Why Melissa McCarthy impersonating Chris Farley last night made me tear up

I love comedy.  I love laughing.  This is the thing about me that my brother Jeffrey and I bonded on most often.  Jeffrey loved to laugh too.  Like me, he could find humor in almost everything and really nothing was to sacred to escape laughter and jokes.  My poor mother became the punchline more than once as we laughed at her doll collection or her Christian movies she bought over the phone.  She knew we loved her, but I know she hated when we would start laughing at things she took seriously.

There aren't a lot of things that I got in trouble for growing up, but I do remember getting in trouble for laughing too much multiple times.  Jeffrey and I had this in common.

Jeffrey was easily the funniest one in our family.  Me and my K-Mart vest
before work, and Jeffrey eating some clearly needed sugar.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Jeffrey because we
laughed and laughed about our perfect caption "bros before hose."


It has been over 4 years since Jeffrey committed suicide, and nothing reminds me of Jeffrey more than comedy.

Last night was the 40th anniversary special for Saturday Night Live.  I couldn't help but think of Jeffrey all night.  There were so many characters that Jeffrey worked hard to impersonate.  He could do a great Adam Sandler voice, and he would often burst into "Sloppy Joe, slop, sloppy Joe" or "Let me water your plants."

He loved Will Ferrell too, and we would regularly reference the dysfunctional family dinner when we were eating together, taking turns yelling, "I drive a Dodge Stratus!"

But both of us agreed the best ever was Chris Farley.  He was our favorite.  There wasn't a skit or movie that Chris Farley had been a part of that we didn't know front and back.  Jeffrey even owned and loved Farley's rarely remembered film Almost Heros.

Lines from Tommy Boy and Black Sheep became everyday slang at our house.  And Chris Farley's character on SNL, Matt the Motivational Speaker was the best.  "In a van down by the river" and "I'm bunking with you guys" was constantly discussed and imitated.

Which brings me to my teary moment last night.  Chris Farley passed away in 1997, the year I officially left home and married James.  Melissa McCarthy did a beautiful job impersonating Matt the Motivational speaker last night.  It was a beautiful tribute.



As everyone remembered the big guy who made so many happy with laughter, I couldn't help but miss my brother.

Here he is improv impersonating Chris Farley's Tommy Boy song "Fat guy with a little coat" swimming pool style.



I know if he were still alive, I would have been calling or messaging him to ask if he was watching.  We would have recapped all the funny parts as soon as we talked again.  Most of our conversations began with a quick recap of all the funny things we had seen lately, what movies had we seen, what was funny on SNL or Conan, or what tv shows did we think were funny lately.

Losing Jeffrey to suicide makes things more complicated than a usual loss.  There are three emotions that I can't let go of completely and probably never will.  These are regret or guilt, anger, and lack of closure or goodbye.

Anytime I think of Jeffrey one or all of these emotions are present.  Last night it was the loss without a goodbye that was bothering me again.

The only thing that helps me get through these moments of grief is remembering that Jeffrey is with Jesus now.  The other thing that helps is remembering that Jesus knows how I feel.

Whenever I was young, I remember joking (I'm telling you I'm always joking) about how you can easily memorize the shortest verse in the Bible and there's another memory verse done that you can brag about.  That verse is "Jesus wept" found in John 11:35.  As a teen, that verse was anecdotal and shallowly sweet, but that passage has come to be a deep comfort to me after losing Jeffrey.

The story is a recounting of the death of Jesus's close friend Lazarus.  After studying the story, I began to realize all the reasons Jesus wept.  He did not weep for Lazarus's death because if we read the story, Lazarus is raised from the dead and brought back to life.

My brother Jeffrey has also been raised and brought back to life with Jesus.

I believe the main reason Jesus was weeping was out of compassion for Lazarus's sisters Mary and Martha.  They had just lost their brother Lazarus and spent 4 days morning the loss.  It is obvious to me that Jesus has compassion at the loss of my brother, but Jesus's tears are a physical reminder of that fact.  Jesus sees my loss and my grief and he responds to it.

The other reason that I believe Jesus was weeping was that, in that moment, he longed to spend time with his friend Lazarus again.  He had not said goodbye to Lazarus, and he felt loss.  When I long to spend time with my brother and morn my lack of goodbye, Jesus knows how that feels.  Jesus has wept those tears.

I praise God that I have a savior that understands my hurts.  I praise God that I have a savior that understood Jeffrey's hurts.  He loved and understood Jeffrey better than I ever could.  He has given Jeffrey forgiveness, love, compassion, and a new life.


"Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and consoling her, when they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, 'See how He loved him!' But some of them said, 'Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?'" John 11:30-37 NASB, emphasis added


Here's a couple Chris Farley singing moments.





This song always reminds my of my brother.