Chevy Chase is one of those iconic actors who had their hay day in the eighties, but since then, has seen a huge change in the way the public perceives them.
While he was beloved for his Saturday Night Live classics and of course his time as the patriarch of the Griswald family, the actor no longer has the same clout that he used to.
He had a brief attempt at a comeback, but if anything, he ended up making everything worse. But now he has spoken with The Washington Post about his career and his controversies, and it really does give you a better idea of who he really is.
He was really quick to jump in with his thoughts on SNL, and oh boy, they aren't positive.
“First of all, between you and me and a lamppost, jeez, I don’t want to put down Lorne or the cast, but I’ll just say, maybe off the record, I’m amazed that Lorne has gone so low," Chase said. "I had to watch a little of it, and I just couldn’t f------ believe it.”
The interviewer was quick to point out that millions of people still love the show, but Chase was even more mad about that. “That means a whole generation of sh**heads laughs at the worst f***ing humor in the world. You know what I mean? How could you dare give that generation worse sh*t than they already have in their lives? It just drives me nuts.”
He even stated that his opinion of the show changed as soon as he left it.
“I’d have to say, that after the first two years, [SNL] went downhill,” Chase said. “Why am I saying that? Because I was in it? I guess. That’s a horrible thing to say. But certainly I never had more fun. I really loved it and enjoyed it. I didn’t see the same fun thing happening to the cast the next year.”
While he may have been the first breakout star of the iconic show, the actor hasn't been able to get much work in recent years. But that doesn't mean he wishes he could have a do-over of his life.
“I’ve already done what I’ve done. 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. Because I care about people, I care about feelings. I care about warmth, love. It’s everything.”
He even was ready to dish on other actors who were cast members on SNL, and he really didn't hold back.
He wasn't a fan of Will Ferrell, saying,"Just not funny. Makes $25 million a picture.” As for one of the favorites, Tina Fey, Chase's words were a little bit less harsh, “I liked Tina. I didn’t see what all the folderol was about. She was good.”
He also had nice things to say about Kristen Wiig, saying she "had clear-cut chops," but then added "what happened to her?" even though she has been consistently acting since she left the show.
Chase's thoughts on another SNL icon were however a little bit more controversial. When asked about Eddie Murphy, he answered, "I thought Eddie Murphy was funny. Gumby. I found that funny and people loved that. . . . Stevie Wonder, he did well. [Pause.] It’s not that hard, for Christ’s sake. Your skin’s the same color. You just put on some sunglasses and do this."
But it's not just his opinions of the cast that have gotten him into trouble. Chase has earned himself a reputation as one of the most hated comedians.
However there are a few people on his side, including his wife of 36 years, Jayni Chase, who mentions that a lot of his issues stem from his abusive childhood.
“Chevy is an abused kid,” she said. “One of the things that most of us have is, we know that our moms loved us, and some of us are lucky enough to be able to say that our fathers also loved us... there’s layers of lucky and grateful, and things that give you a good start in life, and a foundation and self-confidence, and give you a capacity to live without fear. And Chevy doesn’t have those things.”
Even Chase admits that while he talks a big game, he does take other people's comments to heart. “I guess the part they don’t write about is where I’m lying in bed, hurt by that, not going to sleep but thinking over and over, why would somebody write that? I’m highly sensitive. I don’t know it in my insensitive self.”
He holds a lot of resentment for his former SNL boss Lorne Michaels, especially because he asked if he could come host and was turned down.
“He said no,” Chase revealed, then explaining how he remembered the conversation. "‘Come on, Lorne.’ ‘No.’ ‘Why?’ ‘You’re too old.’ I said, ‘And Helen Mirren’s pretty and young?’ I didn’t get it. You’re too old? We’d had many people older than me hosting. What did he mean? I’ve never understood what he meant. Because I’d be very good, and it would be fun for an audience to see me doing that.”
He felt cheated. “It’s like denying that I was the guy who made this show really go that first year,” Chase said. “It’s like taking all that away from me.”
Michaels has a different memory of that day though, and in a phone interview explained that this conversation happened moments before Chase was supposed to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding.
“They were literally waiting for him to walk Cydney down the aisle. And he said, ‘I’m ready to host again.’ All I was saying was, we have to stop this discussion now. You’re old and annoying. This is a big moment in your life. I’m here for you. Danny [Aykroyd] is performing the ceremony. We’re your friends; we’re here. You’re walking your daughter down the aisle.'”
Michaels also theorized that the reason that Chase's humor isn't working anymore is due to his age. “Chevy does shock stuff, which is maybe more forgivable in a 25-year-old or 30-year-old than in a 50-year-old or 60-year-old."
Whether or not you still enjoy his comedy, the fact of the matter is that he helped to establish one of the most successful comedy shows of all time.
He did get his time back in the spotlight though, as the original SNL cast was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and Chase himself revealed how much that time in his life meant to him.
“I can’t tell you, to be up there, on that stage, doing that stuff,” he said. “Oh, God, it was fun. I’ll tell you, I’d do it again in a minute.”
Source - The Washington Post