Superstar comedian / actor Chris Rock has had many successes since his time on SNL. He's sold out comedy tours and giant stadiums, won several Emmy Awards, hosted his own talk show, starred in, written, and directed movies, and been called the funniest man in America by, well, more than a few people. Even with the whirlwind that his career has been, Rock still has fond memories of his time on Saturday Night Live, and of becoming friends with Chris Farley. But, Rock also has vivid memories of visiting with Farley toward the end, and recently recalled knowing that it might be the last time he'd see him.
One of the most well-known friendship groups to come out of early 1990s Saturday Night Live cast members was the quartet known as "The Bad Boys of SNL." Chris Rock, Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, and David Spade (who all joined the show as either featured players or as writers in 1990) were known for creating and starring in hit sketches on the show, as well as their behind the scenes funny business. Fans are likely aware that the surviving members of the group are still very close, working together on a regular basis, and that they all still mourn the loss of Farley, who died of a drug overdose when he was only 33 years old.
Chris Rock recently spoke to Esquire, and when asked about a famous photo of the foursome, which was taken during his first major comedy tour after his 1996 comedy special, Bring the Pain, made him one of the most successful and acclaimed comedians in the world, Rock recalled seeing Chris Farley right before he died, and noted:
I would see him one more time when I did a gig in Chicago. We tried to hang out afterwards, but… I don’t know if you’ve ever really hung out with an addict. Towards the end, anything that isn’t the drug is a chore.
Much like his friends, Chris Farley made a huge name for himself while on SNL. He was released from his contract by the end of the 1994-1995 season (along with many of the other performers who were there at the time), but went on to focus on his film career, and was making great strides there, as well, with starring roles in now-classic comedies like Tommy Boy (with David Spade) and Beverly Hills Ninja. Unfortunately, just a couple of years after leaving the late night series, Farley overdosed on a combination of morphine and cocaine, cutting his promising career short.
Farley had struggled with drug and alcohol use for several years by the time he died, and from what Chris Rock said, it sounds like his friends were very aware of his issues and the impact they were having on his young life. As with most people who deal with substance abuse, though, Farley's friends and family were mostly powerless when it came to helping him. Rock continued, and spoke about having the realization that that visit with Farley was probably going to be the last time he saw his friend:
I remember I was at his apartment. He was showing me his apartment. I leave, I see him out the window, and I was like, ‘That’s probably the last time I’m going to see him.’ I knew.
As noted earlier, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and David Spade have never forgotten Chris Farley, and continue to pay public tribute to him whenever they can. Fortunately, Farley's work will always live on.