Tom Arnold revealed he played a role in trying to help Chris Farley get sober before the late comedian suffered a fatal drug overdose in 1997.
The 62-year-old opened up about the Tommy Boy star in a chat with Howard Stern on Wednesday, June 9. Arnold explained that after Farley impersonated him in a Saturday Night Live skit, he and then-wife Roseanne Barr were set to appear on the NBC sketch series, prompting the show's creator Lorne Michaels to reach out and ask him to connect with the troubled TV personality. “[Farley] wanted to be sober, and I think Lorne really worried about that," Arnold explained. "And so, I was his sponsor for a few years.
“[We were] very close,” the Tom Show alum said of his pal. “He liked to have fun, and he had too much fun. [It was] very sad when he died.”
Arnold remarked that Farley was "on his way to his 17th rehab" before he was found dead in his Chicago apartment after a four-day drinking and drug binge. An autopsy later revealed Farley had died of an overdose from a combination of cocaine and morphine. "It’s all so frustrating because, at a certain point, he was like, ‘I’m not going to be around Tom because I don’t want him to see,'” the actor explained. “I always told Chris, you can’t be fat and do drugs … You gotta pick one. I speak from experience, pick one. You just can't do everything."
Despite his loss, Arnold looks back fondly on the memories he made with Farley, who served as the best man in his wedding. During a wild bachelor party at Scores with Arnold's group — which included David Spade — the Beverly Hills Ninja star provided comic relief during his off-hours. “Farley disappeared and then came on stage naked,” he recounted. “And then they ended up kicking everybody out, because he was a big guy, he did not mind being naked.”
"He was naked a lot," Arnold added, laughing. "Chris Farley ... there was no shame in his game."