Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Doug's Brush With Fame: Chris Farley

I'm just sharing this, more to document the memory than anything else. I just finished The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts this afternoon, and asked my husband about his opportunity to meet Chris Farley nearly 15 years ago. Here's what he shared:

We were all invited to Planet Hollywood in Dallas as high school newspaper writers for a morning interview session. Maybe 20 or 30 schools were represented. This would've been my senior year, so either winter 1996 or spring 1997. The event was to promote the release of his new movie, "Beverly Hills Ninja". As he came out, we all stood in a greeting line and I shook his hand.
He seemed like he was buzzed if not drunk during the event. Over the span of half an hour, most of us had a chance to ask at least one question.
When I raised my hand, he referred to me (because I had spiky hair and bead necklaces) as, "yeah, the guy who looks like he's from the Violent Femmes". I've actually never looked into what they look like, so I don't even know if that's accurate. I asked him,

"As all of us are big fans of yours, we're concerned about your health. How have you been feeling lately?"

He laughed and replied, "Aside from the sharp pains running up and down my arms, I feel fine." He got a laugh, and moved onto the next question.
He died less than a year later.

When my brother Aaron and I were in high school, he was obsessed with Tommy Boy. Our parents both worked, and so we had our afternoons free after school to do or watch what we pleased. I have most of Tommy Boy memorized because we must've watched it 50 or 100 times together in those afternoons.

Reading the biography of Farley's life made me so sad for the loss of the delightful spirit he brought to life. Though he was raised a Catholic and continued to attend mass and express faith until his death, his superstitions also left him confused [Note of clarification: I am not equating superstitions with Catholicism. He had a myriad number of personal superstitions, like needing shoes to be lined up, and touching certain furniture pieces, and seemed unable to function if certain things weren't done the way he thought they had to be done.]. Though he loved his parents and brothers, he kept reaching out and seeking love from others, and never felt that he found it. Such a sad end to a man who had such great potential.


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