What the Hell Happened to Chevy Chase?

Chevy Chase 2013

In the late seventies and early eighties, Chevy Chase was the height of cool.  He was the original break-out star of Saturday Night Live which was the hip show to watch and not an institution like it is today.  When he went into movies, Chase was hailed as the next Cary Grant.  But despite appearing in a few durable comedies, Chase has failed to live up to the promise he showed early in his career.  These days, he is known for his tirades more than his comedy.

What the hell happened?

Chase got his start as a writer.  He was part of a comedy ensemble called, Channel One and wrote for the Smothers Brothers TV show in the early 70s. In 1973, he became a cast member on The National Lampoon Radio Hour which also featured John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray.  Chase also worked with Belushi in the Off Broadway revue, Lemmings, which was a send-up of musical counter-culture.

In 1974, Chase appeared in the sketch comedy film, The Groove TubeThe Groove Tube was written and directed by Ken Shapiro who was co-founder of Channel One.

The Groove Tube was made on a meager $200,000 budget which made it highly profitable.

chase - snl

Chase was discovered by Lorne Michaels one day while standing in line to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Chase was cutting up.  Michaels took notice and ended up hiring Chase as a writer – not a performer – for his new show, Saturday Night.

Chase convinced Michaels to allow him to appear on the show.  He did the opening segment in which he would take a prat fall before announcing “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night”.

Chase was also the first host of Weekend Update, a role which allowed him to say his name on television every week.  Chase started the segment by saying, “I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not.”  It became a popular catch phrase while subtly pointing out that Chase was probably cooler than you.

chase - weekend update

The original cast of Saturday Night Live included comedy legends like Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner.  But Chase quickly ascended as the break-out star.  Many in the cast (especially Belushi who was not used to being upstaged) resented Chase’s sudden stardom.  It didn’t help that Chase was a coked-up jerk with a gigantic ego.  He was known for being a “put-down artist”, ordering everyone around  and bragging about his rising fame.

“He likes to focus attention on himself,” said Dan Aykroyd, one of the few SNL cast members who remained friends with Chase over the years.

It was a friendship that was able to survive all the focus on him that first year as a huge star.  I’m pretty easy to get along with.  I’m from Canada.  We know how to bend backwards and forwards towards Americans.

Laraine Newman described meeting Chase:

My first impression of Chevy was that he was really good-looking, but kind of mean.  He teased in the way that a big brother would, [aiming for] exactly what would hurt your feelings the most. I say this as someone who loves him. And loves him a lot.

In 1975, Chase was so popular that there was talk of renaming Saturday Night Live the Chevy Chase ShowNew York magazine ran a cover story hailing Chase as “the funniest man in America”.  And an NBC exec referred to him as “the first real potential successor to Johnny Carson.”  There were rumors Chase would guest host for Carson on the Tonight Show.

Chase dismissed talk of taking over the Tonight Show saying “I’d never be tied down for five years interviewing TV personalities.”  Ironic considering Chase would eventually host a late night talk show of his own.  Carson responded to Chase’s claims by saying he “couldn’t ad-lib a fart after a baked-bean dinner.”

chase - snl 2

Chase’s contract as a writer for SNL was only for one year.  After the first season, Chase decided not to return to Saturday Night Live.  He fired his manager, Bernie Brillstein, who also represented Lorne Michaels and signed with the powerful William Morris agency.  Michaels, who had been close with Chase, felt betrayed by the way Chase left the show without notice.

According to Chase, the show never recovered from his departure:

I felt that once I left it wasn’t as good. We had done what we had come to do that first year, which was to parody television and to satirize political events. And once you ran out of that either A) because you did all the jokes, or the novelty had ceased to exist, or B) because others were now doing what you had started off doing and were winning Emmys for, or C) because everybody won Emmys and they were all full of themselves and they were starting to write “in” jokes, then the show was not going to be as good and therefore was just going to go downhill. And it seemed to me that after I left that happened.

These days, Chase claims that he left Saturday Night Live for love.  He was dating model Jacqueline Carlin at the time.  According to Chase, she demanded that he move out to Hollywood if he wanted to continue seeing her.  But staff writer Tom Davis claims that at the time, Chase told him he was leaving the show for “money – lots of money”.

Chase moved out west and immediately married Carlin.  The couple divorced after 17 turbulent months.  Carlin filed for divorce citing threats of violence.  Meanwhile, Chase was appearing in his own prime time specials on NBC.

During Saturday Night Live’s second season, Chase returned as a host.  When he did, he insisted on taking the Weekend Update segment back from Jane Curtin who had been hosting the bit since he left the show.  Chase claimed this upset Curtin, but she insisted that “Chevy was expecting a reaction he wasn’t getting from me.”

Chase’s return did get a reaction from Bill Murray who had replaced Chase on the cast in the show’s second season.  Belushi, served as an instigator telling Murray that Chase was looking to get his old job back.  Murray confronted Chase and a fight ensued moments before the show was about to start.  Laraine Newman recalled:

“I don’t know if Chevy provoked it or not.  But it culminated with Billy saying to Chevy, ‘Why don’t you fuck your wife once in a while? She needs it.’ And I don’t even remember who threw the first punch, Billy or Chevy. But it was ugly.”

According to Chase, John Belushi instigated the brawl:

It was Belushi that started it, I found out later, by bad-mouthing me to Murray. But he got his, because while we were swinging at each other, he was in the middle and was the only one who got hit! I would have won the fight. Absolutely. I’m taller. I have a longer reach. And I had to fight a lot when I was a kid.

Next: Foul Play and Caddyshack

Posted on April 16, 2013, in Movies, Saturday Night Live, TV, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 220 Comments.

  1. I got bored and wrote an outline for Caddyshack 3:

    Twenty years ago, Al Czervik bought Bushwood Country Club, after he passed, it was left in the hands of his son, Phil Czervik (Darrell Hammond).

    The club is far less exclusionary than in the past, but the poor economy has hit the Czervik family hard and Phil may be forced to sell the club to an interested buyer, airline magnate Peter Forrester (Alec Baldwin) who wants to turn Bushwood into an elite property for the super rich.

    Meanwhile, fun loving cattle baron Bob Porter (Ron White) is playing 36 holes like he does every weekend when he hears of the club’s impending sale, he tells Czervik that his golf pro friend informed him that the PGA Tour is looking for an emergency venue for the PGA Championship after a sewer main busted and ruined the course they had planned to use, and the money they would get paid to host the event would be enough to keep Phil from having to sell Bushwood.

    Phil has two weeks to turn the golf course into a real challenge for the pros, so he turns to head greens keeper Dave Spackler (Chris Pratt), who eagerly accepts the challenge, happily sharing the news with his pet gopher.

    Forrester discovers that Czervik is in more financial trouble than he lets on and leans on Phil to sell the club to him immediately, knowing the tournament will make the club even more enticing to his wealthy friends, Czervik refuses and Forrester decides to sabotage the club’s chances with the PGA.

    Spackler enlists the help of the club’s golf pro, retired tour champion Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler), who left the tour after winning several majors and settled down so he could spend more time with his wife (Julie Bowen) and kids.

    Together they manage to turn the course into a sufficient challenge and the PGA agrees to move the tournament to Bushwood, despite Forrester’s scheming.

    Forrester and Porter get into a disagreement on the course as Forrester gets angry at Porter and his friends for taking forever, they argue, Porter wins the war of words and Forrester vows revenge.

    Just before the tournament begins, Phil’s financial issues are getting out of hand and he has no choice to sell the club, Forrester is pleased until Porter makes a better offer, Forrester matches the offer and Czervik decides to let the two men settle things during the Pro-Am before the tournament, winner gets to buy Bushwood.

    Forrester smugly makes a side wager with Porter before the match, which Bob agrees to before Forrester reveals that he’s a zero handicap and his partner is the hottest rookie on the tour.

    Then Porter’s golf pro friend arrives, ready to partner with him in the Pro Am, and Forrester’s smug expression vanishes when he sees Tiger Woods.

    Porter and Woods beat Forrester, who cries foul until Happy decks him, Porter agrees to buy 49% of Bushwood so Czervik can keep control, and Dave’s father Carl (Bill Murray) who is now bald and dressed in Tibetan monk robes, congratulates his son on his fine work, but gets upset at the sight of Dave’s pet gopher.

    Good guys win, bad guys lose, everyone’s gonna get laid, etc.

    I’m sure it could be better if I gave more than 20 minutes thought to it, but like I said, I was bored.


  2. hes not a good actor but still it makes me wonder if chase didnt turn it down it would lead to great things memories of invisible man was not drama it was comedy it didnt realy have dramatic elements i think chase has an ego wants to be a big star all the time he would think an indie would be a step down for him hes to lazy to devolpe acting skill. Murray was like chase earlier his career then as he aged he realized his roles would get old so actualy devolved real acting skill by taking challenging roles chase was to lazy to do that it might to late now


  3. i also heard he turned down gump too him and travolta


    • Chase was a big, big star. The list of scripts he turned down is a long one. But you also have to keep in mind that when an actor passes on a film, it changes the outcome of the movie. If Chase had made Forest Gump or American Beauty, they would have become Chevy Chase projects. It would have completely changed everything about those movies.


  4. we dont know if it would iam sure had he not turned down American beauty it would still be a dark comedy maybe it would be sold as a comeback vehicle for chase it did have some sarcastic witty humour i guess i can kind of picture chase saying spaceys line spacey was a big name then before american beauty but he was not seen as a leading man since he didnt have alot of successful leading roles at that so it was kind of risky casting him in a lead role if chase didnt turn it down it could have been still the same he played depressed man before


  5. if u think about lester could have been a dark take on clark griswald


  6. It occurred to me that Chevy Chase has something in common with David Caruso and Farrah Faucett: all three left highly successful tv series after only one season. Chase beat the odds by actually having a successful movie career unlike most who leave for greener pastures so soon after gaining fame.


    • It’s true. Leaving SNL was actually a good career move for Chase. At least for a decade or so.


      • Here’s the difference between Chevy Chase and the idiots you guys are discussing that don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as CC. Even when I was unemployed for the better part of a year, you could not have paid me any amount of money to watch anything with Seagal, VanDamm, or Ahnuld in it.


        • I do think you’re being unfair to Arnold. The other two, not so much. But your preference is just that, personal preference. Someone else who prefers action to comedy would likely feel the exact opposite way you do. Personally, I share your preference. But I don’t think Chase is superior to those guys in any way. He’s just a comedic talent where Seagal and Van Damme have talents that don’t appeal to you (or me) as much.


  7. chevy chase had a good run of movies but never reached bill murray stardom


  8. but never had murray like range i saw ghostbusters last night murray was great i know chase was one of the original choice he could not have pulled it off chase can still try drama maybe grandpa roles in drama he turned american beauty cause he wanted to family oriented films this proves hes ok with his career being in the can u cant blame him for turning dwn the movie aas good as it was in the 90s there alot of these subrian type films like ice storm not all of them were hits plus sam mendes was a first time director so it wasnt a sure thing it would be a hit


    • Why does Bill Murray suddenly think he is a “serious” actor?


      If you look at the careers of many comedians you’ll see there comes a point where they either branch out and grow as actors or stagnate and become typecast.

      Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Steve Carrel and Charlie Chaplin are a few examples.

      There is nothing “sudden” about Bill Murray taking more serious roles. Back in 1984 Bill Murray made a deal with Columbia Pictures that he would appear in Ghostbusters only if they financed The Razors Edge. That film bombed and Murray went back to making comedies. But if you look at comedies he made after Razor’s Edge you can see many of them had darker or dramatic layers.

      In 1988 he made Scrooged which has a very dark 3rd act and a passionate speech. Sure What about Bob and Quick Change were silly films but a few years after those films he made Groundhog Day which walked the line between comedy and drama. Groundhog Day was his last headlining blockbuster and you could see audiences were getting tired of his movies.

      In the years that followed Murray had some funny cameos but most of his headlining films after Groundhog were bombing. But in 1998 he made Rushmore and entered his post-comedy reinvention with the help of Wes Anderson. It got him a Golden Globe nomination. A few years later he was nominated for an Oscar for Lost in Translation. He was being rewarded for his dramatic work.

      Meanwhile, Jim Carrey never got the recognition he deserved as a dramatic actor so he’s gone back to the well with Dumb and Dumber. Robin Williams won an Oscar but he’d still make comedies. Chevy Chase tried to make a few dramas, they bombed and his career never recovered.

      Reprising roles 30 years later really hasn’t worked for a lot of actors and I think Murray wants to do something new and different than the same thing over and over again. He’s proved he can and audiences accept him so let him do whatever he wants.


  9. lebeau i dot care for chases acting dont think hes funny but to say hes worse then arnold is an insult arnold never has dont drama he suck at it. arnold not a good actor he sucks at comedy too no timing the only thing he has going for him is build which fits his action roles all he does is action scene and one liners but no real acting chops chase is a little better then arnold chase had a better chance getting a oscar nom chases acting has been praised in a few of his moives arnolds never was


    • Agreed.. hence the SNL skit. Ahnuld’s talent can be summed up as “We’re here to PAMP YOU up”


      • I strongly disagree. You’re both selling Schwarzenegger short. He has a very strong screen presence and quite an impressive range. No, he’s never going to be an actor. But as a movie star working within his wheelhouse, he can do comedy and action as well as anyone. And he can do limited dramatic roles. I was quite series when I said I believe he has more range than Chase. Both are talented guys. But Chase is limited to basically doing his schtick. Schwarzenegger has shown he can do more. No insult to Chase. That’s just an honest assessment.


        • I agree with Lebeau on this one. I love Chevy Chase, but at the same time his range is limited. His acting on SNL, Caddyshack, Vacation and Three Amigos (my favorite works of Chevy’s) all fall into a very narrow range. Don’t get me wrong Chase is terrific and talented at what he does, but there’s not much range or nuance there.

          Arnold Schwarzenegger displayed soild acting chops in the action film genre with Terminator, Commando and Predator, but then expanded his range (and his audience) by doing Twins. He surprised many by displaying keen comedic sensibilites and Twins became his biggest hit to date. Kindergarden Cop showed Twins wasn’t a fluke with another comedy hit. True Lies served as a strong action comedy for him as well. I would say because Arnold has successfully done both action films and comedy films, he has a somewhat wider range than Chase, who has only done comedy successfully.

          I think some just knock Arnold because they view “action films” as a lower grade of film or something, but it does take certain acting skills to successfully pull off an entertaining action film. Look at Steven Seagal. He was quite successful in action films in the late 80’s to mid 90’s, yet he never stretched out into comedy films or dramas, and I don’t think he could have even if he tried. Actually, he did try once, when he hosted Saturday Night Live, and he bombed so badly that Lorne Michaels calls him one of the worst hosts in SNL history. Just goes to show that comedy isn’t as easy as it looks. So the fact that Arnold expanded beyond action films into comedy successfully proves that he does have range.


          • Exactly.

            Also, don’t overlook Arnold’s range as a dramatic actor. I know, his range is limited. But he has done dramatic roles like Stay Hungry and The Jane Mansfield Story. Look at True Lies in which Schwarzenegger deftly balances comedy and action with a little dramatic acting. Heck, look at his most iconic role. The Terminator. He has played The Terminator as both a hero and a villain. A humorless killing machine and a catch-phrase spouting protector who even elicits a tear or two when he makes his final sacrifice. When’s the last time anyone cried because Chevy Chase died on screen?

            Yes, Arnold’s range is limited. But not as limited as you might think if you assume he is just a musclebound idiot. He’s definitely not.


  10. arnold even said himself countless of times he is a bad actor he knows it people dont watch his movies for great acting granted hes gotten slightly better then when he first started still sucks one of the things i hate is when people put stallone and arnold same category stallone started off as a dramatic actor he was called the next brando he just choose to star in some crappy action films he turned himself to action star. he can handle more dialogue then arnold his acting has been praised


  11. when has arnold ever done drama he no comic timing chase has personality in his roles he just has 1 liners arnold is one of the worst actors ever chase has a better shot at oscar people say keanu reeves is bad arnld is worst


  12. Here’s Why ‘Fletch Lives’ Isn’t A Terrible Movie:

    ‘Fletch Lives’ stands out as one of Chevy Chase’s most under-loved films, but maybe people are being too harsh.


  13. “I don’t like Chevy”: Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase’s tense post-”Saturday Night Live” battle:

    Rivalry between Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase extended past that famous “SNL” sketch — and included Johnny Carson

    David Henry and Joe Henry

    Richard had sworn off appearing on talk shows six years earlier because, as he said, there would always come a point in the conversation when the host would turn to him and say, “Isn’t America wonderful, Richard?” And he would have to say, Yes, Merv/Mike/Joey/whoever, it sure is. Then the host would say, “See, guys? He said it. What’s the matter with the rest of you?”

    On May 4, 1977, Richard and Chevy Chase both went on the Tonight Show to plug their respective TV specials, airing back-to-back on NBC the following night. Chase had left Saturday Night’s midway through its second season to pursue a solo career. Carson and Chevy only met for the first time the previous day. Although he was noticeably cool toward Chase, Carson could barely conceal his glee over Chase’s painfully inept performance, as the comic actor, visibly flustered, stumbled over even the simplest questions groping for witty replies but coming up with none.

    Carson asked Chevy to demonstrate, for the benefit of folks at home who may not have seen it, the pratfall that made him famous on Saturday Night. Using a chair and a glass of water for props, Chase gives an overlong introduction, explaining what it is he’s about to do, what makes it funny, then instructs the audience (growing noisy and restless) on the proper way to land when taking a fall. Finally he does it. Applause. As he steps up onto the riser, returning to his chair, he trips and falls again.

    Chevy became less tongue-tied once Richard came out and took the guest chair next to Johnny. Being pushed out of the spotlight seemed to energize Chevy. His comic style being better suited to the role of a sideline taunter than ball carrier, he kept leaning over from the couch into Richard’s frame and repeatedly interrupted with ineffective wisecracks. After suffering a number of verbal smack-downs from Richard—with the audience clearly on Richard’s side—Chevy attempted to make amends by saying that he had seen Richard’s special and that it was “hilarious. Not quite as funny as mine, but, really, it’s quite good.” Richard remained unmoved. When Johnny asked Richard if he’d seen Chevy’s special, he answered, “I don’t like Chevy.”


  14. Chevy Chase says he’s returning to “Community,” Sony says it’s not true:

    A rep for Sony Pictures Television says Chase, who asserted in a Reddit AMA that he’ll make a “small cameo,” “is not confirmed to appear in Season 6 at this time.”


  15. I think what really kills Chase is he really does not know what is funny. Or if he did, it passed him by around 1985 or so. Community is exactly the type of comedy he “says” he wanted to do when his movies were flopping. Harmon practically wrote his character to Chase’s strengths. The show was a critic darling and was edgy and experimental, and he still hated it. He always bemoaned after the cancellation of his talk show that his comedy is “edgy” and “experimental” and he was not allowed to do that, but when he finally got it he still hated it because he had to share it with other actors. His script choices besides Fletch and the Griswolds have been poor when he wasn’t part of an assemble.

    From the many comments of others I read who worked with him, he also never seems to have gotten over getting old. He supposedly made demands of Community that he be given romantic storylines despite the actresses being 30 years younger than him. i guess Modern Family proves there can be a place for a February/December romance being funny, but the comments lead me to believe he wasn’t pitching it as funny, but as like he is a star and should get some good looking woman action. Annie from the show is supposed to be like 20 and Britta is like mid twenties, so its just icky.

    The reason why Bill Murray passed him is Murray accepted getting older and embraced it in taking supporting roles, age appropriate roles and roles examining regret and aging while Chase never progressed from wanting to be seen as the leading man who could star against Goldie Hawn.

    He also seems to have a very bad relationship with other comics. If he was nice and offered some advice and help to them, when they got successful they probably would have returned the favor and threw him a bone, but he seems to always wanted worship and praise and automatic respect in a business where it has to be constantly earned. I saw an article where Chase stated the infamous comedy roast he did was the lowest point in his life as he knew no one who busted on him and it was cruel. However, the comics who busted on him said they did so because of his arrogant and condescending attitude towards them when the roast was nothing more than a gig to them. All of the Community actors implied when the show started they were all eager to work with him and called him a comedy legend, but soured on his arrogance and poor attitude.

    He is actually lucky he had such a long career. He seems mean, arrogant, jerky and most importantly very vain.


    • Vanity being an unknown quantity in Hollywood. Dimes to dollars anyone in the biz calling him vain has an ego to match.
      I don’t know Bob, he might be vain about the talent he had, when he was good (as being Clark for example) he made it look so effortless maybe he feels that people didn’t recognize his talent fully. Again, no idea, and Lord knows people seem to love to rip on him. But I don’t agree either that he has tried to be the leading man past his prime. He was more than happy to play the suburban goofball Dad as Clark Griswold, hardly a leading man role. It’s evidently all too easy to overlook when someone is willing to poke fun at themselves in order to enrich the comedy, and that’s exactly what he did, for all four of the Vacation movies. Speaking of which, all 4 are also excellent ensembles drawing on a lot of talent from the
      cast onward. So I also don’t buy the criticism heaped on him that he has to be the star. The roast that you mentioned, the comics that piled on at the roast and those who taped other segments seeking to exploit his name for their own ends, (He was mean to my Mom, boo hoo hoo….) come off as sounding like complete and total dickwads.
      Criticize him all you want but his career wasn’t built on luck. He’s become a scapegoat for people who like to, as another poster here said in a different context, about a different star, treat celebrities like zoo animals instead of human beings.


    • You have made a lot of good points. The one that interests me the most is the first one. I think most comedians have an expiration date. It seems like even most successful comedians can only tap into the funny for a relatively short time. After a while, they need to find a way to keep their comedic style fresh which is extremely hard to do. Chase comic style was largely based on the attitude of a cocky, handsome young man who could get away with anything. Aging just sucks the life out of what used to work for him. But also, I think success does a number on your head to the point where you really don’t know what’s funny anymore. You get used to people laughing and praising you no matter what you do. When that stops, it must be confusing. Chase’s schtick hasn’t changed. He has to wonder why and when it stopped being funny. Was it ever all that funny to begin with? What the hell happened? I ask myself these questions about guys like Chase and Mike Myers all the time.


      • I agree with you in that you can do a what the hell happened with 90% of comedians. I think comedians have it the hardest because of what you said, their schtick is the same and worked before, than all of a sudden it just..disappears. You mention Mike Myers, look at The Love Guru, on paper it had to look like gold which is why so many stars did cameos. Its the exact same style as he did with Wayne’s World and Austin Powers and it was just not funny. I also think the bombs are worse for this same reason, studios really do not know what is funny and rely on the comedian’s sense of humor more than in other movies.

        You can tell a WWII drama will be good or moving based on the script and the actors, but a studio almost needs to be Nostradamus to see Adam Sandler’s Billy Madison being a hit or Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura being huge. “On Paper”, I bet the Son of the Mask “read” as funny as Carrey’s original “The Mask”.

        As to RB’s points, he may be right and all the cast of Community, the Old SNL alums and other comedians may just be haters and he is misunderstood and is actually than VERY unfairly maligned. I wasn’t there and only wrote stories from other articles. But it hard for me to understand why so many would seek to slander a star that when it could only hurt them and probably ruin their careers if it is unfounded.


        • There are very few comedic actors who managed to stay relevant over a long period of time without getting into more dramatic roles. That’s a difficult transition to make even for a talented actor like Carrey. I think Carrey had what it took to be a dramatic actor. But his audience didn’t want to see him in those roles and those who disliked his shtick just didn’t want to see him at all. Chase, on the other hand, has never been an actor. His talent is for a very specific brand of comedy. He can’t branch out beyond that. So that leaves him with very limited options.

          You’re not going to convince RB about Chase’s character. We’ve had that conversation for a while now. If one looks objectively at the numerous accounts of Chase treating people poorly or letting his ego get the better of him, one can draw a fair conclusion. 99.9% of us already have. But one thing I have learned writing this series is that there are some fans that will cling to their beliefs about their favorite actor or actress no matter what evidence is out there to the contrary. And that’s fine by me. If someone wants to go on believing that Chevy Chase is a misunderstood sweetheart, they aren’t hurting anything. Hopefully they will never meet Chase in person to discover otherwise.

          I like your comment about the WWII drama vs a comedy. Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.


    • S40.E00: The 40th Anniversary Special:

      Chevy said he wanted a host a few years ago but Lorne told him he was too old. I’m sure there’s more to it than that (like Chevy’s an a**hole to the cast) but Lorne was right. The kind of bumbling physical stuff worked back in the ’70s because it was a vital (and handsome, the number of tweets from young people remarked on this) young guy doing it. Now it would be just a doddering old man. It’s like in the 15th anniversary they said that Chevy was too old to do a fall in the opening, but it was meant to be a joke because they said he was in his late 50s when really he was still relatively young, in his early 40s and could actually do it again.


  16. I watched the Chevy Chase Roast on Youtube over the weekend, indeed it is quite brutal. It is ironic though for a guy who easliy dishes it out to others over the years and yet he’s not able to handle getting it back. You would think that a guy who frequently insults others would have thicker skin himself.


    • Has he particpated in a televised roast of someone he doesn’t know that was quite brutal? I respect Chevy Chase despite whatever human failings he may have demonstrated, including his forays into political incorrectness. I just don’t sense that he has a bad heart, maybe that he doesn’t always know if a joke will misfire. Which goes with the territory for most comedians. Because he’s had more mainstream box office success than the vast majority of comedians on this earth, he’s simply a bigger target. The roast participants must have seen a chance to pile on and maybe make a name for themselves. Chevy Chase has never done anything like that and he doesn’t need to. I find the guy is so skilled especially at adlibbing, that for the most part, even his clumsier jokes have worked. He’s one of those performers who just thinks funny and is able to translate his view of what’s funny on screen to great effect. Even a craptastic movie like “Snow Day” (God did that suck… bought it, watched it and threw the DVD into the trash on the same day)… the scenes with Chase in them had glimpses of something magic that the movie lacked when he wasn’t there.
      And if he has a thin skin, for some reason that endears him to me all the more.


      • Chase has participated in roasts. Few have ever participated in a televised roast like the one that aired on Comedy Central. Comedy Central has aired a lot of roasts. All of them feature this kind of brutal humor. But this one took a bad turn because the comedians weren’t friends of the subject and Chase didn’t play along. I don’t really blame anyone for that. The comedians were doing a job. And for the most part, the participants were rising stars. Some of them weren’t household names at the time, but many of them are now. If you’re Stephen Colbert or Marc Maron, of course you are going to take a televised gig on Comedy Central. So I don’t blame them. Chase made some assumptions based on his previous roast experience. If the attendees were important to him, he probably should have asked to see a line-up before participating. But I don’t think that’s how roasts tend to work. So I don’t really blame him. The idea is you show up and all your friends surprise you. When his celeb friends didn’t show, he had his feelings hurt. It’s sad, but not exactly his fault. I can’t blame his friends for not showing. Most of them had strained relationships with Chase by this point and they were too big and too busy to participate in a Comedy Central roast. Laraine Newman has nothing better to do. But don’t expect Bill Murray to show up. You have to jump through a thousand hoops to pitch him a movie much less a TV special for a guy he got in a fistfight with. I must admit I was a bit surprised Aykroyd didn’t show, but it’s possible he had other commitments. I can’t really blame Comedy Central. They landed a big star for their roast. They paid him a decent amount of money (which he gave to his wife’s charity). I’m sure they expected to be able to pull in bigger stars based on Chase. When that didn’t happen, I’m sure they were as upset about it as anybody. But hey, they paid for a roast of Chevy Chase. The show most go on. When Murray and Aykroyd don’t show, you call in the talent from your own stable.

        I don’t think anyone was being mean on the Comedy Central roast. The comedians behaved the way comedians at a roast are supposed to behave. The tone was changed based on a number of factors that were beyond any one person’s control. Comedy Central realizes this and to their credit they don’t run the show any more.


        • Perfect encapsulation of what went down with that Roast of Chevy, Lebeau. Well said, spot on. The truth is the jabs and jokes – and the language – are no different in Chevy’s Roast than it has been in Charlie Sheen’s roast, or James Franco’s roast, or the William Shatner roast, or any of the other Comedy Central roasts i’ve seen over the years. The difference that you correctly point out is in other roasts they are stocked with some close, personal friends to make fun of them. James Franco’s roast had well known stars like Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Aziz Ansari, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg and Bill Hader poking good-natured (though foul-mouthed) fun at their good friend. The roastees will wince and groan at the zingers but laugh along with the jokes. Chevy Chase had a bunch of strangers poking foul-mouthed fun at him. That’s a big difference.

          To be fair there were a few old friends there: Lorraine Newman, Al Franken and Paul Shaffer from his old SNL days, and his Vacation co-star Beverly D’Angelo. One of the comedians looked around the stage and joked that the biggest star on hand is Al Franken. Chevy probably expected some big stars to show up, and instead got Al Franken and some guys he never heard of before. Chevy was obviously not having a good time, matter of fact he looked outright miserable sitting there being made fun of, which after awhile made it awkward to watch. Those comedians that Chevy didn’t know had nothing against the guy personally, they gave the same foul-mouthed zingers you hear on every roast: “you’re a terrible actor”, etc. But that distinction you bring up made all the difference.


          • One of the best zingers on the Chevy Chase Roast wasn’t even directed at him, a comedian made a joke about his Vacation co-star Beverly D’Angelo: “So now you’re married to Al Pacino? Boy, there must be a ton of overacting in that bedroom!”


    • Chase has always been thin-skinned. I remember in the early 90’s he was boo-hooing about the first SNL expose book that showed him in an unflattering light. He said it made him cry. Fine. Then change your ways! Do a little self-examination. But instead, he always plays the victim. Everyone pointing a finger at Chase is being unfair despite the fact that even a lot of his friends will admit he has a mean streak. Chase also complains about critics being unfair to his movies even though he admits most of them aren’t very good.He is the very first one to dish it out. And he absolutely can’t take it.


  17. Oh RB my secret love.

    I afraid your irrational defense of the Mr. Chase is causing me to re evaluate our long range relationship. I always looked forward to your wise and thoughtful comments on almost every WTHH actor/actress/director and found myself agreeing with almost every word. But alas, my hopes have been crushed as it has become clear that I have been replaced my Mr. Chase and cast aside as an empty husk. It is just one more example of the beautiful and talented woman choosing the asshole over the nice guy. I tried so hard, I bought you jewelry, babysat your children while you went out with your friends, even paid off your credit cards and this is how I am treated. I feel so used……😥

    I hope you find happiness with what’s-his-name. As for me…I am going to sulk and go back to my wife, if she will take me.

    Merry Christmas Everybody😀

    Bad Brad


    • BRAD………RB!!!!!!! WHY, WHY…….. I HAD NO IDEA!!! Now RB, I understand the fixation on Mr. Chevy Chase….. after all, as he has made quite clear over the years, he is Chevy Chase and everyone else is clearly quite not, but I think you’re making a huge mistake choosing Chevy over Brad. If I may be so bold…… In my humble estimation, despite Chevy being the appealing bad boy, Brad is clearly the better DEAL out of the two! (do you see what I did there? clever, right?) Chevy may take you back to his Caddyshack for fun times, Chevy may take you on an all-expenses-paid Vacation (or four), he may try some Foul Play on you which you may or may not like, he may even sweep you off your feet and offer you the Deal Of The Century, but ultimately bad boys like Chevy Chase are Nothing But Trouble. Wait, Fletch! Is there any way to work Fletch into this? Oh, I guess not. Wait, Three Amigos. Yes, wait, I can work with that. As a cad, Chevy will even tell his Three Amigos about everything he does with you. What a cad!

      On the other hand, even after the lovin’, Brad will be there for you. And obviously, your out-of-control credit card debt. RB…… Don’t be tempted by the bad boy! Not when reliable ol’ Brad is around.

      On that note, Merry Christmas everybody!


      • I love that you worked in Deal of the Century. That’s a deep cut. Now I’ve got to go shovel the walk. We’re having a Snow Day. And then I’m going to help the neighbor look for her missing parakeet. It flew away this morning but with a little luck we can Follow That Bird. After that, I’m going to kick back and relax in my Hot Tub Time Machine. If there’s a nice mist, we may be Under the Rainbow. That Seems Like Old Times, doesn’t it?


    • Brad, you crack me up. Merry Christmas!


    • Brad, it isn’t you at all. It’s me. You’re a great guy who deserves way better. It may seem painful now, but in the long run, it’s better to get the heartbreak out of the way early and pick up the pieces before things get worse. Brad, you say I used you… I can’t apologize for that. You enjoyed it… and we’ll always have the sweet memories.

      P.S. Oh, guys, one correction. You can criticize my taste in men, probably with some justification, but RB is very responsible and doesn’t carry credit card debt.


      • Ahhh, who’s credit card did I pay off then??? Let me check….Lets see…

        No, no way, it can’t be…

        C. Chase #*****

        I gotta get out of the country before my wife finds out..


        • Funny because Chase charges everything to Mr. Underhill. C. Chase is actually the name on my credit card. Thanks for paying for next year’s Disney cruise!


          • I just sent your credit card info to the North Korean mafia.

            Merry Christmas a**hole😃


            • Ouch! I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. You saw what they did to The Interview.

              I think adding “Merry Christmas a**hole” was a nice touch though, Brad! Bravo! Sorry, Lebeau…….. ;)


              • Craig,

                Steal my girlfriend, steal my money, make me look like a fool…What do you expect…payback is a bitch! LeBeau better start learning to blog in Korean

                도대체 무슨 일이 있었는지 Thats What the Hell Happened in Korean, I think

                메리 크리스마스

                Bad Brad


                • Bad Brad…. it looks like somebody is hoping to steal away the “bad boy” title from Mr. Chevy Chase!

                  Repeat after me, Brad…….. I’m Brad Deal, and you’re not! Watch out, RB, Bad Brad is officially trying to win you back, out-of-control credit debt or not! ;)


                  • No one can out-“Bad Boy” Daffy. You might think he’s out of town for the holidays but you’d be wrong. I hear he’s serving time in a maximum security prison.


                • You got me curious about how many readers I have in Korea. I looked at the international stats for the last 7 days. 178 hits from the Republic of Korea which I believe is South Korea. Nothing from North Korea although I hear their internet was experiencing some outages this week. Thanks to on-line translators, my lame jokes are read around the world! The 21st century really is something else.


              • I gotta give Brad credit for that one. Simple, elegant. Props.


                • why, Brad, this is a side of you we have not yet seen on Leblog… I admit, it’s kind of thrilling in a way. However, back to reality, it has to be modern holiday stress. Everything will be OK, unless Daffy decides to help you out and kidnap your boss.


            • Again?!? The reason I haven’t posted the latest podcast yet is that I have been in hiding ever since What the Hell Happened to Kim Jong-un.


  18. For anyone who plays MyVegas free slots on Facebook (highly recommended if you’re ever planning a visit there), there’s an interesting nod to “Christmas Vacation” in their graphic design. The MyVegas MyStrip features a vehicle with a Christmas tree on the roof, tied on with straps all the way around the car…. the car is at first blush, a limo but it also looks oddly like the Griswold family Truckster. Also the tree is a succulent rather than an evergreen… someone in their design dept. has a sense of humor!


  19. What Chevy Chase Regrets About His Time On Saturday Night Live:

    Early in the second season of Saturday Night Live, Chevy Chase decided to leave the show. He moved to Hollywood and almost immediately became one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He made a lot of money and became incredibly famous, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have regrets. In fact, he was hit with a wave of them when he walked back into Studio 8H for a photography session with other legends to celebrate the show’s 40th Anniversary.

    It brought back a lot of pleasant memories, but one thing that struck Chase was how few pictures he was in on the wall. Because he left so soon, he missed out on so many memories and so many moments the other castmembers like Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi got to have.

    It was just great being back up there in 8H, wishing my picture were up on the wall more. I couldn’t find it… There were pictures of people I’d never seen before!”

    On the face of it, the above quote is at least partially a joke, but beneath the smile, there actually does seem to be some regrets. Chevy Chase made a ton of great movies. Vacation, The Three Amigos and Caddyshack are among the most beloved comedies ever, but whenever, God forbid, he passes away, the obituaries will still likely cite him as Saturday Night Live cast member first. That’s how important the show is to the cultural landscape, and that’s how much people loved Chevy Chase, especially during his “Weekend Update” segments, which continue to this day.


    • How Bill Murray Saved ‘Saturday Night Live’:

      It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1977, Bill Murray was struggling to fill Chevy Chase’s shoes, so much so that he delivered an on-air plea for support from the “Saturday Night Live” audience. His rebound not only marked the beginning of a ready-for-primetime career, but also helped set a template that turned the NBC franchise into one of TV’s most renewable resources.

      Murray, then in his mid-20s, joined “SNL” after Chase — thanks to his prat falls and “Weekend Update” segment, the program’s first breakout star — had left to pursue a movie career.

      In the early going, Murray was generally deemed a failure, which is why his pitch — tongue in cheek as it was — had a slightly uncomfortable ring of truth about it.

      “I don’t think I’m making it on the show,” Murray said, telling viewers it would be a big help — not just to him, naturally, but the widowed mother he supports — “If you could see it in your heart to laugh whenever I say something.”

      Murray, of course, rallied spectacularly from his early misfires, and his “SNL” characters remain some of the most indelible the program has produced. Even now, it’s hard not to smile thinking about his Todd & Lisa sketches with Gilda Radner, or Murray’s obnoxious lounge entertainer putting lyrics to the “Star Wars” theme.

      More significantly, however, in terms of “SNL’s” longevity, was the message Chase’s exit and Murray’s ascent delivered — namely, that the show could weather the loss of talent. People could come and go, usually to pursue movie careers, and their replacements would fill the void.

      Moreover, many of those new “Not Ready for Primetime Players” would blossom into stars themselves, establishing Lorne Michaels’ creation not only as a launching pad for movie headliners (and thus a magnet for performers) but also a commodity that was bigger than any single or even combination of cast members. Eventually, even characters introduced within the program became fodder for movies, such as “Wayne’s World.”

      Obviously, there have been arid patches in terms of “SNL’s” makeup over the years, and not all those who have sought to make the leap from the show have enjoyed equal success. For every Eddie Murphy, there’s been a Joe Piscopo — whose movies ultimately led to taking refuge in talkradio — or two.

      The basic blueprint, however, has endured. And while “The Daily Show” has come to rival “SNL” both as a vehicle for minting viable comedy talent and a source of satire with an inordinately large cultural footprint, the fact the NBC series remains this formidable as the college students who first watched it age into their 60s is a feat rivaled by few TV franchises — even fewer if you omit news, such as “Today” or “60 Minutes,” from the mix.

      Indeed, realizing that “SNL” has remained on the cutting edge of the youth-obsessed comedy game makes its longevity all the more surprising. And while “The Tonight Show” has a longer history, the epic tenures of its hosts — with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno holding down the fort for a half-century between them — has required less adaptability than “Saturday Night” has exhibited in needing to reload every few years.

      Murray was just the first addition to keep the show humming along, and singling him out isn’t intended to diminish Michaels and company’s role in consistently finding budding stars across two generations. Still, who’s to say all that would have played out quite so serendipitously had Murray not recovered from his foundering start to become a standout player.

      So as Lisa might have told Todd, way to go, Pizza Face.


  20. 10 Worst Oscar Hosts Ever:

    Chevy Chase – 1988

    In 1975, Chevy Chase earned millions of fans with his sarcastic take on current events as the first host of Saturday Night Live’s much loved Weekend Update segment. In 1988, an oddly mean-spirited Chevy kicked off the show by declaring, “Good evening Hollywood phonies.” The show only went downhill from there.


    • The Best and the Worst Oscar Hosts (Slideshow):

      Chevy Chase (1988)

      The SNL alum had help hosting the 1987 Oscars with Goldie Hawn and Paul Hogan, but the next year Chase returned solo for what would be his last time hosting. Chase opened the show on the wrong foot by acknowledging the audience saying, “Good evening, Hollywood phonies.” Chase continued to piss people off throughout the evening with his immature insults aimed at critics and the year’s nominees. The badly-written material for the show may have been due to the writer’s strike that occured a month the show, but regardless of the script, never insult your audience.


      • Oscar Hosts: From Worst To Best, Rating 60 Years Of Academy Awards Emcees:

        Chevy Chase (1988) Back at the Shrine Auditorium for the first time in 40 years, the show suffered from a lack of well-written material, thanks to a writer’s strike that had begun a month earlier. Not that that kept the show from dragging out to three and a half hours. Chase began with an object lesson in how not to play to the room by saying, “Good evening, Hollywood phonies.” He was never invited back.


  21. Is Chevy Chase Okay?


    Either something’s going on or Chevy Chase is really nailing his impersonation of a man not living his best life.

    Chase was part of NBC’s red carpet special for the SNL 40th anniversary special Sunday night and he did a brief interview with Carson Daly where Carson asked questions and Chevy sighed deeply and then sort of rambled on.

    “I left after the first year because I thought this isn’t going anywhere… I liked [hosting]. I liked it. But I missed it more for not being a part of the cast because I left after one year, I had reasons to leave. I’m sorry if I’m perspiring, but I just had to run through a gauntlet. But I liked it a lot, and I still like it. I love Lorne. We’re like brothers now.”

    Chase—who has a long, checkered history with the show—eventually came back to host eight times, even returning for dozens of cameos after he was reportedly banned from hosting in 1997.

    He seemed to recall his SNL days with genuine affection, adding that it was a “lot of fun” with “good people—Lorne and John and Gilda and Danny and uh, the rest.”


    • R.I.P. Chevy Chase, You Will Be Missed:

      After seeing him on SNL 40, he’s done. He had one more shot to be funny and pissed it away with his actions on “Community” I was hoping he could do something funny, one last time in this life, but it won’t happen.

      Wow, what a waste of 20+ years of life. Ever since the 1990s he’s really pissed himself away. He was my favorite comedian next to Bill Murray until the 1990s when I realized HE wasn’t funny, the WRITER had to be funny. He can’t ad-lib.

      I will never forget Detective Fletch, Clark W. Griswold, and SNL Chevy Chase.


  22. One answer: he got old.


  23. but when a typecast actor ages he becomes to old for certain roles thats why its good for actor to expand his range. it looks pathetic for chevy to play same roles at his age bill murray devolved skill so hes able to play different roles he doing great. same thing happen with meg ryan . he become to old to play sweet bubbly girl next door as she got old she couldnt do it anymore. same thing will happen to cmaeron diaz . when she gets old and lose her looks her career might be done play a blonde ditzt at 50 will be sad. she never devolved skill


  24. Chevy Chase: After ‘Saturday Night Live,’ too mean to succeed:

    From almost the moment “Saturday Night Live” first aired, the media swooned at the sight of Chevy Chase. New York magazine slapped him on the cover, declaring he was the next Johnny Carson. He did an opinion piece for the New York Times, in which he introduced himself as: “Chevy Chase is Chevy Chase and you’re not.” All throughout 1975, the cleft chin was everywhere.

    Then, in an interview with Vogue, a moment of introspection struck. “In this business you can come and go in a second,” he confessed, according to “Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live.” “I could be flushed out tomorrow with a big smile and a handshake.”

    On Sunday night, Chase, 71, appeared flushed out. The night was the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live,” and things got awkward. There was Carson Daly, a barrage of cameras and Chevy Chase, who seemed confused about where he was and what this was all about.

    “Is Chevy Chase Okay?” Gawker asked. It was an appropriate question.

    Daly informed Chase that he was once a part of “Saturday Night Live,” which seemed to surprise Chase, who mulled the matter for a long moment. “I was!” he said, looking shaky. “I don’t think we really knew; it was late night and we knew we could do things you usually couldn’t do in earlier night.”

    Daly asked whether Chase was surprised the show has been on for 40 years. “I left after the first year because I thought this isn’t going anywhere,” Chase said. “… I liked [hosting]. I liked it. But I missed it more for not being a part of the cast because I left after one year. I had reasons to leave. I’m sorry if I’m perspiring, but I just had to run through a gauntlet. But I liked it a lot, and I still like it.”

    The short interview hinted at Chase’s tortured history with “Saturday Night Live.” The show made Chase — it turned an all-but-unknown writer into an intrinsic part of the American zeitgeist — but also made him unlikable. “The ugly truth is that a lot of people don’t love Chevy Chase,” Entertainment Weekly once said. “They don’t even like him. … This isn’t really surprising, because apparently the man possesses a truly spectacular talent for pissing people off.”

    While other “SNL” cast members of Chase’s era — comedians like Bill Murray or Dan Aykroyd — went on to become institutions, Chase never quite cashed in on his early promise. He was supposed to be the next coming of Carson. But instead, Chase turned in some popular early movies, then fizzled. There was lots of potential but not enough payout.

    If there’s a reason for that, reports suggest, it’s Chase himself. He was a victim of too much success too fast during his year on “Saturday Night Live,” which gave rise to such ego that today he’s as remembered for bridges burned as for punchlines delivered.

    “When you become famous, you’ve got like a year or two where you act like a real a–hole,” Gawker quoted Murray saying of Chase. “You can’t help yourself. It happens to everybody. You’ve got like two years to pull it together — or it’s permanent.”

    And Chase particularly had trouble pulling it together. “Nobody prepares you for what happens when you get famous, and I didn’t handle it well,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2012. “I was young, new, hot star and I had this unbelievable arrogance. As time went on, the strident narcissism and arrogance slowly diminished. But I was definitely there. I’m older now. And a big crybaby.”

    Chase was never supposed to be a star. He was supposed be a writer. But after the first show, according to Grantland, a decision was made. “Sign him up,” one NBC executive said, and soon people began to forget that it wasn’t called “The Chevy Chase Show” — as his talk show, which failed in 1993 after five weeks, would be — but “Saturday Night Live.” “At one point, NBC put a poster of the cast members up in the lobby outside 8H,” writers Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad said. “Chevy’s picture loomed larger than the rest, and the caption read: ‘Chevy Chase and the Not Ready For Prime Time Players.’ ”

    It went to Chase’s head. “My first impression of Chevy was that he was really good-looking, but kind of mean,” fellow “SNL” cast member Laraine Newman told Entertainment Weekly. “He teased in the way that a big brother would, [aiming for] exactly what would hurt your feelings the most. I say this as someone who loves him. And loves him a lot.” (Two decades later, he so disparaged a female writer in an “SNL” meeting that Will Ferrell wondered if he “took too many back pills that day or something.”)

    “He was also a viciously effective put-down artist, the sort who could find the one thing somebody was sensitive about — a pimple on the nose, perhaps — and then kid about it, mercilessly,” according to Hill and Weingrad. One person who got the treatment was Murray, with whom he famously feuded, telling the future Oscar nominee his face looked like something Neil Armstrong had landed on.

    Chase’s tenure on “Saturday Night Live,” despite his dazed smile on Sunday night, was not a happy one. He reportedly played one agent off another, had a falling out with producer Lorne Michaels and came to believe that he was bigger than the show.

    So when a sketch writer approached Chase to ask why he was leaving, Chase reportedly had one answer. “Money,” he said. “Lots of money.”

    Chase, of course, went on to a successful run in film. He hit the links in “Caddyshack” (1980). He went on “Vacation” (1983). He was “Fletch” (1985). He was one of “The Three Amigos” (1986).

    But while these movies are comedy classics of the late 20th century — quoted by junior-high boys, played ad nauseam on cable — they didn’t take Chase to the next level. Murray, his former rival, is now an American icon, working regularly with big names such as Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch and Wes Anderson. Chase works on the small screen — when he can. In 2012, he walked off the set of his last high-profile gig, “Community.”

    When Chase mentioned a return to the show a few months ago, executives shrugged.

    “At this time, Chevy is not confirmed to appear in Season 6,” a Sony spokesman told Us Weekly.

    Today, Chase is as much the object of jokes as he is the one making them. “You made us laugh so much,” Paul Shaffer said at a notoriously venomous roast of Chase in 2002. “And then inexplicably stopped in about 1978.”


  25. ABC’s Chevy-Chase-Beverly D’Angelo comedy will simply be called Chevy:

    The Vacation stars’ pilot had been previously known as Chev & Bev.


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