Jim Belushi Recalls Bringing Up Brother's Overdose In Plea To Get Chris Farley To Stop Using Drugs

Jim Belushi is a big name in his right, but some fans also know him for his connection to Saturday Night Live through his late older brother John Belushi. Jim Belushi watched firsthand what happens when a loved one gains fame and success in conjunction with an addictive personality. John Belushi suffered from a severe drug addiction that ended his life at age 33. The younger Belushi saw the same occurrence happening with John Belushi superfan and SNL star Chris Farley. Years after Farley’s death, the According to Jim star recalled bringing up his late brother’s overdose in a plea to get Farley to stop using drugs.

The Animal House star was a comedic idol to a young Farley who grew up identifying with John Belushi. The Black Sheep star eventually became obsessed with his fellow SNL alum even following him down the same path of drug addiction. The younger Belushi saw this and tried to dissuade his fellow Chicago native from going down the same path as his older brother. The TV and film actor went as far as to use the late brother’s 1982 overdose to show Farley what could happen. Belushi said on the podcast Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade:

I said, ‘I know you got to stop chasing him, Chris. He’s gone. He’s gone.’ [Farley said] ‘I know, I know, but I love him so much. He was so good.’ I said, ‘Chris, you can’t follow John. You can’t follow his track. The guy did drugs. He’s dead. You can’t follow him with the drugs to find out who he was.’

Jim Belushi had witnessed the ravages of drug addiction from the inside and didn’t want Farley to suffer a similar fate. His brother John Belushi shot to superstardom through his five seasons on SNL. But at the same time, he starred in comedy classics like Animal House, 1941, and The Blues Brothers. His drug addiction worsened the bigger his star grew. 

Farley followed in his footsteps a decade later starring on the late-night sketch show for five seasons before appearing in comedy classics like Tommy Boy, Wayne’s World, and Black Sheep. Farley was battling addiction at the same time. So, the younger Belushi could see where Farley’s struggles were leading to.

Chris Farley in a sketch on Saturday Night Live screenshot.

(Image credit: NBC)

But the former SNL star has been candid about losing his brother, and he could relate to Farley’s need to connect with the inaugural SNL star. The growing Belushi star did the same thing by taking drugs to grow closer to his late brother. Fortunately, the younger Belushi quit doing them before addiction took over his life. He even told his story to the late comedian to no avail. That still didn’t deter him from pointing out the older Belushi was gone.

I said, ‘You’ve got to stop. You got to fucking stop, Chris.’ [Farley saying] ‘I’m going to, but he was so beautiful. He was so beautiful.’ And I just kept repeating it, ‘Chris, he’s dead. Stop it. You’ve got to stop.’ [Farley answered] ‘I know, I know, I know.’ It wasn’t very successful… it’s like he wanted to be John.

Unfortunately, Belushi’s warnings didn’t curtail the Tommy Boy actor’s addiction as Farley suffered the same death at the same age as his idol in 1997. David Spade revealed Farley’s John Belushi obsession extended to the SNL set as his frequent co-star wore old pants worn by the original SNL cast member. After his brother’s passing, the 68-year-old actor admitted to wearing some of his brother’s wardrobe in films. Looking back at Farley and Belushi’s similar fate, the comedic actor commented on the connection between obsession and addiction.

You know addiction is an obsessive behavior and it just extended into obsessing about John.

If you want to relive the greatness of Chris Farley and the Belushi brothers, you can watch every season of Saturday Night Live with a Peacock subscription. Once you’re done, check out this season's fall finale on the 2022 TV schedule which airs on December 17 at 11:30 p.m. ET, and will feature first-time host Austin Butler and musical guest Lizzo rounding out the first half of Season 48's hosts and musical guests.

Adreon Patterson
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