Actor Bill Murray once told authors Tom Shales and James Miller when he was interviewed for their book of Saturday Night Live history and trivia, Live From New York, that whenever someone first becomes famous, that inevitably they turn into a major asshole for a year or so. The Life Aquatic actor went on to explain that it’s something that inevitably happens to everybody whether they like it or not. And that they have about two years to pull it together before it becomes permanent.
While his wording might come across as pretty vague, who he was really talking about was comedian and actor Chevy Chase. His one-time opponent in an infamous backstage fistfight. While the two seem to be on good terms these days, it seems as if Murray wanted to imply that his fellow comic had successfully ‘pulled himself together’ after his meteoric rise to fame.
But if you ask pretty much anybody else that’s ever dealt with Chase firsthand, they’ll probably tell you that his reputation of being a Grade-A jerk is completely warranted.
Chase has a long and rocky history of being a jerk, and the number of stories detailing his transgressions against his fellow cast and crew members are too numerous to count.
Looking back on his prolific life in the limelight, the fact that his career basically ran out of steams in the 90s might be a bit surprising, at least on the surface. But the sheer number of stories from the TV and films sets on which he worked make a pretty case for why Hollywood eventually grew tired of his antics.
Join us as we dissect the many reasons why Chevy Chase has developed such a bad reputation in show business and who some of his biggest enemies are, and why.
Ticking Off The Entire Season One Saturday Night Live Cast
While he’s a cast member on SNL, Chevy Chase known to be a ‘viciously effective put-down artist’ that capable of finding that one thing that someone was insecure about. Be it a pimple, birth defect, or minor imperfection. And then proceed to destroy them with that knowledge.
During staff meetings, he would often smirk at the show’s writer’s suggestions while telling them that he didn’t think their ideas were very good at all. As SNL began to take off, so did Chase’s career. And his fellow castmates and crewmen started to accuse him of not giving them enough credit in interviews.
At the time, he was reportedly doing a lot of cocaine and spent a lot of his time bragging about how famous he was while bossing people around on set.
Real quick, if your enjoying this video so far, be sure to give it a like and subscribe to Facts Verse. And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to learn why Dan Harmon, the creator of the hit sitcom Community, and Donald Glover. One of the show’s cast members, can’t stand Chevy Chase.
While Lorne and Chevy were at one time very close friends. All of that changed when Chase, without giving any warning, suddenly decided to leave the show when his contract ran up and instead did several primetime specials for NBC. When he made this move, he effectively severed his relationship with his manager Bernie Brillstein who also managed Michaels. After making that break, he signed with William Morris.
One of the SNL writers discussing how Chase made his departure from the show described him as a ‘scumbag’. And recalled how he was ‘deceitful and dishonest’ about the whole ordeal. When Tom Davis, one of SNL’s staff writers, asked Chevy why he was leaving. He replied by saying that it was all about the money – lots of money.
Chevy Chase once dispelled rumors that he was in the running to replace Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show by telling New York magazine that he would never find himself ‘tied down’ for half a decade interviewing TV personalities.
Johnny Carson bit back at Chase’s vitriolic comment by saying that Chevy ‘couldn’t ad-lib a fart’ following a baked bean dinner.
While it’s interesting to think what the Tonight Show might have been like with Chevy Chase at its helm, in reality, he never considered for the late-night talk show’s host position.
We mentioned at the start of this video that Chevy Chase once got into a fistfight with Bill Murray. Well, we imagine that probably sparked your curiosity a bit. So we might as well give you the rundown on that incident just so you don’t feel the need to click off this video and go Google searching.
Having had worked with each other on National Lampoon a few years back. Bill Murray and Chevy Chase had already been at odds with each other for a while already. Before tensions came to a head in 1978 after Chase. Who had left the show back in February on less-than-excellent terms returned to the show later that year as a guest host.
Some of the show’s cast members not exactly thrilled to see Chase back in the spotlight – Murray included. Murray had brought onto Saturday Night Live to replace Chase. And he felt the need to address the situation head-on.
Murray told Chase that everyone hated him. And Chase snapped back by saying that Murray’s face so filled with pockmarks that it looked like the ideal landing spot for Neil Armstrong to land on. Murray then made an off-handed remark about Chase’s sex with his wife at the time, Jacqueline Carlin. And that’s when things got real ugly.
Before the show set to air, Chevy Chase paid a visit to Murray in John Belushi’s dressing room and challenged him to a good old fashioned fight. That’s when Murray reportedly lunged at Chase, and Belushi leaped between them to try and stop the scuffle. Belushi ended up receiving the brunt of the blows as the two men’s fists were furiously flying.
Immediately after the fight broken up, Chase took the stage and delivered his monologue to the gleeful yet totally oblivious audience. Chase later claimed that he’s not disturbed by the fight. Although some of his former castmates reported that after the fight. He displayed a clearly different demeanor than his normal cocky attitude.
Robert Downey Jr.
In 1985, Chase called back to host SNL once again. And in the process, he successfully managed to make enemies with just about everyone. At one point, he made fun of Robert Downey Jr.’s dad by asking whatever happened to him before going on to callously poke fun of the fact that he had died. Chase then remarked that he probably went to hell. Obviously, Robert Downey Jr. not very amused.
Terry’s Saturday Night Live’s first openly gay cast member. Chase apparently hated the guy too. At one point, he literally suggested that the show should do a sketch where they weighed him each week to see if he had contracted HIV.
Sweeney justifiably angered by the remark. But Chase ended up having to do some groveling to make up for his offensive suggestion. The big-wigs at the network made Chevy come to Sweeney’s office and apologize for the comment. According to Sweeney, Chase infuriated that he had to apologize and admit that he’s wrong.
In 1992, Chase was recorded without his knowledge while disparaging Howard Tern in between commercial breaks while he was a guest on Larry King’s talk show. After Stern got his hands on the tape, he played it live on the air before calling up Chase. Chevy then told Stern to never call him again.
Several years later, Stern and Richard Belzer infuriated Chase once again by calling him several times at 5 am.
Chase and Stern eventually ended up making up, and Chase was even invited to Howard’s wedding. But once there, he reportedly gave a ridiculously inappropriate toast that only intensified Stern’s hatred of him.
In 1997, Kevin Smith met up with Chevy Chase to discuss the possible reboot of the Fletch series. According to Smith, however, the meeting was an utter disaster. While the two stars sat down for a bite to eat. Chevy apparently went on to claim that he had invented every funny thing that had ever happened throughout history. And not just comedy but in the entire known universe.
Smith was heavily annoyed by Chase’s arrogance and canceled his tentative plans to work with him in the future. Chase, however, later accused Smith of lying to him.
Comedian Rob Huebel has described himself as the biggest Chevy Chase fan in the world. But when he got a chance to meet his idol backstage at UCB Theater and attempted to introduce himself. Chevy Chase slapped him across the face in a way that Huebel describes as ‘offensively hard’.
While Chase only did what he did jokingly ‘in good humor’ as he told New York magazine. It was still pretty shocking. Huebel, however, says that he didn’t take any offense by the slap. But it still made an unforgettable impression on him.
As the creator of the show Community, Dan Harmon is reportedly a bit of a jerk himself. From the very beginning of the show, he had been involved in a strangely public field with Chase. It’s actually not that difficult to see the parallels between Chevy and his character Pierce Hawthorne. Just like Chase actually is in real life, Hawthorne is depicted as an old, crotchety, out-of-touch, self-aggrandizing. Bigoted asshole who alienates pretty much everyone around him.
Harmon and Chase’s feud came to a head when Harmon insulted Chevy at a party in front of his wife and daughter and leaked a ridiculous obscene yet laughable voicemail that Chevy had left for him.
While Harmon eventually apologized for his remarks, Chase ended up leaving the show after season four.
Glover played Troy Barnes on Community for five seasons. According to him, Chevy Chase would often make racist jokes between takes and intentionally tried to sabotage his scenes. He reportedly once even told Glover that the only reason why people think he’s funny is because he’s black.
According to Dan Harmon, Chevy Chase was merely acting out of jealously because he knew how immensely talented Glover really was.
Glover later told The New Yorker that he felt like Chase was essentially just a legend who refused to admit that he was past his prime. While Chase’s remarks were certainly unwarranted, Glover didn’t ever seem to let them get him down. In his eyes, Chase was basically just thrashing about unsuccessfully trying to fight time. But deep down inside, he was just a scared little boy afraid of the uncertainty of the future.
You know, Andre Gide once said that it’s better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. But he probably didn’t have Chevy Chase in mind when he penned those famous words.
Chase has no shortage of enemies, and while his cocksure, arrogant, and abrasive persona might have worked in his favor at one point. Now it seems like it has only led to his career options drying up.
Think about it. When’s the last time you saw Chevy Chase in anything new? You can be sure that if he was a bit more pleasant to work with. He’d still be considered for better roles. But instead, he’s left starring in lackluster features like 2015s Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and 2020s The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee.
But what do you think? Would Chevy Chase’s career still be going strong if he wasn’t such a jerk. Or do you think that people are overreacting a bit to his often off-putting shenanigans? Let us know in the comments section below.
And if you’ve enjoyed watching this video, show us a little support by giving it a like and by subscribing to Facts Verse. Tap the bell to turn on notifications. That way, you can keep up with all of our latest and upcoming videos without missing a beat.
And as always, thanks for watching! We’ll see you soon with more Hollywood-related news, stories, and scandals.