Saturday Night Live Used To Be Funny

I often long for a time when SNL was funny. I anticipated writing a post which listed the reasons why SNL isn’t funny anymore, but since my memory is clouded with malted hops and bong resin [and Tommy Boy quotes] the most recent funny sketch I can think of on command is the above sketch.

While I’m on topic with a Tommy Boy quote I decided I’d share a little story about my personal experience with Chris Farley with y’all. Most of you won’t care, and I don’t care that you don’t care, so you’re more than welcome to fuck off and go play somewhere else. For those of you who do care, keep reading after the jump…

I was juggling two jobs, barely going to school, and not affording to live in Santa Barbara back in the mid 90s. One of my jobs was at Starbucks as a Barrrrrrrista on State St. SB is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on the West coast. However, it was flooded with the vermin that are rich, pretentious Hollywood types who need a vacation from their perpetual vacation every weekend.

Our high profile location attracted everyone from super friendly locals, to rich businessperson types, to homeless people, to hippies fresh off the beach and covered in sand fleas, to billionaire moguls, to random celebrities. And by random celebrities I mean it ran the gamut. It went from fancy directors to gaffers. It went from Steve Martin to 90210 cast members, from Rob Lowe to Melrose Place cast members. All the while we didn’t pay any more attention to them than we would anyone else and didn’t outwardly care who they were because, well, we didn’t really care. Sure, once in a while we’d laugh at how short and not particularly attractive these celebrities were in person as opposed to their larger than life characters we saw in movies, television and all that shit, but then we’d get back to work and real life which involved more interesting regular people.

And then there was Chris Farley. And Chris Farley’s mom.

Here I am at “the bar” on a busy day, and as I’m doing my thing (making the best milk foam ever) I look up and meet eyes with someone who’s staring right back at me as though he busted me for not smiling when I SHOULD be smiling. He had the brightest eyes ever and this smile that could, honest to God, kill you with kindness. I can’t remember what he was saying to me for a while because I was star struck – and I almost never get star struck. Most of these “stars” are just DICKS, and I refuse to care about them, but people like Farley. They’re rare. They live to make you laugh, they’re all heart, and that’s all they’re about. Any fan of Farley knows that. Hence my starstruckness.

Anyway, so Farley was across the bar from me and there he is saying hilarious shit which was being shot at everyone in the room like ticklish buckshot. He looks at me and as he puts his arm around this adorable woman next to him, who was by far the most amused woman in the place, he says, “I love my mom!!” He looked so much larger than this petite woman, but he still managed to force her to upstage him somehow. Then his mom blushed, and smiled, and giggled, as did everyone else, and we all melted. Then I look up and like Garfield cats with suction cup paws there were about six teenage boys plastered to the window outside the coffee shop mouthing, “OH MY GOD THAT’S CHRIS FARLEY! CHRIS FARLEY’S IN THERE OH MY GOD!!!” But they weren’t mouthing it. They were apparently saying it loud enough to cause a small scene on the street corner.

At this point I hadn’t specifically acknowledged I knew who this man was, because as I stated before, that was just not our style. However, I had to say something, so I leaned over the bar and whispered to Chris, “Uh, you have a few fans out there.” Chris Farley lit up, looked over his left shoulder, saw all those Garfield cats on that window and (Chris Farley style) threw all of his weight against “the bar” and (Chris Farley style) gasped in amazement at the audience he had not until then realized he’d gathered.

He waved the Garfield cats inside, shook their hands, gave them hugs, thanked them for the love, and proudly introduced them to his mom. I gave Chris a stack of Starbucks cups and a pen for the spontaneous autograph signing.

Eventually all of Farley’s grateful fans high-fived their way out the door. Chris and his still-blushing and proud mother gathered their drinks I’d made (which I hope were perfect) and they made their way out. Chris Farley respectfully opened the door for his mother and as she left she thanked us all and Farley followed her while waving goodbye and thanking us all.

As I re-stacked those green and white cups which had fallen over when Chris hit the bar, I still hadn’t gathered enough courage to tell Chris how much I adored him. He died not long after my “brush with fame,” but as jaded as I was then and still am about celebrities, I’m so grateful I got a chance to meet Chris Farley. The whole encounter was less than an hour, but he made a lot of people’s days that day.