Chris Farley Resurrected for Questionable David Spade DirecTV Commercial


Here’s an open question for you: when it comes to advertising, are there any lines that shouldn’t be crossed, or are there things that shouldn’t be done in order to sell a product? DirecTV recently put out a somewhat disturbing ad that’s got more than a few people up in arms because it brings comedian Chris Farley back from the grave in order to hawk their satellite TV service. And before anyone asks, no, it has nothing to do with his brother Kevin Farley, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Chris.

The commercial in question replays a scene from Tommy Boy featuring Farley doing his “Fat Guy in a Little Coat” routine, but with new footage of David Spade spliced in. This isn’t the first time this type of thing has been done (the Audrey Hepburn commercial for The Gap and Volkswagen’s Gene Kelly update, for example) and in each case, it always seems to draw criticism. Here David Spade is getting a lot of flack for supposedly cashing in on his dead friend, but Farley’s family obviously must be getting paid for this as well. With that in mind, do you think this is wrong, or is it merely an effective advertisement that has got people talking? Watch the full commercial after the jump and judge for yourself.

  • Rick

    my question is, why do people remotely care. it’s not their business. of course family is making money off this. if they want to put my dead grandma in a commercial and pay me thousands of dollars be my guest.

  • Primal

    This specific example isn’t wrong in my opinion and it worked for me even though his death was running through my mind during the commercial the 1st time I saw it.

    Making money off dead people, related to them or not, is nothing new. Biopics, cover songs from other song writers. There is a huge laundry list of people making money right now off dead people. If I were to inherit jewelry from from a relative, I’d probably sell it.

    I have a friend of mine who is a huge fan of Bob Marley and he thinks that if were to hear all the covers of his songs if he were alive today, he’d be pissed. I’d disagree to that, but I guess it depends how high you’d put that person on that pedestal.

  • dirrrtyfrank

    Making money off dead people just isn’t cool to do. Unless it’s done in a limited two week run featuring footage that was never intended to be seen. Now that’s classy .. and the film even of the year… get your tickets soon.

    Honestly, I am one of the biggest Spade fans that exist and even I thought this commercial was pretty questionable. Mostly because of the writing , not the use of Farley.

  • Matt

    Yea, my girlfriend and I were watching tv, this commerical came on, and she said “This is horrible.” I too felt that it was in bad taste. It reminds me of that Simpsons halloween segment where Homer is tasked by shifty advertisers into killing celebrities so that they can be put into commercials post-humously.
    The worst comercial like that is that comercial with Orvile Redenbocker, where he is talking into the camera and listening to an ipod. The kind of stuff nightmares are made off. It’s very creepy, imo, and I doubt that many people will respond very positively to the Farley comercial. Maybe the reason for people being upset, is that Chris Farley died somewhat recently. Maybe 11 years is just too soon.

  • Primal

    Matt –

    So you only have a problem when they do it in commercials and not in film? So you don’t have a problem Jamie Foxx doing his blind guy impression or how about in Bill & Ted when they bring all these historical figures together and make fun of them much more than an Orvile with an IPod. Napolean going down a waterslide must piss you off.

    Were you and your girlfriend also digusted with they way they portrayed Hitler and his demise in Inglourious Basterds too? In my opinion commercials aren’t nearly as offensive as films regarding to dead people.

  • Rick

    isn’t there a whole movie coming out with michael jackson?

    where there is money to be made, there will be people willing to make it.

  • The Het

    I hate this kind of thing. Have you seen the one with the dead girl from “Poltergeist”. That one was really offensive. I mean, who would get DirestTV because of this shit.

  • The Het

    I hate this kind of thing. Have you seen the one with the dead girl from “Poltergeist”. That one was really offensive. I mean, who would get DirectTV because of this shit.

  • No one mentioned the writing in the Chris Farley Direct TV commercial. Spade’s last line, as he watches Farley do his dance, is “It never gets old.” That line actually plays homage to Chris and reminds us that re watching movies keeps those celebrities alive in our minds, i.e., Direct TV. It was probably why Spade agreed to do it. People have a problem with the Farley use because it represents a tragic life cut short. They don’t have a problem with Beatles Rock Band or Graceland Tours. Nor do they have a problem with the biggest cash cow celebrity death of all time – JESUS!

  • kurt

    And Marlon Brando in Superman Returns or Laurence Olivier in Sky Captain in the World of Tomorrow is generally praised.

    I didn’t think the commercial was in bad taste, it is in keeping with Spade’s typical persona, and C’mon, Tommy Boy was not exactly high art or anything. If they decided to do one with John Belushi in Spielberg’s 1941 I wouldn’t have a problem with it either.

    What is celebrity if not to make money off of it? It’s no different than using rock songs to cell rust-resistant paint or dish-soap.

  • Primal

    Nice ones Kurt. I couldnt think of actors in these situations. Another one that comes to mind is JFK in Forrest Gump. I wouldn’t say that Gump is high art either, but there a lot technical brilliance in that film.

    BTW add/deny me on your facebook =)

  • Jackson

    I don’t think David Spade would have done this if it was in any way going to defame Farley, they were very close friends. In any case there is nothing wrong with this commercial, there has been tons of ads like this, it’s just another in the pile.

  • joe

    I think it’s a good commercial and not at all “too soon”. There should be royalties to his family though.

  • paulm

    I think they should destroy all images of a celebrity once they die. All of their movies, still photos, etc. Anything that show’s their face of has their voice. That way we only have our memories, our pure, sweet memories. Screw the families they’ve left behind, let ‘em starve…

  • Mike

    I think it’s weird to compare actors portraying celebrities to using actual celebrity footage. Napoleon sliding down a waterslide was something filmed for comedic value in a movie, it’s not like it was actually Napoleon Bonaparte sliding down a waterslide. Farley filmed that scene for that movie and likely for that movie only. But i guess if his family approved it, and they are making money from it, then it’s hard to be angry.

    I still think it was a questionable decision by his family and i’m surprised that they made it, same goes for Spade. I’m not surprised at all that Direct TV did this, why wouldn’t they? If the Farley’s and Spade were ok with it, in a way, they’re in the clear.

  • (sorry about the threadjack) but Primal, who are you on Facebook….?

  • Mang

    Billy Mays’ commercials are still being shown. Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Eddie Rabbit, etc., etc. on the radio. Biopics in the theatres and the show “Biography.” Where should the line be drawn?

    Even if a film is high art, does it matter whether or not it’s used?

  • Primal

    Kurt, It’s Vincent C. Just started using it only got jay, sean, gamble, and nagy so far as friends. need more hehe

  • Marc

    I don’t have much of a problem with it if his next of kin gave the okay.

  • Rick

    Spade was in the movie too, why is it only Chris opinion matters. Actors wanna leave behind a legacy. To be remembered because of their rolls and become immortal in a way… they don’t want all their work to be destroyed when they die. Plus Chris Farley saled out a bunch of times. Do you really think he would have a problem with this commercial? He would have been buying cocaine five min. after shooting.

    And rus you have it right. i don’t see how everyone is up an arms about Chris, but Jesus, he’s ok to make money off of. Nice. (Welcome to the conversation evangelists and most organized religions)

  • im fine with it.

    its not like he just died. and the money thing really isnt anyones business, and im sure the Farley estate is getting their palms greased. so who cares. its not like i shudder everytime TBS airs Black Sheep. at least it shows Chris at the height of his career and about 100 lbs less then when he left planet earth.

  • Ustaiden

    Heres hoping for a Brokeback Mountain direct tv add. “I can’t quit you, Direct Tv”

  • Dead people make more money than I ever will. Wait dead people don’t make money… other people make money off of dead people… I say its more than OK, celebrities would want it that way I think. Its part of the celebrity package, you are owned forever by the public. The best thing some people can do for their careers is to die. Hasn’t hurt the sales of MJ’s merchandise at all has it?

  • Weston

    MJ Merchandise? Like dolls of little boys and blankets? “I got your nose blanket, aahhhh hee hee!”

  • ccacykf

    We as a family believe the DIRECTV commercial is a celebration of Chris. It shows him doing what he loved to do most, making people laugh. He would have loved the spot. We are grateful to DIRECTV and David Spade for doing it, and for honoring Chris and the classic movie Tommy Boy in this way.
    Kevin Farley

  • jessica

    what about all of the beatles music? George and John are dead, but there are still making millions off of that.