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Quick Hits

Matt Foley and His Van Down By the River Debuted on SNL 28 Years Ago Today

  • On May 8, 1993, Saturday Night Live gave us our first experience with Motivational Speaker Matt Foley (Chris Farley), and we were forever changed.

    When Ted (Phil Hartman) and Ellen (Julia Sweeney) feel the need to straighten out their children Stacy (Christina Applegate) and Brian (David Spade), they call in  Foley to help put them on the right path. His main blunt instrument of terror is that if they don't shape up they could end up just like him, and live in a van down by the river. His other blunt instrument is his own body, which is prone to breaking furniture. Foley does manage to bring the family together, but only in sheer panic that he might actually move into their house.

    Meanwhile, the sheer force of nature that is Chris Farley is too much for Spade to handle, and he can't help but break, although Applegate manages to hold on a little bit better. This first sketch hit so big that Foley showed up eight more times — nine if you count his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and ten if you count the time Melissa McCarthy played him on SNL's 40th Anniversary Special in 2015. 

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    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Saturday Night Live, NBC, Chris Farley, Christina Applegate, David Spade, Julia Sweeney, Phil Hartman