30 Years Ago: Chris Farley Interviews Paul McCartney on ‘SNL’
Chris Farley provided some of Saturday Night Live's most enduring comedic moments. However, his recurring sketch, The Chris Farley Show, cemented his place in pop culture's upper echelon.
The skit's premise was simple: Farley portrayed a TV host who was nervous interviewing celebrities. He sounded audibly anxious, asked inappropriate questions and beat himself up when he realized he was totally messing up. The sketch only aired three times: twice in 1991 (which found him interviewing Jeff Daniels and Martin Scorsese, respectively) and once more a few years later, on Feb. 13, 1993.
The latter skit found Farley interviewing Beatles legend Paul McCartney, who was on Saturday Night Live as musical guest to promote the recently released Off The Ground. McCartney performed three songs during the episode: "Get Out Of My Way," "Biker Like an Icon" and the Beatles' "Hey Jude." But before all that, he was in the hot seat on The Chris Farley Show, being asked questions such as "Did you see Terminator?" ("No, I missed that one," McCartney said dryly.)
The music legend kept a straight face throughout the awkward interview, and gamely answered queries such as, "Remember when you were with the Beatles? That was awesome," with patient kindness. "Yeah, it was," McCartney responded.
Watch Chris Farley Interview Paul McCartney on 'Saturday Night Live'
Later, Farley zeroed in one some of McCartney's more memorable life moments. "You remember when you were with the Beatles, and you were supposed to be dead, and, uh, there was all these clues, that, like, uh, you'd play some song backwards, and it'd say, like, 'Paul Is Dead,' and, uh, everyone thought that you were dead?" McCartney nodded in recognition, before Farley asked, "That was, um, a hoax, right?"
"Yeah, I wasn't really dead," Paul deadpanned.
McCartney wasn't as keen answering questions about being arrested and jailed for trying to bring marijuana into Japan, however, which caused Farley to call himself an idiot, then hit himself on the head in frustration and exclaim, "What a dumb question!"
Ever calm, McCartney let him know, "No, no, no, Chris. I get asked that all the time in interviews. Maria Shriver asked the same question last week." As the skit wound down, Paul once again reassured Farley that he did a good job – and sounded genuine, not patronizing, with his demeanor.
Farley was a Saturday Night Live cast member through 1995, and hosted the show in October 1997, but The Chris Farley Show never popped up again. Sadly, Farley died on Dec. 18, 1997, of a drug overdose.
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