As any creative type knows, there’s no telling when a great idea might strike you. It might just come to you by an icy lake while under the influence of a psychedelic drug. Or maybe that only happened to Chris Farley.
In an exclusive clip from the upcoming Biography special Chris Farley — Anything for a Laugh, Farley’s fellow Second City alums recall the birth and performance of “Whale Boy,” one of his most famous pre-SNL creations. Joel Murray (brother of Bill) relates how, after drinking tea laced with psilocybin (the substance in hallucinogenic mushrooms), a group of Second City performers ventured out to the shores of Lake Michigan in the dead of winter.
“Farley’s got on a T-shirt and no jacket, and he’s just flailing himself onto the ground,” Murray says. “Eventually, we go, ‘Stop it, Whale Boy!’ We just kept riffing on it the rest of the night.”
Upon their return to civilization, the group developed the idea into a fully formed sketch, featuring a song, a water-spouting football helmet, and of course, Farley’s signature energy and full commitment.
“It was like a beautiful scene. It could have been a movie, honestly,” says Holly Wortell, another Second City colleague, who played Whale Boy’s mother in the sketch.
“Chris was phenomenal in it,” Murray adds. “It was just priceless. And it killed every night.”
Biography: Chris Farley — Anything for a Laugh explores Farley’s tragically short life, looking at his experiences in front of and behind the scenes. It includes interviews with John Goodman, Bobby Moynihan, and Kevin Nealon, among others, as well as rare personal photos and footage.
The special premieres Monday, May 27 at 9 p.m. on A&E. Watch the full clip above, which features hilarious footage from a performance of “Whale Boy.”