According to Naperville native Bob Odenkirk, he was inspired by his hometown when writing Chris Farley’s famous SNL skit “Matt Foley: Van Down by the River.”
Q: Speaking of “SNL,” that famous sketch for Chris Farley you wrote, about him living in a van down by the river — were you writing with Naperville in mind?
A: There is the DuPage River, and when I was writing that I did picture the bridge in Naperville over the DuPage. It was a bridge for stoners when I was a kid. Stoner kids hung out there. So this guy parking his van by a river — yes, that was the image I had.
There are several bridges Odenkirk could be referring to. Could it be this bridge (in a picture from nearly a decade ago)? This is a little removed from the busier downtown area and the more manicured areas of the lively Riverwalk.
Naperville has a reputation as a wealthy and large suburb with a thriving downtown and numerous high-status jobs. Does the image of a guy living in a van down by the river fit this or kids smoking pot by the DuPage River? Probably not and the city in recent years was not interested in marijuana dispensaries.
I cannot imagine a statue of Matt Foley near the DuPage River in downtown Naperville among the suburb’s collection of public art...but perhaps Odenkirk could eventually make the cut?