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The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  4,666 ratings  ·  511 reviews
The New York Times bestselling biography of an American comedy legend

After three years of sobriety, Chris Farley's life was at its creative peak until a string of professional disappointments chased him back to drugs and alcohol. He fought hard against them, but it was a fight he would lose in December 1997. Farley's fans immediately drew parallels between his death and th
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published May 6th 2007)
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Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book because it brings Chris back for me and will do that for anyone who reads it. I was fortunate enough to watch him when I was in high school when he was in his prime. I miss him and wish he knew how much he was loved. I'm very thankful this book was written...
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir, favorites
Chris Farley and I were about the same age when he passed away. He grew up in Wisconsin, and I grew up in Iowa. We both loved The Blues Brothers, SCTV, and Saturday Night Live. I felt like Chris could have been one of my high school buddies. We both loved football. I miss the heck out of this guy...

THE CHRIS FARLEY SHOW is still one of my favorite reads of all time. Not just because it chronicles his life personally and professionally, but also because there seemed to be some telling moments in
Barnabas Piper
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Farley was a staple of my youth, one of my favorite comedians ever, but his death of an OD always left me with a bittersweet feeling about his life. This book is one of the saddest books I have ever read for what it reveals of his lifelong struggle. I don't think I've ever seen such a poignant glimpse of the downward spiral of an addict. It's beautifully pieced together as an oral history, which is hard to do well. It brings smiles and laughs because Farley was absolutely genius as a comedian an ...more
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.

May 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I feel like I know Chris Farley. And that has got to be the sign of a good biography, right? Comedy and tragedy as told by his brothers, friends and colleagues. This book was so well done.
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"
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I thought this was really good. It is written the same way as the Live from New York book (sequential quotes used to tell the story from family, friends, coworkers, etc). There was a lot of behind the scenes stuff that went down with Farley that no one really knew (Paramount blocking his projects until he made Black Sheep, etc). I would highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the SNL and/or Farley. It has a lot of facinating stuff. It's a pretty tragic story and isn't really like Belushi ...more
Sep 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: people-biography
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,
I plowed through this book in three short days, to the detriment of many other important, even essential, things I should have been doing. It's that captivating. Of course the tale of fame and addiction is nothing new, it's told in a compelling way, offering thoughtful insights into a man I'd never really much considered.
Jon Patterson
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read on the tragic life of Chris Farley. The book did an excellent job of compiling accounts from people who were close to Chris. This book offers helpful understanding of addiction, weight struggles, and covering insecurities with humor.
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
Aaryn Martin
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chris Farley, one of the most iconic figures in acting and comedy today, is known for his early work on Saturday Night Live and movies that he starred in such as "Tommy Boy" and "Black Sheep", and even for kids my age (16) he is a joy to watch on screen. But that's the thing. Kids my age weren't born in time to ever meet Chris while he was alive.

Fortunately, this wonderful book exists thanks to Tom Farley Jr. I say that becuase although I was never around to meet Chris Farley, I felt as if I rea
Giddy Girlie
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non_fiction
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
Trav Rockwell
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never was a fan of Chris Farley, I'd only ever seen him in small rolls such as Coneheads, Wayne's world 1&2, airheads and billy Madison. However after reading 'The Chris Farley Show' I am now a huge fan, I have so much love for the man now and even gone eBay crazy purchasing all his movies (Tommy Boy, Black sheep,Beverly hills ninja) the 'I am Chris Farley' doco and his best of snl DVDs for further research. Chris Farley was a pure spirit and such a massively talented man, he had the biggest h ...more
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura T
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my second time through the book. I love the way the story is's very little narrative, mostly just recollections from his friends and family. It was laugh out loud funny MANY times, and it made me cry a couple times, too. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a Chris Farley fan, or to people who think Chris was a one-note actor, just an addict who deserved what he got. I think after reading this book, both ends of the spectrum will have a greater appreciation and unders ...more
Seeking Sister
Aug 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
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.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book is an amazing tribute to an amazing performer who battled demons that unfortunately ended up being bigger than he was. If anything, this book sheds light not just on how addiction works, but how it can happen to the best and most well-intentioned of people. You are truly missed, Chris Farley.
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
Cassidy Savage
I listened to the audiobook. I didn't enjoy the voice actors. This is a sad read, a sad troubled life.
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So sad.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Farley was a man devoted to giving other people around him joy and laughter. The unfortunate irony of it is that he struggled with the absence of joy and laughter within himself. While he succumbed to that absence, the impact he had on this world and those closest to him is something that will clearly never be forgotten. His character brought out the best in others—even if for just a moment. Reading the memories of him by those closest to him tell a story of a man who was truly loved. By merely ...more
Brett Van Gaasbeek
This is a must for any Farley fan or fan of SNL. Chris Farley's brother pieces together snippets of interviews and remembrances of the life and times of one of the SNL legends in an interesting and unbelievably honest way in order to tell the story. It is refreshingly different and provides a complex look into the career, family, and struggles that this man dealt with throughout his extremely brief life. It also is a good look into the inner-workings of SNL, the rise of someone like Farley throu ...more
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