Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not So Funny

Reviewed by Walt Mueller

Chris Farley was one funny guy. But that humor masked an individual who was much more complex than someone who always was able to generate a laugh. When he died from an overdose at the age of 33, people wrote him off as another celebrity train wreck. It was like John Belushi all over again. Concerned that his brother would never be truly known as anything other than the overweight star of Saturday Night Live and several movies, Tom Farley decided to tell Chris’ story in The Chris Farley Story: A Biography in Three Acts (Viking, 2008).

Why would a ministry concerned with matters of faith and culture recommend a Hollywood bio? In this case it’s because The Chris Farley Story forces us to examine many of the emerging and oftentimes sad realities of living life in a celebrity-obsessed culture—whether one is a celebrity or celebrity watcher. Tom Farley wants readers to know that Chris was not only a comedic genius, but that he was a very real person who grew up struggling with the realities of living in a family crippled by addiction. Farley was earnest, sincere and a genuinely caring person who dealt with his own insecurities by trying to make other people laugh.

This hilarious and heartbreaking portrait not only tells Chris’ story, but includes more than a hundred exclusive interviews and observations from people who knew Chris the best, including David Spade, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Chris’ priest and his brothers. Readers should not approach this book as entertainment. Rather, it’s a case study in humanity, the ills of depravity and the desire for ultimate redemption. If you have a heart, this is a book that will make you grieve what we’ve become, grieve the brokenness that runs deep and wide in our culture, and see the need for ultimate redemption through Jesus Christ.

No comments: