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The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  2,751 ratings  ·  337 reviews
A biography of the Saturday Night Live star as told by his friends and family

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 irresisti
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Hardcover, 348 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Viking Adult (first published May 6th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Ed
Jul 05, 2008 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: bio
I tore through this book. Like the history of Saturday Night Live called "Live from New York" this is an oral biography of Chris Farley (interestingly, in this book the "Live from New York" book takes a pretty harsh hit from someone claiming he was misquoted in the SNL history). The oral format worked for me. As Tom wrote in the introduction, Chris Farley lived the type of life where all his friends had "Chris stories."

This book, like its subject's life, is funny, revealing, touching, maddening
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Mike
I'm not typically into biographies or memoirs much, but this one intrigued me, particularly after EW and People magazines gave it extremely good reviews.

Turns out they were right.

It's like Titanic, in that you know what happens in the end. But the build-up is absolutely fascinating, tragic, and devastating.

The Chris Farley Show is presented in three acts of Farley's life. Farley's brother interviewed what must have been nearly 100 people who were close to Chris during his life and put those inte
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Marty
There's some real interesting tid-bits about his career.
It's real depressing to read about his endless struggle with his addictions.
But it was even more interesting to see his relationship with his 600 pound father and how he lived to please him. They were never able to acknowledge their problems with drinking and eating.
Another thing that took me aback was how deeply religious Chris Farley was. You would never have known that.

He comes across as basically the nicest guy in the world, but his add
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Jeff
Oh boy. Speaking as someone who didn't give a damn about "SNL" when Farley was on it -- and who thought his movies were stupid, too -- this book is a sad, sweetly funny, enthralling, deeply moving account of a life that was, by all accounts, filled with incredible promise, both on and offstage. A horribly sad waste of life and talent that Farley's friends and family are still obviously trying to make sense of. (read for review)
Katey
Have you ever read a book, seen a movie or heard a story where you already know how it's going to end, but you're still completely caught off guard when it ends the way you knew it would?

I have been sobbing for the last forty-five minutes to an hour, as I finished reading The Chris Farley Show. This book broke me. I have read so many biographies - always about people who died too young; who died before anyone was ready for them to go - and never have I been affected like this.

The pile of used kl
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Patrice
I grew up watching and loving Chris Farley on SNL and in his films. I was just starting to understand the horrible disease of addiction when he died. I was in high school it was 1997 and someone told me in the commons. It was shattering. I'd just lost my first friend to drugs the year before. My friend's death was still so shocking to me and when I heard about Chris Farley I just felt numb.

I read this book at work during breaks and while waiting for bills to type. I kept laughing reading the fi
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Kristy
Jan 20, 2011 Kristy marked it as to-read
Wahoo, I just got this for 5 bucks on the bargain shelf!!!

Chris Farley (Bus Driver): ... that Veronica Vaughn is one piece of Ase ... I know from experience, if you know what I mean ...
Adam Sandler (Billy): ... no you don't ...
Chris Farley: ... well, not me personally, but a guy I know, him and her got it on, wooo weeee ...
Adam Sandler: ... no they didn't ...
Chris Farley: ... no no no, they didn't ... but you can imagine what it'd be like if they did ...

"from billy madison"
Eden
I have been a fan of Chris Farley since I was a kid. The first movie of his I remember owning was a VHS tape of Beverly Hills Ninja, which I had watched many times.

I was still pretty young when he died and while I was upset, I didn't know that he had died of an overdose. I didn't know anything about his addictions at that time. All I knew that I loved his movies.

The documentary I Am Chris Farley premiered August 10th on Spike TV and I watched that. I really enjoyed it. It was a good documentary
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Amelia Chameleon
I had fun with Chris Farley comedies - SNL, Tommy Boy, etc. - but was never a gigantic fan. But when I came across this biography, it called out to me and so I picked it up. It's a very interesting way to handle a bio. His family and friends gave hours of interviews and they were pieced together in timeframes to tell the story of Chris's life. It made for a much more interesting perspective and well-rounded story of who Chris was as a person and not just the public persona that we have seen. It ...more
Linds
I always thought that Chris Farley's death was a premature waste of talent. Another early senseless death to drugs and alcohol addiction.

What I didn't realize was just what a wonderful man outside of showbuisness he was. Everybody just loved the guy. When he was sober he did volunteer work for a Catholic mission in Hell's Kitchen and visited old people. He didn't just cut a check, he went down there and put the time in. He went to mass every Sunday and I was shocked that he had such deep faith.

T
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Jordan
I wasn't sure what I was going to write for a review when I clicked to add this title. Then I saw the Goodreads ads running down the side with links to sites about diet and weight loss and the anger I felt while reading the book returned. Even this many years after his death, we are unable to separate the talent of the man from the size of the man.

One of the most gifted physical comedians ever born, Farley could create equally huge laughs bursting through a wall or simply cocking his head an inc
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Sheryl
This is a sad tale of a very funny man's demise. My family have really enjoyed his movies and it was interesting to read the stories behind them. The book is written in narrative style with direct pieces contributed by Farley's friends and family. Strangely, Adam Sandler did not make an appearance in the book.

Chris Farley couldn't seem to emerge from the shadow of either his father or the Catholic church. I have know several friends who had similar issues with Catholicism to the point of being a
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Jeremy
Who knew Farley's uncompleted "Shrek" was head and shoulders above Mike Meyer's in terms of its humor and sensitivity? Or that his next role, a biopic about Fatty Arbuckle, would've cemented Farley's place as a dramatic actor? We never saw this man-child even near his peak, and while this book is specifically about that, it is generally about much more.
Written from the collected thoughts of those who knew Farley throughout his life, this book would seem to be a hit-or-miss. If you loved Farley,
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Michelle
I found this book while browsing the bookstore one evening, and a single quote from Chris Rock grabbed me and would not let me go. (It pertained to the infamous "Chippendales" SNL sketch with Patrick Swayze, and the full quote inside the book is even more arresting than the blurb on the back jacket.) I knew that book was coming home with me.

I'd never considered myself a fan of Chris Farley, but I'd certainly thought him to be funny, often enough. What put me off about him was what my sister desc
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Adam Nedeff
The most difficult thing to deal with after you've read this book is that it's so thorough, so comprehensive in the story it tells that it severely alters your perception of anything featuring Chris Farley that you might watch for the rest of your life.

There's the Chippendale's skit, his breakout performance on "SNL." And opinion is split 50/50 among the people interviewed for this oral history. Half thought the skit was great, the other half HATED it with a venom that as to be read to be believ
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Teena in Toronto
I liked "Saturday Night Live" back in the beginning and had stopped watching it by the time Chris Farley (1964 - 97) was on it in the early to mid-1990s. I hadn't seen a lot of what he was in (he'd only been in ten movies and starred in four of those) but I thought his story would be interesting ... and it was.

It's written by one of his brothers, Tom, and starts back when they were kids. Chris was a football jock and always wanted to get laughs. He barely got through university and went to work
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Sam
So sad.
Seeking Sister
I am not a fan of books about celebrities, but chose this book for personal reasons. I was hesitant because of the style. It consists of interviews with people who knew Chris Farley throughout his life. I thought it might be disjointed, but it was not. It flowed smoothly and told the story of his life in an interesting and sympathetic way. Ultimately, I liked the book very much, and came to admire Chris Farley.
Amanda
This book is heartbreaking and maddening and sad and ecstatically funny and, above all else, brave. To think that Chris Farley's brother and his family would be willing to expose their private lives so publicly in service of Chris's story is incredibly generous and courageous. The story itself is one of unbelievable highs and happiness generated by a true comic genius, but the demons of addiction and unfulfilled need shared by many other comic geniuses eventually trumped all. Chris Farley is a t ...more
El_kiablo
I actually liked this book more than I like Chris Farley's movies. A lot of his most famous work was very broad, and that's fine but not for me. However, the portrait you get here is really funny, and a couple of stories about Farley's best comebacks actually made me laugh out loud.

That said, the ending is (as you would expect) incredibly sad. His death looms large long before it occurs, and the foreknowledge of his untimely end makes it really hard to enjoy stories about times when he was being
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Derek
The story of Chris Farley, told as an "oral history," is a fascinating look at how one person can be many things to many people. Farley comes off as a flawed, tragic figure, who spent so much time making other people laugh that he never really came to terms with who he was or what he heeded to be truly happy. There are a lot of celebrity biographies out there, but very few do such an amazing job of revealing the real, complicated human being behind the celebrity. I came away from this book with ...more
Eric
this book was a quick read. it's a collection of interviews with friends and people he worked with. it is worth the read just to read the entries from Bob Odenkirk.
Malorie
A well-written and thoughtful story of the larger than life Chris Farley. Growing up my brothers and I were obsessed with his style of athletic humor. There will never be another Chris Farley. I love that his brother wrote the book, and the style of the book is written so that close friends from his SNL days share their memories of the life and early death of the icon. In learning more about Farley's life, you get a glimpse into his kind heart and unbreakable faith, and his road from improv to S ...more
Cassidy Niemeyer
I listened to the audiobook. I didn't enjoy the voice actors. This is a sad read, a sad troubled life.
Christopher DeMarcus
This was a good book. I learned a lot about my favourite actor. The highlights were his devotion to Catholicism, and his horrible drug addiction. I've never heard of someone going through so many rehabs. I'm glad they chose to do the book in the style of a communal history. There were many times that I laughed, and I almost cried, too. Looking at Chris' life, it was almost as if he was born to go down this path. Like a greek tragedy, his light is a lesson to all of us. And he may be the funniest ...more
Kelly
I thought I knew Chris Farley's story, but what I knew was only the surface. The entire story, in all its glorious and grotesque detail, turns this book from just another tale of a celebrity run amok into a multifaceted portrayal of a regular guy who should have lived a rich, full life. The book is very well-written -- or perhaps I should say well-edited, because the story is told mostly by family and friends whose words were organized by the authors with only occasional narration added to tie i ...more
Hassan
One of the most memorable moments of my childhood is when my Dad took me to see Beverly Hills Ninja in theaters. To this day I still deeply admire the shamelessly unrestrained joy behind his performances.

This book is a touching account of the life and spirit of one of my favorite performers of all time. Candid accounts from his brothers and famous SNL cast members provide great insight on the relationships and friendships that fueled the life of Chris Farley. Excellent read if you want to learn
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Jordan
This is hands down one of the best biographies I've ever read, if not the best. I have been a huge fan of SNL for many years and I would say Chris is my favorite cast member of all time, with Phil Hartman coming in second (another tragic loss). The late 80s/early-mid 90s cast members were the best, by far. Every time he was in a skit, you just can't take your eyes off him. He was so gifted. I also love "Tommy Boy." To me, that's one of the most feel- good movies in the world. When Chris was on S ...more
Dave
No matter how old and tired the pratfall shtick got for Chris Farley, I could watch Tommy Boy ad infinitum. Same for some of his SNL sketches. It just plain made me laugh. And in reading this shallow-watered biography, that, precisely, was his gift. Yet, in varying ways it became his curse as well, the comedy hiding the tragedy of addiction and self-loathing, of family dysfunction and chronic enabling. By all accounts, Chris Farley seemed like a good man taken too soon, a down-to-earth Midwester ...more
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“BOB ODENKIRK: I didn’t like the fact that the first thing he became known for was that Chippendales thing, which I hated. Fucking lame, weak bullshit. I can’t believe anyone liked it enough to put it on the show. Fuck that sketch. He never should have done it.” 0 likes
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