Living In A Van Down By The River

Matt Foley is a fictional character (performed by Chris Farley) from the popular TV comedy program, Saturday Night Live. As Farley explained, the character Matt Foley is 35 years old, divorced, and “living in a van down by the river.” That line has lived on (though Farley died in 1997 at the age of 33) and has come to mean “a complete failure at life, a drain on society.”

The character, Matt Foley, is a “motivational speaker” and is considered one of Farley’s best characters. He appeared in eight different comedy sketches on SNL.┬áIn the character’s debut (shown above), David Spade and Christina Applegate, who were playing teens supposedly in need of Foley’s help, had to stifle their own laughter. Spade, in particular, spent most of the sketch with his hand covering his face. He later recalled that Farley surprised him by hitching and twisting his belt during the sketch. “He saved that for the live performance, and so none of us had ever seen it. He knew that would break me.” In the sketch, Farley’s portrayal of Foley was so intense that he accidentally tripped and fell onto a table, crushing it. The blooper was so popular that Farley turned it into one of his best-known routines and one which he would repeat many times, both as Foley and as other characters on SNL and in film during the remainder of his life and career, sometimes injuring himself in the process.