Billy Madison Caused A Behind-The-Scenes Scramble To Find A New Title For Tommy Boy

"Saturday Night Live" is a very prestigious show for any comedian to appear in, but it's often treated as a stepping stone to greater success. It's the natural life cycle of an "SNL" cast member to spend a few seasons on television, increasing their reputation, before leaving the show and attempting to get big in movies or to get a television show of their own. That's the path that's been followed by countless cast members, from early stars like Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase starring in movies to more recent cast members like Andy Samberg or Amy Poehler going on to sitcom success. Unless you're Kenan Thompson, that's just the circle of life.

There are also those who fail to gain any traction on the show, getting fired after one or two seasons on the cast. While some of their careers manage to recover, being fired from "SNL" can be the death knell of a comedian's chance at hitting it big.

Back in the '90s, when Chris Farley and Adam Sandler were some of the standouts of the show, people probably expected them to be some of the next generation of big comedy movie stars. Unfortunately for the two, they were both suddenly fired from the show in 1995. While the two were already proving to have some star power, this could have been a lethal blow to their careers. So, with their biggest platform swept out from under them, the two decided separately that they'd take their shot at the movies. Sandler went to work on "Billy Madison," while Farley signed on to make "Tommy Boy." These two comedies would go on to be classics of the time period.

Billy the Third: A Midwestern

While the two good friends were starring in different movies, the productions were by no means in competition. After all, Farley would actually playing an uncredited role as a bus driver in "Billy Madison." The two were making movies with similar senses of humor, chasing the same audience, but there was enough room in town for the both of them.

However, in the movies' early production, they did bump heads a bit over their respective titles, according to a "Tommy Boy" oral history from 2015. According to "Tommy Boy" director Peter Segal, news of the title of Sandler's upcoming movie sent production into a scramble for a new title.

"What was it called... oh gosh the [original title]... 'Billy the Third: A Midwestern,' is what it was. But we were in pre-production at the same time that 'Billy Madison' was in pre-production, and we didn't want two 'SNL' related films with the same title. So we went into a tailspin, spent months coming up with what it eventually was named."

While Chris Farley's titular Tommy Callahan being named "Billy" probably wouldn't have changed the film much, it does show how the "Saturday Night Live" industrial complex can affect the films that go through it. Even when the creators were great friends, these "SNL" alums' movies would inevitably be compared and put up against each other.

Fortunately for both Sandler and Farley, both films were huge successes. "Billy Madison" was the first of many films Sandler would star in, starting his own Happy Madison production company. While Farley would never reach his film potential due to his tragic death in 1997, "Tommy Boy" was a hit and still stands as one of Paramount's best-selling films on home media