Christina Applegate Reveals Secrets of Chris Farley’s First Matt Foley Sketch on ‘SNL’

Ever wonder why David Spade’s eyes look so sultry?
Christina Applegate Reveals Secrets of Chris Farley’s First Matt Foley Sketch on ‘SNL’

Chris Farley’s first sketch as Matt Foley has long been Saturday Night Live legend, probably the first clip shown in any Farley retrospective. Part of the hilarity is thanks to the inability of Christina Applegate and David Spade to keep a straight face during Farley’s furious tirade. But according to Applegate on this week’s Fly on the Wall podcast, the cracking up started long before Farley even entered the scene.  

Applegate was already losing it because she and Spade were coming straight off another sketch featuring the recurring Gap Girls characters. 


That caused problems for Spade because there was so little time between scenes. He had a few moments to change into his Motivational Speaker T-shirt, but not enough to completely remove his Gap Girl face. “What had happened to me personally is (Spade) came down the stairs at the beginning, and you still had purple eyeshadow on,” Applegate explained. “So now I’m already done. It was not like just a little, it was the full eye of purple eyeshadow.”

She’s right! The eyeshadow is a little hard to pick up, but Spade’s pouty lips are still puckered in gloss and a heavy line of mascara creates a smokey eye. No wonder Applegate was “already on the precipice of losing it.” 

Of course, Farley’s entrance pushed her over the edge. “Chris comes out and does his thing,” she remembered. “But he’s taken it to 11 whereas in rehearsal it was 9.5. He went so far into Loony Town, and Dave and I could not handle it.”  

Julia Sweeney and Phil Hartman gave Applegate and Spade the “knock it off” side-eye. “They were very professional,” Applegate said, “and we were not.” 

“That’s ‘in trouble’ stuff,” responded Spade. “You get in trouble there if you laugh.”

Carvey wondered who started laughing first, and in Applegate’s memory, it was a tie. “I could feel both of us trying to hold it in as much as we could,” she said. “I put my hair in front of my eyes because I knew I had a line coming up, my only funny line in the sketch. And I was going to say this freaking line. With everything that was in myself, (I had) to pull it together, pull it together, pull it together, pull it together just to deliver the line. And then I was done again.”

Even Farley’s rehearsals were over the top but the live sketch took things to a new level. “He fell into the table before, but the way he had fallen into the table in that particular moment was way dangerous,” marveled Applegate.   

Farley was lovely, she said, remembering the Monday meeting with the cast and writers the week she hosted. ”This is your first introduction, and you can tell if people are interested in having you there. I don‘t think anyone was very interested in me because the ideas were all kind of shit. But I remember Farley sat at my feet, and he just looked up at me with this crazy look on his face and just kept giggling. And I was like, who is this very odd human being?”

That’s when Farley pitched “Van Down by the River,” and not for the first time. “I do remember Lorne (Michaels) saying to me, ‘Hey, Chris has been pitching this van-down-by-the-river thing for years. Would you mind if we do it?’” Applegate remembered. “He literally said, ‘I gotta throw him a bone on this one. He‘s pitched it so many times.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course.’”

“So it was like a favor,” she added. “And for it to become one of the most iconic sketches in SNL history is kind of amazing.”


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