The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

Tom Farley, Jr. and Tanner Colby

Penguin Books,  May 2009

The New York Times Bestseller

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 seemed like just another sad Hollywood story of indulgence and excess -- and an eerie parallel to the fate of his idol, John Belushi.

While fans knew Chris as the sweaty, swaggering Motivational Speaker and the hyperkinetic Chippendales stripper, his family and friends knew him as a deeply spiritual and earnest kid who never stopped trying to make people laugh. This oral biography includes exclusive interviews with those who knew him best: David Spade, Chris Rock, Lorne Michaels, Alec Baldwin, and other celebrity contemporaries; his brothers Tom, Kevin, and Johnny; and his closest childhood friends. The result is a portrait, hilarious and heartbreaking, of a young man whose battle with addiction began long before he became famous.

This is a book about the intersections of comedy, celebrity, performance, and family -- with a deeply moving message about the demons that face even the most gifted among us.

paperback | ISBN: 9780143115564 | Publication Date: May 2009

" Brave, fast-moving."
--People (4 stars)

"It digs beneath the buffoonish exterior and uncovers a complex human being . . . The Chris Farley we meet here is both funnier and more lovable than the typical celebrity drug casualty."
--The New York Times Book Review

"The book's intimate accounts give as much time to Farley's sensitive nature and generosity of spirit as they do his ugliest moments."
--The Washington Post

"When a tragedy like Farley's death happens, people ask, 'Why didn't someone do something?' This shows that sometimes doing everything isn't enough."
--Rocky Mountain News

"The Chris Farley Show shows that Farley's simplicity was in fact a tremendously complex construct . . . Like Live from New York, another popular recent SNL book, The Chris Farley Show is an oral history, patched together out of scraps of interviews with Farley's friends, family, and colleagues . . . The form [an oral history] seems particularly appropriate in the case of Farley, whose comedy was aggressively social and who was always obsessed with what people thought of him. The result is satisfyingly complex."
--New York

"The most unexpected insights come from the perspectives provided by Farley's non-celebrity friends, like the Rev. Matt Foley (the namesake of the motivational speaker character), who provides a glimpse into Chris's spiritual side."
--Los Angeles Times

"What you'll love: The books intimate accounts give as much time to Farley's sensitive nature and generosity of spirit as they do to his ugliest moments, such as a disastrous near-death gig hosting Saturday Night Live."
-The Washington Post

"Farley has no shortage of support and admirers . . . The compilation of direct quotes from his loved ones makes for powerful reading and provides a more forceful reminder of how terrifying addiction can be"

"As with any good oral history, The Chris Farley Show moves briskly and the reporting is deep."
--Entertainment Weekly

"[A] rip-roaring memory mosaic. With talents such as Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Conan O'Brien, and David Spade analyzing his humor and detailing Farley's escapades and hijinks, this is a boisterous book the comedian's fans will want to buy, borrow, or steal."
--Publishers Weekly

"The editors deserve credit for eliciting such heartfelt remembrances (not all of it positive) from an impressive list of celebrities -- Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, Lorne Michaels, Conan O'Brien, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin Nealon, Rob Lowe, Al Franken, Penelope Spheeris, and many more -- but readers should also pay close attention to Farley's family and friends, who get right to the heart of this flawed but humble, remarkably compassionate and enormously talented performer. Essential for Farley and SNL fans, and a sterling example of oral biography -- well-structured, consistently engaging, and simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)