My ten-year-old daughter loves the Broadway show “Hamilton.” My daughter’s friends love “Hamilton.” A number of them have memorized the lyrics, and the ones that haven’t been able to see the show have bought the cast album. I find myself playing the album repeatedly, and each time I do, I catch fresh nuances in the lyrics and the music. So when a chance to chat with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the show, came up, I had to take it. I interviewed him right after the word had come down that “Hamilton” had made Broadway history by grabbing 16 Tony nominations, the most-ever for a show. Listen to the podcast.
I recently took a trip to London to talk to actress Sophie Turner about the coming season six of “Game of Thrones.” Turner plays noblewoman Sansa Stark on the HBO hit, and she told me, surprisingly, that she wants her character to get killed off. Why? You’ll have to watch the video. For more go to WSJ.com/WSJCafe.
I did a video segment on Hollywood, the Oscars and diversity for the Wall Street Journal. Here’s the video.
The mayor of New Rochelle declared by proclamation, that today, Nov. 9, 2015, is officially Christopher John Farley Day! I hope people mark the day by buying my kids fantasy novel “Game World” in bulk! I also thought I’d post some of my favorite “day” videos to celebrate (The Ice Cube video is NSFW, but the groove is good). Are there any great ones I left out?
My favorite moments at this week’s GOP debate were when my wife, CNBC senior personal finance correspondent Sharon Epperson, challenged the candidates to confront two of the biggest issues facing America: student loans and retirement. Nobody wants to talk about retirement in part because it’s hard to face up to the idea of getting old, and many folks don’t want to talk about student loans because we’re filled with guilt about failing our young. Retirement and student loans may not be sexy subjects, but they are just the kind of important issues candidates need to grapple with during an election year. “This country has over $100 billion in student loan defaults–that’s billion with a b,” Sharon said during the debates, before posing her question. “What will you do to make sure that students, their families, taxpayers, won’t feel the economic impact of this burden for generations?” Here are the videos of the questions Sharon posed to the GOP candidates.
Actress Melissa Benoist, who stars in the title role in “Supergirl,” stopped by the WSJ Cafe to talk about a range of things including the new show, Jeb Bush calling her “pretty hot,” and whether she could beat up Wonder Woman and the Flash. For more go to WSJ.com/WSJCafe. Watch the videos.
I spent the summer binge-watching every episode of “The Walking Dead,” and all that time in front of the tube paid off. Actress Danai Gurira, who co-stars as Michonne on “The Walking Dead,” stopped by the WSJ Café to talk to me about the new season of the show. Gurira also discussed her play at the Public Theater, “Eclipsed,” that deals with civil war in Liberia and stars Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o.
For more, go to the WSJ Cafe.
Here’s the interview with “The Martian” director Ridley Scott that I did for the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Cafe. The movie was No.1 at the box office this weekend.
Here’s what Scott had to say about his planned sequels to “Alien” and “Blade Runner”…
For more, please visit the WSJ Cafe and follow me @CJFarley on Twitter.
I haven’t seen the movie, and probably never will.
You see, I am Chris Farley.
Chris Farley–the subject of the new documentary–is white, fat and dead.
Chris Farley–the author of this essay–is black, runs a couple miles a day to avoid obesity, and is very much alive.
This Chris Farley wants his name back.
In the age of social media, names matter. Establishing an identity before someone else grabs it is important. @KanyeWest is a brand name. @KanyeWest73 is just jumping on the bandwagon. You know that line from the theme song of the sitcom “Cheers”? “You want to go where everybody knows your name”? The web is the opposite of “Cheers”–nobody knows anybody’s name, not for certain. Nobody knows if the person they’re communicating with is really who they say they are, or if they really know what they’re talking about. When you have a name that people recognize and respect and can verify, it elevates you above all the folks who are Tweeting and Instagramming and Facebooking, because it gives your opinions some credibility.
As a journalist, novelist and film producer I’ve spent a lot of time building up my name–only to see it taken away by someone I never met.
I knew I was going to have trouble with the other Chris Farley the first time I went to meet Chris Rock back in the early 1990s. Both of them were serving as cast members at “Saturday Night Live,” and I was working across the street at Time magazine and had to see Rock for work. The security guard at the desk downstairs at 30 Rock didn’t believe me when I gave him my name and things quickly devolved into a “Who’s on First” routine. “You’re not Chris Farley,” the guard declared to me.
Not long after that, I accidentally got a script in the mail for a big-screen version of the “SNL” sketch “Coneheads.” Someone had been trying to send it to the other Chris Farley and it wound up at my apartment instead. The script was terrible, so I figured I was doing the other Farley a favor by not passing it on. Not that I had his address. He was already so famous, it was unlisted.
But when the other Chris Farley died of drug overdose in 1997 at the age of 33 part of me died too. The jokes I used to get from office receptionists and switchboard operators and reservation takers at restaurants–”You don’t look like Chris Farley!” “Isn’t Chris Farley white?” “Isn’t Chris Farley dead?”–began to fade away with his memory.
You know what? Maybe I will see “I Am Chris Farley” after all. I used to feel threatened by the other Chris Farley. We all have the feeling that no matter how hard we’re working, we’re not doing as much as we could with our lives. When somebody who shares our names becomes more famous, it feels like proof that we’ve failed do as much we could have with what we were given. If someone with the same name managed to make it big, what’s my excuse?
The other Chris Farley has been dead for almost 20 years now, and maybe, with this new movie, it’s time to let go of this weird competitive feeling I’ve always had with him, and to be thankful for the things that have gone right in my life. If I had shared a name with another celebrity comedian, one who was a little less white and a little more alive, things might have been even more confusing.
I’m sure glad my name is Chris Farley and not Chris Rock.
UFC fighter Ronda Rousey has a surprisingly big part in the new “Entourage” movie that just came out. Here’s what she told me in a recent interview I had with her along with sportswriter Jason Gay at the WSJ Cafe, an arts and culture showcase that I run at the Wall Street Journal.
Check out my new fantasy novel for kids, “Game World.” I’ll be reading from the book on Sat., June 6, around 1:30pm at BookCourt in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn (163 Court St.). Hope you can make it!