How A Behind-The-Scenes Chris Farley Joke Became One Of His Best Saturday Night Live Bits

The 2008 Chris Farley biography “The Chris Farley Show” is a treasure trove of stories from the comedian’s life and career. One anecdote comes from friend and “Saturday Night Live” co-star Norm Macdonald. As Macdonald tells it, Farley would annoy castmates and others backstage with a running joke. As noted by The Ringer, the comedian recalled the joke to the book’s authors, Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby. Farley would say:

“I seen my friend Bill the other day, and I says to him, I look him right in the eye and I says to him, I says, I says to Bill, I says to him, get this, what I says to him, I says… “

The joke with no punchline would get funnier the longer it lasted. “He’d do it 200 different ways,” Macdonald said. “It would just get funnier and funnier and funnier. When you can reduce something to four words and be funny for 25 minutes without an actual joke or punch line, that’s genius. It’s not even really comedy anymore. It’s almost like music, like jazz variations.”

Macdonald got such a kick out of Farley’s gag that he convinced “SNL” brass to allow Farley to take the sketch beyond backstage.

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