Book Review. The Chris Farley Show…A Comedy and Tragedy


I normally do not review anything other than fashion and beauty books on this blog, but that doesn't mean I don't read books other than fashion and beauty. In fact, sometimes I need a break! So while away on a trip to visit family last week, I read a book that interested me and thought I would share it with you because it was an interesting, yet tragic read. The Chris Farley Show A Biography in Three Acts by Tom Farley, Jr., and Tanner Colby is a recently published book on the sad life of the hysterical Chris Farley. Who doesn't remember his sweaty, swaggering Motivational Speaker (which always made the cast unable to keep a straight face) and his Chippendales dancer skits on Saturday Night Live? I laugh just thinking about them.

Sadly, after his star-making turn on Saturday Night Live and three straight number-one hit movies, Chris Farley's overdose at the age of thirty-three is how he will be remembered…just like his idol, John Belushi.

Farley died before I moved to Chicago, but I always think of him briefly whenever I'm at the John Hancock building (where he died). His family and friends knew him as a deeply spiritual, religious and earnest kid who never stopped trying to make people laugh. And I mean never. The book is arranged by exclusive heartfelt oral interviews with those who knew him best: David Spade, Tim Meadows, Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, Al Frankin, Alec Baldwin, and other celebrity contemporaries; his brothers Tom, Kevin, and Johnny; and his closest childhood friends. Some of the memories were good and others were candidly not so positive. The result is a portrait, hilarious and heartbreaking, of a young man whose battle with addiction began long before he became famous.


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I could not put the book down and feel I gained a better understanding of Farley's childlike need for acceptance yet compulsion for substance abuse that he was just unable to beat which ultimately became his undoing. Like the Titanic, you know how this is going to end, but the book sheds light on his journey from childhood, to success to tragedy. What you will discover is a man who despite outward appearances of being a lovable buffoon was more complex and tormented than one could ever imagine and yet, he was able to make everybody (and I mean everybody) laugh…which I found myself doing frequently while reading this book.

The Chris Farley Show – A Biography in Three Acts, by Tom Farley, Jr., and Tanner Colby

– Lauren Dimet Waters

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