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.