Anyone who has ever enjoyed Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live has Chevy Chase to thank for it. The funnyman came up with the segment in 1975, and from that moment a comedy star was born. Chase brought laughs throughout the ’80s with starring roles in Caddyshack, Three Amigos, and the National Lampoon’s Vacation series. While he continued to work in the ’90s and 2000s, his big comeback was from 2009 to 2014 on the NBC sitcom Community.
But where has he been since then? Chevy Chase is no longer a film and TV fixture, and it’s not necessarily by choice. Find out the circumstances surrounding his low profile.
Chevy Chase Had A Running History Of Workplace Allegations
Chase has reportedly always been difficult to work with. In the book Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, former cast member Tim Meadows says, “[Chevy] rubbed some people the wrong way, but when he was here, it was like just watching a car accident over and over against watching him deal with people. Because he didn’t care about what he said. He has no qualm about telling you you’re an idiot, but not just saying it but showing you, you know, treating people really bad and being a real smart-ass.”
When Chase joined the cast of Community, things were tense from the start. He apparently never got along with the show’s creator, Dan Harmon. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, Harmon revealed his thoughts about Chase walking away from the set while filming an episode for the third season.
“The answer I heard from the people on set was that he didn’t think it was funny,” wrote Harmon. “After he realized how upset I was about it, he said things in voicemails like ‘there was no script’ (untrue) and ‘I have a weird relationship with the name Cornelius’ (dumb, he had no dialogue in the tag). The real answer, I believe, is that he wanted to go home because he was tired.”
Co-star Donald Glover also accused Chase of making a racist remark. In a 2018 New Yorker profile, Glover said Chase told him, “People think you’re funnier because you’re black.”
“Chevy was the first to realize how immensely gifted Donald was, and the way he expressed his jealousy was to try to throw Donald off,” said Harmon. “I remember apologizing to Donald after a particularly rough night of Chevy’s non-P.C. verbiage, and Donald said, ‘I don’t even worry about it.'”
It’s a charge that the comedian doesn’t deny. “I could have said it,” Chase said in a 2018 Washington Post profile. But his half-hearted admission was not enough to redeem him at the time. For the next few years, Chase had trouble getting new roles. He blamed a confluence of things: his failed 1993 talk show, his move from Hollywood to suburban New York, and his general age.
He doesn’t seem to believe that his personal reputation was an issue, even though he once left Harmon a raging voicemail that said Community was “just a mediocre f—— sitcom. I want people to laugh, and this isn’t funny.”
Chevy Chase Is Back In Movies Now
In 2016, Chase entered rehab for alcoholism. Treatment failed, but he says that he eventually quit drinking cold turkey on his own accord. Now he’s ready to stage a comeback. In 2020, he co-starred in The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee with Paul Hogan, John Cleese, and Olivia Newton-John. He’s also voiced a role in the animated sci-film Pandas vs. Aliens.
Chase has two upcoming comedies in the works: The Ogilvy Fortune and Federal Offense, the latter of which will stream on Sony’s Crackle. Time will tell if his return will be warmly received by viewers, but it sounds as if Chase will be fine regardless.
“I’ve already done what I’ve done,” Chase told the Washington Post. “I can’t change anything. And I’m old. I don’t have to worry about what I did anymore. I know who I am. People know who I am who know me. And I’m proud to be who I am.”