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Why Chevy Chase Left the SNL Cast

If you love American comedy, you love Chevy Chase. He’s one of the legendary comic actors who has made strides in both American television and cinema.

He made his name as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. On SNL, he played a variety of characters that became part of American popular culture.

His famous ‘Weekend Update’ series is still popular on SNL today – though diehard fans will insist that no actor can replicate what Chevy Chase did.

In fact, it’s safe to say that he made SNL what it was. Many fans will proclaim that the show wasn’t the same without him. Yet, he eventually left SNL.

Many fans thought he did it to focus on his film career. But there’s actually another reason why left SNL that even his die-hard fans didn’t know about.

So why did Chevy Chase leave the cast of SNL?

The first cast of Saturday Night Live included Laraine Newman, John Belushi, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Garrett Morris, and Chevy Chase. While this was a talented cast and many went on to become legends in their own right, no one could match the stardom of Chevy Chase.

Looking back, it’s easy to forget that his time on the show only lasted one year. Chevy Chase is the first to leave SNL and he was shortly replaced.

But why did he leave? After all, as short as one year may seem – he made a huge impact during this time. He played some of the show’s most memorable characters and also wrote many of the sketches.

In fact, he had actually signed a writer’s contract that only lasted one year. This was an alternative to a performer’s contract that would have required him to work on the show for much longer.

Naturally, when he left SNL it came to a shock to audiences. His career certainly didn’t come to an end, of course. It was after he left SNL that he started acting in what would become some of America’s most popular comedy films.

But was it because of a film career that Chevy Chase left SNL? What was the actual reason?

Before we tell you more about Chevy Chase and why he left SNL, please like this video and subscribe to our channel for more current news and interesting stories. Now, back to the video…

Many male entertainers get into show business to impress women. In other words, they do it to “get the girl.” Yet, Chevy Chase left SNL for a girl.

It wasn’t until the release of his 2007 biography that we learned the truth of why Chevy Chase left SNL. He was in love with a girl who refused to move out of California.

The girl was none other than aspiring actress Jacqueline Carlin. They married in 1976 and remained married for four years after their divorce. Though their marriage didn’t last more than 4 years, it seemed as if Chevy Chase couldn’t return to SNL.

He focused on his film career and made occasional television appearances. Bill Murray had replaced Chevy Chase on SNL. The two actors had appeared in the hit 80’s comedy Caddyshack. They got along well though Chevy Chase did feel tense when he hosted an episode of SNL in 1978.

He felt that there had been resentment toward him for leaving the show so early. In fact, he recalls that he feels the atmosphere on set is toxic. Later on, Bill Murray had apparently told Chevy Chase that everyone on the show no longer liked him.

Needless to say, Chevy felt that he was a persona non grata on SNL. This was the first of the many backlashes he’d experience in his career.

So, what happened to Chevy Chase after he left SNL? The good news is that he didn’t slow down. His film career soared, as a matter of fact.

He entertained audiences as Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon “Vacation” series. He also made us laugh while solving crimes in the Fletch films. Caddyshack was a major hit as was Three Amigos.

By the late 1980s, he was a major celebrity and was loved by audiences across the country. In the 1990s and 2000s he continued to work, though many of his films ended up being major flops. These included films such as Nothing But Trouble, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, and Cops & Robbersons.

Nevertheless, his career in the 1970s and 1980s was enough to sustain his legacy. For many in the entertainment industry, he was a legend whom everyone dreamt of working with.

It was because of this aura around Chevy Chase that he continued to get work, despite not replicating his work in the 90s and early 2000s. But in 2009, he introduced himself to a younger generation of comedy fans.

He was cast as Pierce Hawthorne in the NBC sitcom Community. He played the character for 4 seasons and became a favorite on the show. Community became a hit sitcom and eventually developed a cult following.

Though Chevy Chase had disagreements with creator Dan Harmon and left after the fourth season, he remains one of the best reasons for watching Community.

So, it sounds all great for Chevy Chase, yet there were still major challenges in his life – particularly in recent years.

While Community was a hit and he still has a great fanbase, there’s another group who scornfully looks at him as one of Hollywood’s “has-beens.” Audiences clearly didn’t respond to many of his films in the 1990s and 2000s.

He also had a flop with his short-lived talk show called The Chevy Chase Show. It seemed as if the ‘Chevy Chase’ brand didn’t have the same power it once did.

The fact that he has left projects in his career has also left a bad taste for many producers and directors. There still seems to be some disdain for him because he left SNL after one season and Community after 4 seasons.

While the early National Lampoon Vacation films were successful, it seemed as if audiences got bored when Vegas Vacation was released. There also wasn’t much love for Fletch Lives or Caddyshack 2.

Age also seems to have affected his career. His roles worked well for a young and middle-aged man. But apart from Pierce Hawthorne, there aren’t many roles that seem suited for Chevy Chase – who is now in his 70s! This is a common problem that many actors and actresses have to deal with as they approach their golden years.

In the age of media hysteria, there’s also numerous accounts that Chevy Chase has been hard to work with over the years.

Many former cast members have felt that Chevy Chase was difficult to work with. They also felt that sometimes his jokes would be too mean-spirited. In fact, during his time on Community he would sometimes leave voicemails for creator Dan Harmon.

These voicemails included some…shall we say, ‘colorful’ language that Harmon clearly didn’t appreciate. These voicemails eventually became public and led to a public backlash to Chevy Chase.

He’s also criticized the recent episodes of SNL. He feels that the show has lost its humor and that it’s no longer a great show. While he received a lot of backlash for these comments, this is also a feeling that many people feel – though not everyone will be as vocal as he is!

He’s also been a bit upset at his career in recent years. He feels that he doesn’t receive a lot of work because the entertainment industry is ageist. He feels that because of his age, he’s not receiving many great offers in either film or television.

But he turned things around in 2019 when he got the lead role in the film The Last Laugh alongside Richard Dreyfuss. This film told the story of a former stand-up comedian who decides to go on one last tour.

While the film had mixed reviews, many fans and critics alike where happy to see Chevy Chase play a great role in a feature film. It’s clear to see that no matter how many flops he’s had and how much backlash he’s received, he still has a loyal legion of fans.

There’s also a few more films that he’ll be starring in that should be released later in 2021. While his detractors may not care about such films, his fans are eager to see him back at the top of his game in these films.

Like any other entertainer, Chevy Chase has had a life and career full of ups and downs. He dominated television and film in the 1970s and 1980s. He continued to work in later years but didn’t win over audiences until his comeback work in Community.

We don’t hear much from Chevy Chase these days and it might be due to his remarks and the news about his past experiences on film and TV sets. For many, this stigma will stick with Chevy Chase. This stigma makes many audiences not want to watch anything with Chevy Chase.

This stigma will also detract many producers, directors, and performers from working with him. As he approaches his 80s, one wonders what the future has in store for his career.

But for his fans, there’ll always be a place for Chevy Chase. Regardless of the stigma that some have of him, no one can deny that he has a place solidified in American entertainment.

In other words, he remains a living legend…

Are you a fan of Chevy Chase’s work? Do you think that in recent years he’s lost his popularity and that his fame will fade away? Or is he a legend that we’ll always love and cherish?

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

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