Tom Arnold reveals he was 'SNL' legend Chris Farley's sponsor: 'Very sad when he died'Charles TrepanyUSA TODAY
In a clip from his interview on "The Howard Stern Show," published Wednesday, Arnold recalled becoming a sober sponsor for Farley as the comedian battled addiction. Farley died of a drug overdose at age 33 on Dec. 18, 1997, after a lifetime of substance abuse.
According to Arnold, "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels introduced the two after Farley played Arnold in a sketch.
"Lorne Michaels called me and he said, 'You have a lot in common with Chris Farley. Would you please spend time with him?'" Arnold told host Stern. "He wanted to be sober, and I think Lorne really worried about that, and so I was his sponsor for a few years."
Arnold said he and Farley were "very close" and recalled the comedian's riotous sense of humor.
"When he came out to do my television show, or my HBO specials, he just knew how funny he was," Arnold said. "He liked to have fun, and he had too much fun. Very sad when he died."
Arnold said he warned Farley of the dangers of drug use as the comedian went through multiple stints in rehab.
"It's also frustrating because at a certain point he was like, 'Yeah, I'm not gonna be around Tom, because I don't want him to see,'" Arnold said. "I always told Chris, 'You can't be fat and do drugs. You just can't be that fat. You've got to pick one, and I speak from experience. You pick one. You just can't do everything.' "
While hosting "SNL" in May 2019, Adam Sandler gave a poignant tribute to his friend and former castmate Farley. Toward the end of the episode, Sandler came out with a guitar and sang as clips of Farley performing played in the background,
Sandler recalled memories of his hard-partying friend ("We’d tell him, 'Son, you’ll wind up like Belushi and Candy,' he said, 'Those guys are my heroes, that’s all fine and dandy'") and how he now shows his children YouTube clips as well as Farley's old movies.
"Life ain't the same without you," Sandler sang. "If we make enough noise, maybe he'll hear us."
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357) any time of day or night.
Contributing: Brian Truitt, Patrick Ryan