Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Alice's Review: The Chris Farley Show

Summary: No one dominated a stage the way Chris Farley did. For him, comedy was not a routine; it was a way of life. He could not enter a room unnoticed or let a conversation go without making someone laugh. Fans knew Chris as Saturday Night Live’s sweaty, swaggering, motivational speaker; as the irresistible Chippendales stripper; and as Tommy Callahan, the underdog hero of Tommy Boy. His family knew him as sensitive and passionate, deeply religious, and devoted to bringing laughter into others’ lives.  But Chris did not know moderation, either in his boundless generosity toward friends or in the reckless abandon of his drug and alcohol abuse. For ten years, Chris cycled in and out of rehabilitation centers, constantly fighting his insecurities and his fears. Despite three hard-fought years of sobriety, addiction would ultimately take his life at the tragically young age of thirty-three. Fame on SNL and three straight number-one box office hits gave way to a string of embarrassing public appearances, followed by a fatal overdose in December 1997.  Here is Chris Farley as remembered by his family, friends, and colleagues—the true story of a man who lived to make us laugh and died as a result. The Chris Farley Show is an evocative and harrowing portrait of a family trapped by addiction, a father forced to bury a son, and a gifted and kindhearted man ultimately torn apart by the demons inside him. ~amazon.com

Review: This book has been in my TBR pile for quite a while now. In my early twenties, I had such a crush on this lovable, funny guy. I was devastated when he died, especially since he was taken too soon from a drug and alcohol addiction that was much stronger than he was. The Chris Farley Show tells his story from the points of view from those who knew and loved him. Through their memories, I learned a lot about him. His story was presented brilliantly. It was a great concept to learn about him from the people who knew him the best.

I was and still am a big fan of his. I thought he was hilarious. I also believed he had many layers. I know from personal experience that when a person projects such humor to the world, what is in their heart is far from what is on the outside. It’s easy to hide insecurities, hurt and self-doubt behind a jovial façade. Most people won’t take the time to dig further, they are happy just to see you as you are.

I had no idea how severe the heartache and turmoil was that he felt. The Chris Farley Shows goes in depth about his family life, specifically his relationship with his father. In the end, he was just a man who loved to make people laugh. All he wanted was the approval of his father and to be loved himself. This is a great biography for anyone, who wants to know more about this wonderful man.

One of my favorite memories in the book is by writer Ian Maxtone-Graham. He is talking about Chris Farley when he was in Saturday Night Life acting in the sketch The Chris Farley Show with guest Paul McCartney: “And in that moment Chris isn’t acting at all. It’s really Chris, tapping into that quiet, needy part of himself. You see it up there on stage. What you see in the sketch is the actual Chris Farley being happy that the actual Paul McCartney is telling him that there is an infinite amount of love in the world, and that someday that love will come back to him.” 

I hope that he continues to live in our memory as a beautiful man with a big heart and an ever bigger ability to make us laugh.

Final Take: 5/5



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