So many characters come and go in Saturday Night Live but some of them become memorable. These types of rare SNL signature characters are written from a unique perspective. And most importantly, they pull off what’s written.
Characters like Bill Hader as Stefon, Kristen Wiig as Target Lady, Church Lady, and Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher have impressed us all. This post especially features Chris Farley’s Matt Foley character that is considered as one of his career highlights.
The Sketch Was Written By Bob Odenkirk From ‘Breaking Bad’ & ‘Better Call Saul’
Odenkirk Returned To Chicago’s Second City Theater In 1990 When Chris Farley And Tim Meadows Were Performing There
Odenkirk Took A ‘Go-To Voice’ Farley Had Been Doing For A Football Coach And Built A Character Around It
Odenkirk revealed on The View that he had heard Farley do the Foley voice in a different Second City sketch. “He had done a voice like that in an improv sketch, he was like a coach… and it was just a go-to voice for him,” Odenkirk said. “And I went and wrote this thing about a guy living in his van down by the river and he just [slayed] it every night. It was an amazing thing to see.”
‘Matt Foley’ Was The Name Of A Pastor Who Was Farley’s Real-Life Friend And Classmate At Marquette
“Most of us, we’re much more complex than people portray us to be,” Father Foley says in the 2015 documentary I Am Chris Farley. “There’s the public persona and then there’s the person you know as a family member and a friend. Chris was that character people think he was, but he was not that character all the time. He also had a reflective side, a spiritual side, and a very caring side.”
Farley called Foley hours before the sketch first aired in May 1993 to give him a heads-up. “Matt Foley is going to be on tonight,” Farley said. “You’ve got to watch it.”
There’s Early Footage Of Farley Performing The Nearly Fully-Formed Character At Second City With Odenkirk
The Character Was First Introduced To A National Audience In 1993, Three Years After Farley Joined ‘SNL’
“It worked really well, but it inaugurated this trend of Chris being really clumsy and falling down a lot,” Smigel said. “That sort of broad clumsiness was actually the opposite of what Chris’s talents as a physical comedian were.”
Everyone Onstage, Including David Spade, Julia Sweeney, And Host Christina Applegate, Transparently Cracked Up Throughout The Entire First Performance
“In rehearsal, he’d done the thing with his glasses… But he’d never done the twisting his belt and hitching up the pants thing,” Spade said. “He saved that for the live performance, and so none of us had ever seen it. He knew that would break me.”
Foley Went On To Make Several Special Appearances Outside Of ‘SNL’
According To Odenkirk, The Key To The Character Is That He Feels Like A Real Person
That character is telling a story with that catchphrase. It paints a picture; the phrase has a lot more meaning to it than just a catchphrase that stands alone. That sketch contains a very strong idea: that this guy uses his own tragic career path as fodder for his motivational speaker bit. But there is a lot more to it when Chris did it, and he made that character whole. It’s not a gimmick. You felt like there was a real person in that character.
The ‘Matt Foley’ Sketch Formula Changed After Odenkirk Left ‘SNL’
“I told Chris and the writers, ‘Look. Whatever you do, the one thing to remember is: Don’t start from the ending. Start from the beginning, so that you have somewhere to go,’” Odenkirk recalled. “Almost every time Chris did that sketch after I left SNL, he started by breaking the table.”
In 2014, ‘Rolling Stone’ Named ‘Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker’ The Greatest Sketch In ‘SNL’ History
In 2015, Melissa McCarthy Reprised The Character For The ‘SNL’ 40th Anniversary Special