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The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts

by Tom Farley, Jr. and Tanner Colby

Book Reviews

" 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"
--Playboy

"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)

Online Reviews

The Chris Farley Show is an openly loving look at a man who never got the chance to achieve his real artistic potential, despite all of the fame and accolades given to him. It gives a warts and all impression of Farley, tempered by the sorrow that he is not with us any more and great respect must be paid to his brothers, Tom in particular, for having the emotional strength to make their sibling's turbulent times known, along with his kindness and compassion for others.”- Living Read Girl

“While showing Farley great love and respect, THE CHRIS FARLEY SHOW is no puff piece and makes no bones about his life. Fans of his work will feel closure, while those who only know him as that guy in TOMMY BOY will be shocked. It’s the ultimate cautionary Hollywood tale that still affects others, even 10 years after the fact.” - Book Gasm

“The most enduring quality I learned about Chris was that he had a really big heart. He was the first person to step up and lend a helping hand, no matter who they were. He never threw around his fame. I enjoyed reading about Chris and where he came from. He was surrrounded by many loving family and friends. The saddest moments were when Chris would slip and drink and do heavy drugs. Everyone around him tried to help him except for his father. This wasn't because he didn't love Chris but because then he would have to admit he had a drinking problem as well.“- Cheryls Book Nook

“Reading The Chris Farley Show I gained a whole new appreciation for Farley as a man and a performer. Farley’s friends and colleagues create a multi-dimensional portrait of a fundamentally good man of childlike faith and infinite compassion who treated homeless people and halfway house denizens as peers and was incredibly generous and compassionate with co-workers, family and friends.”- The AV Club 

“An interesting factoid in The Chris Farley Show is the comedian's strong religious conviction. One of his closest friends and confidantes was a priest, and Farley was a frequent attendee at church, even becoming involved in volunteer work there. Another tidbit about Chris - perhaps unsurprisingly - is that he was very self-conscious about his weight. He was often involved in skits that involved pratfalls and jokes about his size, which led Chris to say that everyone always wanted to see "Fatty fall down."- Pop Culture Madness

“The book makes much of his Irish Catholic upbringing in a ritzy lakeside neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin. Chris' (and the author's) dad, Tom senior, was a heavy drinker for whom alcohol consumption was more a matter of pride than a potential danger. While Tom, Jr., one of the authors of the biography, does not directly blame his now-deceased father, it is suggested that his behavior certainly didn't help Chris as he struggled with his addictions” - Suite 101 Biographies

“The book, like Farley as he’s described, will draw you in, and you won’t want to look away. I found myself captivated as much by the better days Farley had, the honest-togod funny stunts he pulled growing up, as I was by his absolutely stupid binge-drinking once he found fame at Second City and “SNL.” I couldn’t decide which was more powerful, the good or the bad, and I get the impression that this is what the authors wanted.”- Blast Magazine

“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.”- Second City Style

“Chris' life is retold by old friends, family members, co-workers, and other people who were in contact with him. It was honest and heartfelt and gave me a better understanding of Chris "the person", rather than Chris "the comedian". I found myself still truly caring about Chris when I was through with the book. Even though there was more to Chris than comedy, I got a sense that he was born to make others laugh and to bring joy to other people's lives. Corny, I know, but Chris' story is definitely one worth reading.”- Creativity Gone

“The power of the words from the people who knew him best – his brothers, friends, mentors and costars – is amazing. Not everything said in the book is positive, but you really feel like you get a sense of who Chris was, and the things he was dealing with. At the end, I couldn’t help but tear up – I really felt for this good hearted, talented, loving man. Definitely check this out, if you are looking for a good oral history. I am so glad that I read this book.”- Confessions of a Real Librarian

“When you add to a such an interesting story, the ruminations by top comedians and entertainers including Chris Rock, Mike Myers, Conan O’Brien, Tim Meadows, David Spade, Al Franken and Alec Bladwin (who hosted Saturday Night Live), among others, and you have a sensitive tribute and uproarious compendium that I just couldn’t put down.”- Film Fetish

“Those familiar with Chris Farley's comedy will not be surprised to learn that Chris was not acting much during his sketches; he was merely being himself. His personality was what many saw on SNL. He was as shy, hilarious, and animated as he seemed on television, and that is how everyone from fans to friends to family seem to remember the comedic genius that was Chris Farley.”- Luxury Reading

“However if you want a well told book telling the straight up truth about Chris Farley’s long winding fall, give this book a read. I would also recommend this book as a gift to anyone who is involved with over drinking or drugs so they can see just how badly these things can screw them up.”- Cheese God

“I learned a lot about the guy behind the laughter, that I never saw when I watched him on Saturday Night Live or in his movies. It was candid and blunt at times, but was told how it should have been told. The side of Chris that his brother wanted everyone to know about, and remember. I have a new respect for Chris Farley after reading this and know that had it not been for the addictions in his life he would have gone on for a long time in the “industry”, as he had the love of a tight knit family and friends in his corner routing him on.” - PJ Mommy