VILLA PARK – Known for his high-energy tribute to the late Chris Farley of movie and “Saturday Night Live” fame, comedian and media personality Matt Kissane of Villa Park will be part of a “Biography” documentary on Farley premiering at 8 p.m. May 27 on the A&E Network.
Kissane has been a Farley fan since his own student days at The Second City comedy theater in Chicago in the early 1990s.
“I saw him do Matt Foley – The Motivational Speaker – there … on the main stage,” Kissane said. “He was not famous yet.”
He compared the experience to being lucky enough to see Elvis or The Beatles “play in a small little setting before they became huge.”
Kissane said he has been impersonating Farley for nearly 15 years, so when he received a call from the producers, he was ready for it.
"I've been interviewed before and asked what it's like to make a living as an impersonator, but this is a whole new thing," he said.
Kissane said a “Biography” production team from Canada also asked him to provide YouTube footage of his performances in front of audiences, planning to intersperse video clips with his interview.
As icing on the cake, he was invited to perform his act for the documentary on the main stage at Second City, where it was filmed without an audience. He called it surreal to be on the same stage Farley played.
“They set up an impromptu breakaway table for me – it was pretty funny,” Kissane said. “After we did our little skit in the main showroom, we walked up and down Wells Street with the entire camera crew. And I would antagonize people as Matt Foley and yell in their face.”
Those who played along with Kissane signed releases to allow their appearance in the two-hour documentary, which is titled "Chris Farley: Anything for a Laugh."
“They loved it,” Kissane said of the surprised passersby. “It was weird, but a lot of fun.”
Kissane said the documentary will include interviews with several of Farley's cast mates from “SNL” and his many movies.
A&E Network announced the documentary would examine Farley’s tragically short life, both the amped-up force of nature in front of the camera, and the shy, childlike figure people knew behind the scenes.
Kissane has flown all over the country to impersonate Farley, adding, “I’ve been very fortunate.”
The comic actor has been featured on WGN TV and other channels, in addition to performing at thousands of events and parties.
"It's always so much fun, an awesome way to make a living,” he said.