Tommy Boy hit theaters 20 years ago today. It quickly went on to become one of the ’90s best road trip movies as well as propel Chris Farley and David Spade to star status. Few comedies stand the test of time, yet I get no less enjoyment now out of Farley’s physical gags or the banter between he and Spade than I did them. I’m sure most of you feel the same way.
To mark the anniversary here are a few facts you might not know about the 1995 classic. So, put on your little coats and check the dash for M&Ms. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…
1. The movie wasn’t originally called Tommy Boy. Ready for this? The original working title of the movie was Billy the Third: A Midwestern. Lorne Michaels suggested that they go with something different, and several titles including Fat Chance, XL and Rocky Road were kicked around before settling on Tommy Boy.
2. Rob Lowe was uncredited for his part in the movie. He has a pretty big role as Tommy’s new douchebag stepbrother, but Lowe was uncredited for his part because of contractual obligations. At the time, Lowe was tied to filming Stephen King’s film version of The Stand, and he took the part as a favor to Chris Farley.
3. Helen Keller did worse than Tommy in school. Blink and you’ll miss it, but if you look closely when Tommy is checking his exam grades, you’ll see that Helen Keller is listed as one of his classmates. Unfortunately, she didn’t fare as well as Tommy and got an F.
4. Fat guy in a little coat was based on a joke that Chris used to play. David Spade revealed that one of the movie’s most iconic scenes was taken from a joke that Farley used to play on him from their days on SNL together.
“When we shared an office, he would sit behind me and he didn’t write or read, so he would be bored. He’d stand behind me and go, ‘David, turn around.’ I’d go, ‘Dude, I’m busy.’ He goes, ‘Come on.’ I’d go, ‘If this is fat guy in a little coat, it’s not funny. It’s played out.’ He goes, ‘It’s not. It’s a whole different thing I got going.’ Then he’d have my Levi jacket on and go, ‘Fat guy in a little coat! Don’t you give up on it!'”
5. Rosanne Barr was supposed to play the waitress. Chris Farley and Tom Arnold were good friends, and Tom was married to Rosanne at the time when she agreed to play the part of Helen at the diner. Due to scheduling conflicts, Rosanne wasn’t able to fulfill the role, and the part went to Maria Vacratsis.
6. Chris Farley’s brother makes a cameo at the wedding. Chris’ brother, Kevin Farley, appeared in Chris’ movies Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja, but his first movie appearance was as one of Big Tom Callahan’s guests at the wedding. That’s Kevin sitting on Chris’ left, when Big Tom asks Tommy to come up and help him sing.
7. David Spade refused to let the stylist work on his hair. It’s revealed in the movie that Richard wears a toupee, but the primary reason that Spade’s hair looks so terrible is because he refused to let the stylist work on his hair before filming.
8. “Holy schnikes!” is a Chris Farley original. In the movie’s commentary, director Peter Segal recalled that “holy schnikes” was something Farley came up with, and he would often say it during his childhood to get around his parents’ rule of not cursing.
9. The movie has several references to the cast’s other films. When Tommy watches his dad’s fiancée step out of the pool, he remarks, “Whoa, Dad. She’s a… 10!” Bo Derek’s breakout film was the 1979 movie, 10. Director Peter Segal also managed to promote one of his films. In the motel scene, the TV in the background runs a preview for Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, which Segal had directed a year earlier.
10. Chris Farley and David Spade got into a spat on set. In the movie’s DVD commentary, the cast talk about how Farley and Spade actually almost came to blows one day on the set, and it all began with Rob Lowe. According to Spade, he had gone out drinking with Lowe the night before, and Farley was trying to keep it straight while filming and didn’t tag along. Jealous over being excluded from the fun, Chris Farley remarked the next day, “How’s Rob Lowe?” and stepped on Spade’s hand. Spade stormed off set and refused to continue filming for the rest of the day.