On the face of it, Comedy giant Chris Farley and basketball megastar Michael Jordan would seem to have absolutely nothing in common.
But they actually did share some commonalities. Chris Rock recently pointed out one of them: None of Farley’s or Jordan’s colleagues thought they could match up to their virtuosity.
Rock made the comparison on Wednesday’s new episode of Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade. The podcast features the Saturday Night Live vets reminiscing about their time on the variety show, and they usually invite a guest to do the same.
Rock was a great get, having worked as a cast member on SNL from 1990 to 1993. He said Chris Farley was immeasurably talented and in a league of his own on the long-running late-night program.
“No one was competing with Farley,” Rock said. “It was just like, ‘He’s Michael Jordan, and give him the ball.’”
Carvey and Spade wholeheartedly agreed.
Rock then mused what Farley might have accomplished in his career had he not passed away prematurely. The comedian speculated whether Chris Farley could’ve expanded his range, as Adam Sandler did with his pitch-perfect performance in 2019’s Uncut Gems.
Capping off his fond memories of Farley, Rock recalled the love people had for the “unhateable” Farley.
Farley and Jordan, Kindred Spirits?
Farley and Jordan actually had more in common than just being the go-to guys in their collectives.
For starters, they both had deep ties to Chicago, which played a large part in their success. (Chris Farley got noticed for his superb performances in the improv group Second City. Without question, Michael Jordan is the greatest Chicago Bull of all time.)
More than that, Farley and Jordan were two of the biggest cultural icons of the 1990s.
SNL fans might recall that Chris Farley actually raved about Jordan in a 1992 sketch featuring the sidesplitting Chicago-based “Super Fans.”
For those unfamiliar with the crew, SNL’s Super Fans considered themselves sports experts. But they were just drunken homers who belonged in a sports bar (or a basement) to ignorantly bloviate and talk trash.
The recurring Super Fans sketches birthed the term “Da Bears,” spoken in a thick Chicago accent. Think of it as that city’s version of Boston’s “pahk the cah in Havahd Yahd.”
The central trio also featured Mike Myers and Triumph the Insult Dog creator Robert Smigel, hard to recognize due to their mustaches, sports caps, and the dark sunglasses they wore indoors.
The Super Fans usually ranted about the Chicago Bears. But Cheers actor George Wendt joined them in one sketch to preview a Chicago Bulls/Detroit Pistons game.
Farley’s character, Pat, ridiculously predicted the Bulls would rout the Pistons by a score of 402 to 0.
“But,” he qualified, “Michael Jordan will be held to under 200 points.”
Wendt’s character called him out, saying, “Pat, 100 points is the record.”
“Was,” Chris Farley’s character replied.
Sunday marks the 25-year anniversary of Farley’s death. He died at 33 due to an overdose of cocaine and morphine.