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SNL Sketch Showdown: Motivational Speaker vs The Chris Farley Show

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Welcome to the “Saturday Night Live” Sketch Showdown. Every weekday, an IFC writer will determine the winner of a matchup between two classic “SNL” sketches. You can check out the full bracket here.

Farley Fest

Chris Farley. Love him or hate him, miss him or not, Chris Farley was a large man with an even larger talent for making people laugh. The Wisconsin-born performer was part of the early ‘90s exodus of folks from Chicago’s Second City to New York’s “Saturday Night Live,” coming aboard in an era that gave us Adam Sandler, Dana Carvey, Mike Myers, and the exit of Nora Dunn. Farley may have seemed like the prototypical “big fat funny guy,” but the longer he was on the show, and the more tell-all books about his tenure on the show that are written show, he was a complex human being who never let the pressure of live television get to him: He was performing for the audience and also for his fellow cast mates. That kind of passion is incredibly rare.

The Matchup

Everyone remembers Matt Foley, the motivational speaker who lives down in a van by the river. He was an incredibly flawed character who was a motivational speaker in title only: He was depressing and seemingly hired by suburban families to crush their children’s’ dreams and also demonstrate what happens to people who don’t clean up their act — they become motivational speakers. He was a loud, brash character who would be perpetually hiking his khakis higher and higher before wiping out spectacularly (another Farley trademark — his physicality) and crushing a table or crashing through a window. It’s funny as it happens, but when you sit and think about it, there’s a large deal of intense sadness in these scenes just under the surface.

And then there’s “The Chris Farley Show,” where all those bathos come bubbling up to the surface. Chris parodies himself in these sketches, where he has that week’s host as a guest on his personal talk show. On Farley’s show, Chris is a nervous host-interviewer who fumbles his way through talk show standards like the monologue and introducing his guest, and then proceeds to reminisce with his guests about their projects without shedding any additional insight. Sometimes, the projects Chris remembers has nothing to do with his guests, like when he asked Jeff Daniels about “Die Hard” and Paul McCartney about “Terminator.” Regardless, when Chris beats himself up for how horrible he’s doing, his guests always perk him back up and assure him he’s really quite good at this.

And The Winner Is…

“The Chris Farley Show.” Chris Farley had that rare ability to create a long string of characters “SNL” audiences couldn’t get enough of, but these were a cut above the rest for so many reasons. They were light satires of entertainment journalism (and what it would become) and our culture’s obsession with celebrity, while also just being flat-out goofy and lovable. It also showcased Farley on a completely different wavelength — there’s no screaming or table-smashing here.

Did the right sketch win? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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