ImprovOlympic (lost Chris Farley improvisation game show pilot; 1988)

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The late Chris Farley.

Status: Lost

Sometime in 1988, the very young Chicago comedy school, ImprovOlympic, which has churned out such comedians as Mike Meyers, Vince Vaughn and Andy Richter, was offered a pilot for a Whose Line is it Anyway?-style improvisation game show in Los Angeles. Charna Halpern, a director and teacher at the institution, brought along some of what she felt were her best students, including a fresh-faced Chris Farley, who had recently arrived there from Madison.

However, as filming of the special progressed, with Farley and the rest of the team doing some intelligent, highbrow improv exercises, the producer was frustrated at the material he was being given, claiming it was "too smart" and insisting that they "dumb it down". One by one, comics were fired and replaced by what Halpern referred to as "dick joke" comedians. Farley, still on board as a performer, approached Halpern with concern that he felt he had to bow to the producers wishes as he didn't want to be fired as well. Halpern told him to go ahead, and Farley proceeded to do routines involving pulling his pants up to the crack of his buttocks, dancing around and making a fool of himself. According to Halpern, the producer and crew fell on their faces laughing, as he had given them what they wanted.[1]

The pilot would not be picked up for unknown reasons. However, Farley returned to Chicago, where he eventually went on to fame with The Second City and Saturday Night Live before his untimely death at the age of 33 in 1997 of a drug overdose. Halpern recalled the filming of the taping in the biography The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts that was released in May 2008. However, nothing of the pilot has ever been seen by the public, and it is unknown if the footage still exists.