showed me a skit from SNL called, “The Chris Farley Show.” My friend told me that this is the skit that would change my mind. So I watched it, curiously, and Chris was in rare form. He was interviewing Paul McCartney as himself, in super geek-boy form, as many of us would be should Paul actually be sitting next to us. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen him do and it proved to me that he was funny outside the physical stuff. But sadly, it was the physical stuff that sold so well and I think it played a great role in destroying him.

You can read that follow-up piece here: http://www.filmthreat.com/blog/?p=310

I’m not doubting that he wasn’t a funny individual in person. Sadly, I (and a good portion of the world) never got to see that side of him. I was only exposed to the “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” routines or the skits designed for him to dance and break coffee tables. I wish I could have seen more of the little moments, the McCartney moments or Farley in real life.

Again, I never meant for this piece to disrespect him, so I apologize to you and your family if it came out that way. It was simply an observation of what I had been exposed to. I hope this clears up a few things for you. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best Regards,
Michael Ferraro
Film Threat

P.S. And if it wasn’t sarcasm, I am glad you liked the picture. Believe it or not, that was indeed a tribute to him.

I hope this clears a few things up and I hope to hear back from Tom. Every once in a while, that blog will get some truly angry comments from people who never read the follow up. Tom’s was not one of them, though I understand his plight, but I still wanted to give this issue a proper conclusion.

-MF




Posted on July 9, 2007 in Blogs by
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11 Comments on "REGARDING CHRIS FARLEY…"

  1. Professor Tom on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 8:52 am 

    wow! That was one hell of a pill to publicly announce that you are taking. I’m glad to see this issue brought to the light of day. It shows the integrity of Film Threat.

    Kudos to you and the Farley family.


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  2. Mark Bell on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 10:14 am 

    My favorite skits were always the Chris Farley Show ones, especially the Jeff Daniels one. McCartney was genius too, but Jeff Daniels was rock on.

    And as a fat man (let’s face it, I’m a big guy), I never had a problem with Farley getting laughs with his physical comedy. My favorite was the Chippendale competition vs. Patrick Swayze, because I felt it made Swayze look a Hell of a lot sillier than Farley. Plus, as a big guy, seeing another big guy rock out with his shirt off (when overweight guys going topless was not a TV norm) made me feel like, “hey, screw it, I’m a big guy, if he can rock out with his shirt off so can I, and fuck anyone who tries to make me feel bad about it.” I don’t know how to explain that rationale or pass on those feelings to those that haven’t thought or felt that way (ostracized a bit for being bigger), but Chris Farley made it seem like there was options for big guys besides just being lonely in the corner while the pretty people walk by.

    I’m going to go lie on the sofa now…


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  3. Will Richey on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 10:17 am 

    I have personally known Mr. Ferraro for over 5 years. Through the many debates and conversations, agreements and disagreements, victories and defeats; I have found the man sometimes opinionated, but always strong and fair in his viewpoints and beliefs. I think this article and retort is a testament to a person who proudly stands by what he says but still has the ability to show a little common courtesy to his fellow man regardless of relationship to the issue. Both are not only signs of a gifted writer, but unfortunately are traits not found commonly in the editorial journalism today.

    I can also attest to the fact that although he may be as strong in his convictions as Bill O’Reilly may appear in his TV persona, rest assured the similarities stop there.


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  4. Michael Ferraro on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 10:22 am 

    Mark, you should never stress dude, because you’re one sexy bitch. I actually can’t stand seeing you with a shirt on dude. Be proud of what you got, but don’t use it to make people laugh dude. That’s my beef. I am glad the dude showed you not to care about your looks compared to others, but don’t downgrade yourself by using them to earn friends/fans.

    And Will, thanks for the kind words dude. You need my address to send me a check?


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  5. Professor Tom on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 12:53 pm 

    Mike,

    Don’t forget as your acting manager, I get my usual 20% on all fanmail monies.


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  6. Michael Ferraro on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 12:57 pm 

    Sadly, writing isn’t that good of a paying gig.


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  7. Annalyn on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 7:46 pm 

    You should start watching SNL again. There are some funny things happening on the show. I don’t think you mentioned not watching the show in this article or if it was in the other articles, but I figure you’re reading this one.

    And, I agree with Will. Though opinionated, you will take the time to listen to others opinions and make adjustments if neccessary. That’s why so many appreciate you.


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  8. WishIwasAFullsailDropout on Mon, 9th Jul 2007 10:20 pm 

    Damn Mike I did not think that had affected you that much, and for you to make an apology, well ,kudos to you. I remember you from a time of Blockbuster and the way you would rip apart most stupid movies, “American Pie”, god you hated it and you were right, but still don’t tune into Saturday Night Live, aside from a few funny skits over the last few years , yes years, it’s not worth tuning into week after week for a new episode or a packaged repeat. You know where I work so most of the time I have to watch it while working and the few skits that have been funny, “Lazy Sunday” “Ode to a young Chuck Norris” “Natalie Portman Rap” and “Dick in a Box” other than that same old shit newer people copying off of what works but the did can that other fatass Horatio Sanz about as unfunny as Carlos Mencia, alright that’s my 2 cents Mike as always great writing.


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  9. Michael Ferraro on Tue, 10th Jul 2007 1:06 pm 

    I wasn’t making an apology for what I said. I still think Farley’s physical comedy wasn’t funny – his films and SNL skits (not all the skits but most) were terribly unfunny. I can’t stand people using their weight to garner laughter.

    I do think he was funny when he didn’t use his weight. And I still think fans of his physical comedy assisted in his downfall.

    What I DID apologize for, was causing any kind of grief with the Farley family. I said it in the fucking entry but I’ll say it again – after watching the McCartney skit, I wish I could have met him in person. Just so I could have seen him in rare form; a form most of the world didn’t ask for.


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  10. Tom Farley on Sun, 22nd Jul 2007 9:45 pm 

    Michael,
    Thanks for the reply and explaination – which I take at full value. Now it’s my turn for a mea culpa – I gotta say sorry for the O’Reilly crack. That’s a mean thing to say to anyone! But I knew I’d get some kind of response with that line.

    Anyway, my point was that most actors are never given the chance to really showcase their talents. Comedy writers and directors often times have no clue about making funny movies (or getting people to be their funniest). Case in point – Chris’s last film (Almost Heroes) was directed by Christopher Guest – a brilliant comedy genius when he writing/directing for himself. But the film he did with Chris and Matthew Perry was terrible compared to what it should have been.

    Anyway, as they say on the playground, “no blood, no foul”. Rock on, man.
    Tom Farley


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  11. Film Threat Blogs » Blog Archive » The Chris Farley Conclusion… on Thu, 26th Jul 2007 11:03 pm 

    [...] I then responded with some words of my own. A few days ago, he finally responded with this: [...]


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