Summertime Cold Open
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Chris Farley was only 33 when he died from a drug overdose in 1997. His hilarious performances continue to entertain. One of the comic's most memorable skits occurred early in his "SNL" career, in 1990: A Chippendales audition that pits the 300-pounder against hardbody Patrick Swayze. The two couldn't look more different as they strut their stuff onstage. The performance leave the judges torn; they tell Farley and Swayze, "Either of you would make a wonderful addition to the Chippendale family." In the end, they go with Swayze because Farley is "fat and flabby." Even though Swayze is weeping with joy, he can't help but praise his competitor: "He's got some of the sexiest moves I've ever seen! And if you're really serious about going with me, it can only be because his body's so bad!" The fellow cast members also couldn't believe their eyes. "I played one of the judges and my experience was the same as anyone who's seen it on television," Kevin Nealon recalled in Tanner Colby’s biography "The Chris Farley Show." He added, "I can't think of the word to describe it. Incredulous, maybe? I did everything I could to keep a straight face." Mike Myers, who also played a judge, added, "I knew in rehearsal a star was born." Some thought the joke came at too high a price, highlighting Farley's insecurities that fed his battle with addiction. "'Chippendales' was a weird sketch. I always hated it," comedian Chris Rock said in the Farley biography. "The joke of it is, basically, 'We can't hire you because you're fat.' There's no comic twist to it. It's just f***ing mean. A more mentally together Chris Farley wouldn't have done it, but Chris wanted so much to be liked. As funny as that sketch was ... it's one of the things that killed him." Comedian Jeff Garlin agreed that there was more to Farley than fat jokes. "Chris Farley would have still been funny had he weighed 190 pounds and he didn't drink and he didn't smoke and he didn't do anything that was bad for him," he said. "The sad thing is he didn't believe that, and he didn't know that." Despite such criticisms, the sketch is often praised as a classic — and Rolling Stone recently named it one of the funniest of all time. – By Claudine Zap (@zapkidd)
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