CHICAGO – Funnyman Chris Farley, best known for his celebrity impressions including Jerry Garcia, Tom Arnold, and Dom DeLuise on the long-running NBC variety show Saturday Night Live, has returned from a 21-year absence from the public.
“I had a revelation back in 1997 that if I didn’t change my habits, I wan’t going to be around for very much longer. I had to take a step back and really evaluate my life and my priorities”, Farley was quoted as saying to reporters. “At my peak, I weighed almost 300 pounds. I was eating unhealthy, I wasn’t exercising”.
Farley, who’s also known for his work on the Nickelodeon’s All That and the blockbuster film Almost Heroes is ready to get back into the world of entertainment. “I’ve been performing at some open mics and poetry readings, and the response has been pretty remarkable. I used to rely on doing impressions like Rush Limbaugh and Hank Williams, Jr. to make people laugh. Now I’m finding out that I have much more to offer.”
When asked how he’s occupied his time over the last two decades, the slimmed down comic remarked “I’ve been working with a nutritionist, focusing on eating healthy. I’ve become a vegetarian, quit smoking [cigarettes], I do yoga. I had to develop healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve been spending a lot of time with [girlfriend] Lorri [Bagley], helping her with her photography blog.”
It’s hard to believe it’s Chris Farley when you see him. “I’m at 155 pounds now, working on those last 10. It’s been a journey for sure, but it feels great,” remarked Farley, who also commented on his future, “I had the opportunity to do some local theater around Chicago, and I’ve discovered my dramatic side as well.”
Farley has received the support of fellow SNL alumni such as Ellen Cleghorne and Rob Schneider on his journey. “Ellen, Rob and I were like the Three Musketeers of SNL back in the day, so it’s been a blessing that they’ve stuck by my side. They’ve been encouraging me every step of the way, and to be honest, I’m not sure I’d be around if not for them”.
For those clamoring to get a glimpse of the new Chris Farley, his fans won’t have to wait long. He’s just wrapped production of the first season of Standing Alone, a new Netflix series where he plays an out-of-work comedian who returns home to Minot, North Dakota to care for his mother who is battling dementia. “It’s been wonderful to be working again, and I’m excited for what the future will hold.”
Farley also plans to perform a 10-minute comedy set at the Shaken Not Stirred open-mic at Shakers (3160 North Clark Street, Chicago) on Monday, February 11th.