David Spade defends DirecTV commercial with departed co-star Chris Farley

DirecTV has a series of commercials dating back to 2006 that include clips from films integrated with the actors shilling their satellite TV service. The commercials are said to “break the fourth wall” in that actors turn and speak directly to the viewer during a scene. (I’m not trying to be a smarty pants and found that term on Wikipedia’s entry for DirecTV.)

Here are videos of some of the ads:
Back To the Future featuring Christopher Lloyd
Aliens with Sigourney Weaver
Star Trek with William Shatner
Austin Powers with Mini-Me Verne Troyer
Shannon Elizabeth in American Pie
Pamela Anderson in Baywatch
Kathy Bates in Misery

The second most controversial DirecTV ad is probably a recent one in which David Spade reprises his role in the 1995 film Tommy Boy with the late Chris Farley. Spade sits on a couch in character and talks smack about Farley’s goofy character, saying he’d rather watch DirecTV.

Spade has responded to criticism that the ad is not appropriate and that he’s cashing in on the late Farley’s memory. He says it never occurred to him that the ad was disrespectful and that Farley would have loved it:

When he agreed to do a DirecTV commercial featuring a scene from Tommy Boy with the late Chris Farley, actor David Spade never dreamed anybody would be offended.

“Slight shock,” Spade told PEOPLE on Wednesday night of the fallout from the ad, which some commentators saw as tasteless. “These commercials are cool. They’re well done. They’re clever. And that they would include Tommy Boy in that company, I thought was very flattering.”

The 30-second spot, airing during the World Series, appears to have been taken directly from the 1995 movie, except that while Farley does his famous “Fat Boy in a Little Coat” routine, Spade, with technological wizardry, promotes DirecTV.

Spade says featuring Tommy Boy in a commercial series that also has scenes from Back to the Future and Aliens “is so cool” since “we made this thing and people still talk about it.”

“Oh, my God if [Farley] was here, I guarantee he’d be stoked that this little movie is included,” says Spade. (Farley died in 1997 of heart failure linked to an overdose.) “The movie is important to me, and I would hate to offend [anyone] because that’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. So I would apologize to someone who took it that way.”

Still, he says, if he had to do it over again, he probably wouldn’t have made the commercial. “I wouldn’t want anyone to get a whiff that I’m trying to get something off Chris,” he says.

[From People]

That’s fair enough, and maybe Spade assumed that it would help remind people what a comic genius Farley was. The video does seem a little disrespectful to me, especially since he’s making fun of Farley, but maybe it makes sense in context of the film. If anything blame should be placed on DirecTV’s ad producers, not Spade.

Dead celebrities have been popping up in ads lately, with Frank Sinatra dancing with a vacuum cleaner and Audrey Hepburn selling Gap. Sometimes advertisers have gone too far and sometimes they’re able to skirt a fine line and make it seem as if they’re paying tribute to a celebrity’s memory. In this case the result is debatable.

The thing is, DirecTV made a much more offensive video featuring a departed star. They did a version of Poltergeist featuring the late child actress Heather O’Rourke. They even make it look as if O’Rourke appears in the ad by including another actress who looks like her. This ad came out last year in October from what I can tell. You can see it below, and it’s all sorts of wrong. You think they would have learned not to touch that subject in future ads.

David Spade outside Chateau Marmont

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22 Responses to “David Spade defends DirecTV commercial with departed co-star Chris Farley”

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  1. Popcorny says:

    Poor David.
    Chris Farley would most definitely have approved.

  2. Firestarter says:

    I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by the commercial when I first saw it, but then again Natalie Cole sang a duet with her dead father, and things like this have been done with other deceased celebs, so it isn’t that weird to me now.

    I miss Chris Farley. I will never forget his “Van down by the river” skit or when he was Barney, going up as a Chippendale’s dancer, against Adrian (Patrick Swayze). White Trash Bed and Breakfast was also an SNL classic.

  3. stacy says:

    I think Farley would have loved it! Shame on people for giving David Spade crap about this. They were BFF’s!!

    @CB- of course he is making fun of Farley’s character. Thats what the whole movie was about.

  4. iced opal says:

    I don’t see any big deal about it. When I saw it I thought awww, I really miss Chris Farley. I think he would have gotten a kick out of it too. LOVED Tommy Boy!

  5. Icecat says:

    I find nothing offensive about the commercial. People just have to have something to bitch about. People with way to much time on their hands. It irritates the crap out of me…
    I think the ad campaign is genius. I’ve enjoyed all of the commercials…Although I had not seen the poltergist one, I would have to say it is WAY more offending then the Farley one…Why arn’t they going after Craig T. Nelson??? Huh??

  6. Kaye says:

    That commercial just reminds me of how funny Chris Farley was and how much I wish he was still with us.

  7. Kevin says:

    Chris and David were besties. There is no way that Chris would have denied David that commercial. He would probably be glad that this commercial reminds people of him. On a somewhat related side note, nobody that I can recall has profited more (in the entertainment industry) from the death of another than Jim Belushi. If John hadn’t passed we wouldn’t even know who Jim is. Not that Jim wanted his brother to die, just sayin.

  8. Vibius says:

    This is absolutely within the context of the movie. People need to quit whining. Chris Farley’s family is the only group that should get to decide whether it was offensive. Besides who is saying this is offensive. This article reeks of Fox News like journalism. “People are offended” is a blanket statement that can not be proven either way. It seems like People (the “magazine”) just figured something like this may offend some, so they are making a blanket BS statement. Now if someone who worked with him says something about it fine. But who cares what the people hanging out at “Peoples” (mag again) water cooler have to say?

  9. Giz says:

    As far as I’m concerned neither Spade nor Farley are/were funny. However, what is the big deal about the commerical? Where was all the outrage with the Heather O’Rourke (sp) ad? Spade shouldn’t have to defend the ad! Could it be that certain individuals aren’t profitting from the ad?

  10. Novaraen says:

    Chris Farley would have totally signed off on this….no doubt about it.

    It reminded me of how funny that movie was…made me want to watch it again!

  11. 88Modesty88 says:

    Not that I have seen the ads but is it Sinatra dancing with a hoover or Fred Astaire? (I thought I read on another site that it’s Fred.)

    I would have thought the Chris Farley ad in bad taste if he was saying “Hi, I’m Chris Farley. Catch me on such-and-such.”
    For example, Dave Annable and Luke Macfarlane from Bros & Sisters were here in good old RSA recently. Made a ton of ads for a local TV station that airs the series. If something awful had to happen to Dave or Luke, I’d consider those ads in bad taste.

    My 2 cents.

  12. Vermithrax says:

    They’re getting paid through the bung.
    Say anything.

    Where the actual stars have passed are concerned I think it’s pretty tacky as far as lame advert gimmicks go. I hate ALL commercials and advertising like poison… the last place I want to be reminded of how funny Chris Farley was is in some stupid ass commercial trying to sell me something.

    Thumbs way down.

  13. lucy2 says:

    In general I don’t like when deceased people are used to sell products. Something about it just seems wrong to me, and if I were in a position to make that decision about a family member or something, I would never agree to it.

    However, I do think it’s likely Chris would have approved, and it did have approval from his family, which I’d assume controls his estate and all licensing, image, etc. So it’s really up them – if people don’t like it, they don’t have to buy the product.

    The one with Poltergeist is far more offensive, considering the deceased actress was a child. That is just plain creepy.

    I did like Chris Farley, but haven’t never been able to stand David Spade. Whiny and unfunny.

  14. Jessica says:

    I love Chris Farley!! Tommy Boy is one of my favorite movies of all time!!

  15. Daniel says:

    I don’t think it’s offensive at all people need to calm down. In fact i found it really funny and I think Farley would have thought so too. I think Spade would never do anything to tarnish his friend’s memory and I bet he’s upset at having to defend himself. And as far as making money, hey this is a tough economy, guy has to make a buck man.

  16. Reina says:

    @Modesty: That’s because it was Fred Astaire dancing with the vacuum; not Sinatra.

    I remember not digging on the Poltergeist one because O’Rourke’s death was so you young and tragic, and she seemed exploited enough in her lifetime as well.

  17. TwinkleToes says:

    David donated a few thousand to keep an animal shelter going last year. The one his Mom volunteers at. Check the CB archives. He can do no wrong.

  18. justme says:

    Get over it.

  19. Scottsdale says:

    David is a good guy – he isnt the type of person to disgrace someone who is he best friend for the sake of money or anything else. This was a great ad and a way for him to be remembered. I applaud David and Cris Farleys family for doing this.

  20. mollination says:

    God, people really have nothing to get offended over so they nitpick the most ridiculous sh!t that has nothing to do with them.

    Maybe if Spade wasn’t Farley’s best friend when he was alive, and maybe if Farley’s family hadn’t signed off on this first, then MAYBE there would be grounds to wonder if this was disrespectful. But, just…please. Give me a break.

  21. Teacher says:

    This ad was approved by Farley’s estate and there is NO story here. Every one of the parties agreed and it was a tribute to Farley. This is once again fodder for the hack writers to salivate over yet another manufactured conflict. You may think it’s in poor taste, but Farley’s family liked it, so too bad.

  22. sueli says:

    Not only did I think “Aww, Tommy Boy” and see it as a tribute to Farley, I thought the clip itself was perfectly in line with the movie – except, I believe Spade’s character would rather be watching the girl at the pool than DirecTV.