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For those who missed the rise Farley, or want to understand the hype I Am Chris Farley won’t necessarily make you into a fan, for it doesn’t use any comedic moment he isn’t already famous for, but it will show he is definitely another genuinely good and funny guy who couldn’t handle his own fame.

Trigger Warning(s): Conversations on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

Characters & Story

From childhood until his death in 1997, you won’t find a single person who can say anything negative about how Chris Farley interacted with people. He was kind to strangers, the ideal catholic, presented the type of energy that was infectious, was always a gentleman, and pretty much the funniest person in the room. However, as everyone from his siblings to the famous names of Mike Myers, David Spade, and Adam Sandler will tell you, there was a darkness. Not one he inflicted on others, but certainly on himself. For, so it seems, every joke, every smile, it was at the cost of himself. He would, like many a comedian, put himself in a vulnerable position to make sure the audience would get a laugh, even if it required making fun of himself, or always being on. Something which possibly ruined his life for between the drugs and alcohol, it seems that may have been the only way Chris Farley could step off the stage and back into normalcy.


While this film certainly didn’t make me want to check of Chris Farley’s work, nor did it inspire me to become a fan, nonetheless it did help me understand the hype. If only because it showed Chris Farley the same way how Amy Winehouse or Kurt Cobain are usually shown. We are introduced to someone from humble beginnings, who almost always smiled, and yet there is this darkness in them which led to their own destruction. For Farley, it was seemingly the need to belong and his main way of doing that being laughter. Which, depending on how you look at it, was either at his expense or for the joy of others.

And for me, since none of the jokes were funny, or so familiar that they no longer illicit a response, getting into the psychology of Chris Farley was the highlight. Especially since, unlike comedy greats like Richard Pryor, there isn’t any big time famous stories of Farley going overboard, much less are any of the people interviewed airing him out to dry. What is presented here is all loving, yet as truthful as their hearts and memories of him allow. Leaving you with a flawed figure who, honestly, leads you to hope that perhaps someone will take on his story for a biopic.


As noted, most of the sketches used are ones people should be familiar with, and then with those we may not be familiar with, like his work during the Second City days, the quality isn’t where you can fully get and appreciate what is going on. Making it so despite all this praise everyone gives, it does sometimes feel like there is much more tell than there is show. For while his famous moments like: “Fat Man in a Little Coat,” as well as the famous Chippendale sketch, alongside motivational man, and also when he was one of the gab girls, are there, honestly the rest of what we see sort of reminded me of that one big kid in high school who seemingly acted funny just so they wouldn’t get picked on. Like, as much as everyone says he was naturally funny, it does sometimes seem like he is trying so hard to be funny that it loses its authenticity. Though, at the end of the day, I just think his style of comedy just doesn’t click with me.

Leaving one last thing, I have no idea why, peppered throughout the beginning, they put some of his brother doing stand-up. Granted, it seems like something they decided to abandon by the time you are 1/3 of a way through the movie, thank god, but I was left unsure why his bad jokes weren’t cut period.

Overall: TV Viewing

Being that most of Farley’s demons were kept private, and aren’t delved too deeply into by the movie, and he pretty much was a good guy from humble beginnings, the documentary doesn’t present much one couldn’t easily google search and find. Pretty much, just hearing each actors’ perspective of the dark times, and his family’s perspective as well, is the only thing which makes this somewhat interesting. Hence the TV Viewing label for this is the rare documentary which makes it seems a dramatization of the focused person’s life may very well be the better avenue than getting their friends and family to gather around, share some pictures and videos, and then speak on their perspectives.

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