Bob Odenkirk despised Chris Farley’s ‘Chippendale’ skit because he knew his friend would die early.
Bob Odenkirk recalls watching his comic colleague Chris Farley “stumble out into the night after crushing it on stage and my mind would write ‘Taken from us too soon!’ and all that” on numerous evenings.
It’s only one element of Odenkirk’s sad portrait of the late “Saturday Night Live” star in his new memoir “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama” (Random House).
They met in the late 1980s while performing at Chicago’s legendary Second City comedy club. Odenkirk confesses that it was obvious Farley would die young — and that there was an “inevitability” to seeing his friend’s career grow and knowing it would eventually fall and burn. (Farley died of a heroin overdose in 1997.)
The “Better Call Saul” star recalls a particularly touching experience with the “Tommy Boy” actor after both attended a memorial ceremony for a deceased Second City alumnus at the Improv group’s theatre in the book. Odenkirk was there with his then-girlfriend Claire, when Farley, who had sneaked in two bottles of wine, became inebriated and began “throwing furniture into the air.”
When Odenkirk volunteered to accompany the drunken Farley home, Farley proceeded to wreck the furnishings in his own flat. He was making such a racket that Odenkirk’s girlfriend, who was waiting outside, contemplated contacting the cops.
According to the actor, he simply kept chatting to Farley in the hopes of defusing the tumultuous scenario. Farley abruptly came to a halt and got distraught.
“‘Do you suppose Belushi is in paradise, Odie?” Farley inquired about John Belushi, the late “SNL” performer who died in 1982. “I was perplexed… ‘I’m not sure, Chris. ‘I suppose so.’ ‘Yeah,’ I attempted to comfort him. I mean, most likely. ‘Now, put the chair down.'”
The 59-year-old actor believes that Farley, like his comedic idol John Belushi, may have liked “fulfilling the cliched storyline” of a comedian whose life is cut short by too many drugs.
Odenkirk and Farley later collaborated on “SNL,” where the former wrote one of Farley’s most famous sketches and characters, clumsy motivational speaker Matt Foley, who was always warning teens that they might end up like him: “35 years old, eating a steady diet of government cheese, thrice-divorced, and living in a van down by the river!”
But Odenkirk despised the skit that catapulted Farley to stardom in his first season, “Chippendale’s Audition” with Patrick Swayze, in which the crowd erupted in amusement as an overweight Farley writhed on stage.
“I know it validated Chris’s worst instincts about being funny, which was how he showed his value — that being laughed at was as good as being laughed at,” writes Odenkirk. “That drawing is a shambles.”
The last time he saw Farley was in Aspen, Colorado, in 1997, and it was evident to him that the troubled performer’s days were numbered.
Bob Odenkirk’s Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama
“Chris was in Aspen, Colorado, in a limo parked in an alley with a neon sign on the hood flashing LAST CHANCE TO SAY GOODBYE,” Odenkirk writes, noting that “Chris was in Aspen to use cocaine” and attend an “SNL” anniversary celebration.
Following his performance with comedic partner David Cross, Odenkirk was informed that Farley wanted him to stop by the limo to say hello.
According to Odenkirk, he discovered “a horrible scene inside” the automobile. Four strangers were crammed into the vehicle, including one “skeevy man who’d given Cross cocaine a few hours before.”
“Chris appeared to be a giant zit on the verge of popping.” Red, bloated, stubbled, and perspiring heavily. “We talked for a while, and the whole while I was thinking, ‘Goodbye, my friend,'” he writes.
“Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul considered pleading with Farley to “throw these sh–ty people out of your limo and get to treatment tonight!” But he knew Farley had heard it many times before, he says. “I saw the limo go away, and we all had a funeral a few weeks later.” What a ridiculous storey. S–t.”
Farley passed away on December 18, 1997, at the age of 33, the same as John Belushi. An autopsy indicated that, like his idol, he died of a cocaine and morphine overdose known as a “speedball.”