As a huge (no pun intended) fan of Chris Farley in general and “Tommy Boy” in particular — there weren’t many more popular or quotable movies on campus during my college days — I wasn’t sure what to think about the new DirecTV ad featuring the late comedian’s classic “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” scene from the 1995 movie (watch it below). DirecTV has been running similar commercials for a while now, recreating iconic movie moments from films like “Aliens,” “Back to the Future” and “King Kong” to help illustrate why DirecTV is (allegedly) so much better than cable. I had enjoyed the other spots I saw but, for some reason, watching a re-dubbed David Spade in the “Tommy Boy” commercial with the original footage of Farley seemed…strange. “Tasteless, insensitive or just plain weird” is how the guys at Asylum.com described some of the public reaction to the commercials, which prompted Asylum to contact Spade’s publicist in search of a statement. Here is Spade’s response:
“When DIRECT TV came to me and the Farley family with this idea about ‘Tommy Boy,’ we talked and thought it would be a cool way to remind people just how funny Chris was. It is a clever homage to my friend and a movie that we loved doing.”
Spade said the commercial reminds people how funny Farley was, but it hit me that there may very well be hordes of college kids who have never even known how funny Farley was (he died in 1997) and have never seen “Tommy Boy” or “Black Sheep.” (We can only hope they haven’t been exposed to “Beverly Hills Ninja.”) Will “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” prompt some of them to
download rent “Tommy Boy”? Absolutely.
Asylum also heard from a DirecTV spokesperson:
“We should look to Chris’ family and friends for the ultimate opinion on this subject. They were involved from the beginning of this project and felt that the spot was a great tribute to Chris.”
Talk about hitting the nail on the head. If Farley’s family was comfortable with the commercial, shouldn’t we all be? What is there to be offended by, anyway? Considering Farley’s short life was all about making other people laugh, he certainly wouldn’t want people to take this commercial — or his legacy — so seriously.
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