This is one of my favorite moments, stuck right in the middle of the best sequence, in one of the most beloved comedies of the last 25 years. That part in "Tommy Boy" where Chris Farley and David Spade have just come from singing a Carpenter's song together to almost dying on the highway as the hood of the car flips in their face to coming to blows on the side of the road to "Hey look! The Prehistoric Forest!" followed by the diner scene. There are like 12 different mood changes in the span of about six minutes, all sandwiched around this epic brawl.
In the quarter of a century since "Tommy Boy" came out, I just could never have pictured Farley and Spade throwing knuckles like this in real life. But Spade just told the tale of the blowout fight they had right on the set.
Source - David Spade chatted with Rob Lowe about their experience on it, as well, on Lowe’s podcast, Literally!
As Lowe tells it, he got the movie while playing tennis with Lorne Michaels after the success of Wayne’s World. Lowe also shared that he went to dinner with Spade and Farley one night during the shoot, and Chris Farley ate “two bone-in steaks, and on top of each bite, he put a full-square of butter on every single bite.”
“It needs a hat!” Farley had said.
During the shooting of the film, there was also a huge blowout fight between Farley and Spade that Spade relays on the podcast. The famous Tommy Boy fight was actually about Rob Lowe. At the time, Farley and Spade were spending every minute of the day together, flying from SNL to the set of Tommy Boy in Toronto together on a private jet. They would spend the entire week flying back and forth between Toronto and New York. ...
Spade was losing weight; Farley was gaining weight. He was “eating all the time,” and “we were all burned out. We were both fu*king dying. It’s like an old married couple; we’re fu*king fighting all the time. We were never apart.”
One night, after leaving NYC for Toronto, they arrived around 1 a.m. for a 6 a.m. shoot. Farley said to Spade, “I”m feeling sick. I think I have the flu or something. I’m going to go and crash.” Meanwhile, Spade stayed up a little longer and called Rob Lowe, and they had one drink at the hotel bar. “We don’t tell Farley. Because of course we don’t. We see him every godf*cking day,” Spade said.
The next day, Spade went to his room, and Farley was already gone. When Spade got to set, however, Farley started staring at him, “biting his lip, which meant they we’re about to have a fight. That was his tell.”
“And he looks at me,” Spade said, “and he asks, ‘How was your night? How was Rob Lowe?'”
Somehow, Farley had heard that Spade and Rob Lowe were hanging out the night before, and he got angry that he wasn’t invited. “How’s Rob Lowe?” Farley asked again. “How’s your precious f*cking Rob Lowe?”
“I don’t know,” Spade said to him.
“How was drinks last night,” Farley countered.
“Oh, is that what we’re getting at?” Spade asked. “It was fine. It was all right.”
“So, you call f*cking Rob Lowe, so you can have a little date with him, but you don’t call me?” Farley asked.
“The last word off the wire was that you were sick,” Spade said.
“So you called Rob Lowe?”
This went on for a while, and when the returned to set, Farley was still furious with Spade, glaring at him while smoking. At some point, Spade was outside, freezing, and sitting on the ground eating a tuna fish sandwich. Farley was standing over him, smoking a cigarette. “How’s Rob Lowe?” Farley repeated.
When Spade didn’t take the bait — “he can’t stand that it’s not going anywhere” — Farley came over, and stood on Spade’s hand, on his tuna sandwich “with his big f*cing boots, with all his thousands of pounds.” Then Spade threw a Diet Coke on Farley, and Farley in turn pushed Spade down a small set of stairs. When Spade got to the bottom, “I stand up and say, ‘Are we in a fight?’ And the [director says on the walkie-talkie], ‘Action!’ and [Farley and I] just stare at each other, and we turn and we walk in.”
When they get back on set, Spade couldn’t bring himself to say his line, so he just walked off the set in a huff, and both he and Farley retreated to their respective trailers. Spade insisted that the set would be shut down for days, because “I’m not talking to this a**hole forever.” Meanwhile, Farley went out and literally tackled a crew member who was about his size because he had so much anger. “He was so mad, he just went up and tackled him.”
You know what? Not only does this not diminish my enjoyment of the movie, it actually enhances it. We all knew Farley and Spade were as tight as any two guys could be when they were working together. Spade was famously so distraught by Farley's death he couldn't even bring himself to go to the funeral. And according to everything we've heard about him for 25 years, has coped with the loss of his friend by seducing every super attractive woman in show business. Because we all grieve in our own way. But the fact they were physically beating the bag out of each other after spending every waking moment together for months on end is one of the most "friend" things I've ever heard. I can't imagine being that attached 24/7 to any of my best friends for that long without us trying to murder each other. Then going golfing or whatever after the project was all finished.
Besides, if I can think of one thing that might make friends want to throw down on each other, it would be Rob Lowe. I mean, how can you not be jealous of your best friend hanging out with him instead of you? Look at him:
The most secure guy in the world - someone who'd never get worked up if his wife was spending time with another man - could easily be thrown into a jealous rage over Rob Lowe. He's the perfect human specimen even to this day, at the age of 56. When they were filming "Tommy Boy" he was just as perfect, but approximately 44% newer than the current model. Spade wasn't wrong to have a drink with him, but Farley was definitely not wrong to resent him for it. But fortunately for all of posterity, these two great artists used that anger to create something beautiful and enduring. RIP, Farley.