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Matt Foley is a fictional character from the sketch comedy program Saturday Night Live performed by Chris Farley. The character was created by Bob Odenkirk. Farley had performed the character in other comedy groups before being a cast member on Saturday Night Live.
Matt Foley is a motivational speaker, and exhibits a number of characteristics that someone in that position should not have: for example, he is abrasive, clumsy, and down on his luck. Farley named the character after one of his Marquette University rugby union teammates, Father Matt Foley, who is a former pastor of St. Agnes in the Little Village Community of Chicago, and is currently an Army chaplain serving in Afghanistan. The character was popular in its original run and is now considered one of Farley's best characters. Plans for a film version with David Spade in a supporting role were terminated by Farley's unexpected death in 1997.
Foley appeared in eight Saturday Night Live sketches. Each sketch typically started with Foley brought into a specific situation by someone to speak to a group. In addition to his dishevelled, overweight, and unstylish appearance, he shouts, frequently loses his temper, disparages and insults his audience, wallows in cynicism and self-pity, and unintentionally gives a negative motivational message. Foley's trademark line is warning his audience that they could end up, like himself, being "35 years old, eating a steady diet of government cheese, thrice divorced, and living in a van down by the river!" In most sketches, whenever a member of his audience responds with some statement of accomplishment, Foley responds with mockery or belligerence: "Well, la-dee-frickin-da!", "Whoop-deefrickin-doo!", or a similarly insulting remark. The sketches usually feature Farley's physical comedy, including the perpetually overcaffeinated Foley gesturing wildly, leaping around and falling onto a piece of furniture, destroying it and sometimes injuring himself in the process. In the character's debut, David Spade and Christina Applegate, who were playing teens supposedly in need of Foley's help, had to stifle their own laughter. Spade, in particular, spent most of the sketch with his hand covering his face.
At the end of each sketch, he is usually rushed out of his speaking location, where the people left behind huddle together and comment on him, usually bemused and frightened. Though his speeches always backfire in their intended message, the end results are usually successful, in that the recipients want to do all they can not to be associated with Foley again. One departure sketch had George Foreman considering the fact he was too old and weak to continue boxing, and happening to walk by the river, where he comes across Foley's van. Foley does not go into his usual tirades, instead ordering Foreman to do all sorts of chores for him, such as grilling hamburgers, claiming the work is "for dexterity"! When Foreman determines Foley is using him, he punches Foley, causing Foreman to realize he can still fight and ultimately going on to win the world championship. Foreman then recites this tale to Tim Meadows, who wonders aloud why he is cooking burgers for Foreman, only to be barked at, "You know why! For dexterity!"
Being a Wisconsin native, Farley was asked to portray the Matt Foley character at the 1994 Rose Bowl banquet. He delivered a comedic "motivational speech" to the Wisconsin Badgers football team, who were to face the UCLA Bruins that year and won the game, 21-16.
List of SNL episodes featured 
- May 8, 1993 (host Christina Applegate)
- October 30, 1993 (host Christian Slater)
- December 11, 1993 (host Sally Field)
- February 19, 1994 (host Martin Lawrence)
- May 14, 1994 (host Heather Locklear)
- December 17, 1994 (host George Foreman)
- April 15, 1995 (host Courteney Cox)
- October 25, 1997 (host Chris Farley)
See also 
- SNL Transcripts - contains scripts from most "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker" sketches in searchable database.