Chris Farley’s Best Friend Cost Him A Major Payday

Chris Farley was initially supposed to star in The Cable Guy for $3 million, but David Spade convinced him to do Black Sheep instead.

By James Brizuela | Updated

Chris Farley Bob Odenkirk

Chris Farley was arguably the biggest comedic actor in the ’90s, next to Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey. However, David Spade revealed that he was the reason behind Farley not taking a role that went to the formerly mentioned slapstick comedian. Apparently, Farley had been given the script to The Cable Guy and was offered $3 million for the part, but Spade convinced him to do Black Sheep instead.

David Spade agreed to do Black Sheep, but only if the script he had received was worth working with. Spade teamed up with screenwriter Fred Wolf to work on the final script for Tommy Boy. According to Spade’s Almost Interesting autobiography, “That night I read it and realized it wasn’t perfect but there was a funny movie in there…I thought we could work with Fred, pepper in our extra jokes, and everything would work out fine.” However, everyone knows that it wasn’t fine.

Granted, Black Sheep is still humorous, but it was not at all in the same league as Tommy Boy. Chris Farley had apparently signed a two-picture deal with Paramount, and it was to prove to the studio that his career was going to be serious, despite his trips to rehab during that time. Spade knew that working with Wolf again meant he would secure a much bigger rate for the pair but passing on The Cable Guy was an even bigger mistake.

jim carrey matthew broderick the cable guy
Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick in The Cable Guy

In comparison, Black Sheep only made $32.4 million at the box office, while The Cable Guy went on to secure a whopping $102.8 million. Granted, we don’t know if Chris Farley and David Spade would have made The Cable Guy surpass that kind of money at the box office, but it would have been great to see them in those respective parts. It would have especially been hilarious to see them going after one another at Medieval Times.

We could presume all we want but had Chris Farley starred in The Cable Guy instead, it could have completely transformed his career. Not that Farley’s career dive-bombed after Black Sheep, but that movie certainly didn’t do him any favors in the eyes of studio executives. Farley would follow up Black Sheep with Beverly Hills Ninja and Almost Heroes before ending his career on a tragic note.

Chris Farley tragically lost his life to addiction, leaving behind the many roles that we could have seen him in. We do know that Farley was initially going to play Shrek and had done the test screenings for the part before it ultimately went to Mike Myers because of said tragedy. Farley still left behind a legacy that is unmatched, as we would argue he is the funniest cast member to ever come out of Saturday Night Live.

If you have not seen the test screenings for Shrek with Chris Farley, we recommend heading to YouTube to watch those, as it gives an entirely different look at what could have been for that franchise. Black Sheep may not have been as successful as The Cable Guy either, but it’s still a great movie and a strong reminder of why Farley is still regarded as one of the best comedic actors in history. Still, we would have loved to see Farley as the oddball cable guy, Chip Douglas.