Once upon a time, Chris Farley was known for his pratfalls, Phil Hartman was holding down most of the dad roles on SNL, and Christina Applegate was midway through her tenure on Married with Children. Twenty years ago today, that combined into a sketch about a motivational speaker named Matt Foley, who lived in a van down by the river.
Foley started out as a character at Second City — created by Bob Odenkirk, but performed by Chris Farley. Eventually, the character made eight appearances on SNL. This first one is a personal favorite, though, not only because of David Spade and Applegate getting the giggles (corpsing makes me laugh!), but also because this is how I learned what a “doobie” was. Farley gives the character a surprisingly menacing quality; Matt Foley’s not just a big weirdo — he seems like he could actually be dangerous. There’s also the stiltedness of the parents’ conversation and weird happy ending of the sketch that make the whole piece peculiar in addition to being funny. La-di-frickin’-dah.