Young Chris Farley Cheered on the Ghostbusters During an Oprah Taping

Eagle-eyed viewers noticed the future ‘SNL’ star in the audience
Young Chris Farley Cheered on the Ghostbusters During an Oprah Taping

Back in the summer of 1989, Ghostbusters II was pretty much everywhere. There were Ghostbusters II T-shirts, lunchboxes, coloring books and fast-food kid’s meals, complete with a free “ghost in a can.” 

Yup, nothing goes with a burger and fries quite like a disembodied soul imprisoned by aluminum.

And you couldn’t turn on a TV without catching cast members promoting the movie, such as when Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray guested on The Tonight Show. Although Aykroyd spent less time talking about Ghostbusters II than he did chatting with Johnny Carson about poltergeists and psychic surgeries.

But the whole Ghostbusters II cast (minus Rick Moranis and the dude from the creepy painting) appeared together on The Oprah Winfrey Show. As far as we know, it’s the only episode in the show’s history in which Oprah shoves her hand into a bucket of psychomagnotheric slime.

Meanwhile, Murray fielded questions about the nature of his smirk, suggesting that it was genetic, since “generations of Irishmen were beaten for pig-stealing and our faces just ended up this way.”

But what’s most fascinating about this particular show is the audience — specifically one audience member who appears to be a young, pre-Saturday Night Live Chris Farley. You can see him briefly when the camera pans across the crowd. He’s the one cheering excessively for Sigourney Weaver’s Oscar nominations.

There’s never been any official confirmation of this — although IMDb does have him listed in the credits for the episode — but, come on, that’s definitely Chris Farley, right? The timing and location certainly make sense. Oprah taped her show in Chicago, and Farley was also in Chicago in 1989. He was promoted to the Second City’s Mainstage that year, where, perhaps not coincidentally, he performed with Murray’s brother, Joel.

Oddly enough, just a few years after he caught the OG Ghostbusters in person, Farley’s name was in the mix for a planned third Ghostbusters movie that never came to fruition. Reportedly, Farley was the one who inspired Aykroyd to revisit the Ghostbusters franchise after they worked together in Tommy Boy. Aykroyd envisioned a new crew of Ghostbusters, to be played by Farley, Chris Rock and Ben Stiller. And, quite possibly, this was the same Ghostbusters sequel idea that found them journeying to a Hell dimension version of New York City, and battling a Donald Trump-like character who was also the literal Devil.

At the time, Aykroyd boasted about his casting plan: “I've already talked to Chris about the casting and have told him I'll be drafting the part for him.” But the project fell apart even before Farley’s untimely passing because, according to Harold Ramis, the studio wouldn’t greenlight the film purely due to the high salaries of Aykroyd, Murray and director Ivan Reitman.

That half second clip of Farley cheering is probably better than Ghostbusters 3 would have been anyways.

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