By Joshua Waddles
3 March 2023
Kenan Thompson, a lifelong veteran of sketch comedy, holds the record as the longest running cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” With a record of 20 seasons as of this writing, his filmography dwarfs that of the previous record holder, Darrell Hammond. Working in the film industry since the age of five, Thompson created dozens of films and shows that remain nostalgic classics while his career only continues to grow.
And even he was impressed when worked with Chris Farley. Speaking on the podcast “PEOPLE in the ’90s,” Thompson said he was amazed by Farley on the set of “All That” in 1997.
“I learned literally a wealth of career knowledge in three hours, just watching a pro take direction,” said Thompson. “But also, do what he wanted.”
The episode aired in January, 1997, just under a year before Farley’s death. Farley made a few television appearances that year, visiting as a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that same month and hosting “Saturday Night Live in October.” But by that point in his career, Farley focused most of his energy on movies.
For his appearance on “All That,” he performed in a skit called “Cooking with Randy,” staring Kenan Thompson as the chocolate obsessed host. The running gag on this skit was Randy’s tendency to spray chocolate over every meal. Yet Farley’s self-named character, Chef Farley, upset Randy by bringing in a massive chocolate cake. Which he then covered in ketchup.
Thompson took notes during Farley’s appearance, saying he remembered strategies which he still uses. He said Farley immediately made people laugh on set even before the cameras came on, and Thompson did the same when he started with “Saturday Night Live.”
“As soon as you walk through those doors, you’re on, it’s time to be funny. It’s not time to just be there, it’s time to prove why you’re there.”
Farley continued his work on movies until the very week of his death. Studios released two of these movies posthumously: “Almost Heroes” and “Dirty Work,” starring Norm Macdonald and Artie Lange. He was also meant to be a part of the never-produced “Ghostbusters 3,” echoing the death of SNL legend John Belushi, who was originally meant to play the role of Peter Venkman in the original.
Farley also recorded nearly all of the lines for the original “Shrek.” These recordings were considered lost for nearly 20 years until they were finally found.
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