Comedian Chris Farley’s family suing bike-maker Trek

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Comedian Chris Farley is shown in this Sept. 18, 1990, file photo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Comedian Chris Farley is shown in this Sept. 18, 1990, file photo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Madison, Wis. (AP) – The family of late comedian and film star Chris Farley has filed a federal lawsuit against Trek Bicycle for naming its fat-tired bikes Farley, saying the Wisconsin-based bike company misappropriated Farley’s name and traded on his “fat guy” brand of comedy.

Chris Farley was born and raised in Madison, about 30 miles from Waterloo, where Trek is based.

Make Him Smile, a company founded and run by Farley’s family to protect his publicity and property rights, said damages could exceed $10 million. Trek said any damages sought were purely speculative.

Farley graduated from high school in Madison and Marquette University in Milwaukee before going on to star on Saturday Night Live and in several hit movies, including “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep.”  He weighed about 400 pounds (180 kilograms), the lawsuit states, having “spent his entire career building, then capitalizing on, his unique brand of ‘fat guy’ humor and acting style.”

The lawsuit alleges Trek chose the name Farley “to immediately associate defendant Trek’s fat bikes with one of their favorite ‘fat’ and ‘loud’ comedians,” and the company’s executives knew what they were doing when they made the decision.