In a lengthy, candid (read: pretty nasty) interview posted today by the Washington Post, SNL‘s first break-out star has some harsh words for his old TV home. “First of all, between you and me and a lamppost, jeez, I don’t want to put down Lorne or the cast,” Chase says, “but I’ll just say, maybe off the record, I’m amazed that Lorne has gone so low. I had to watch a little of it, and I just couldn’t f*cking believe it. That means a whole generation of sh*theads laughs at the worst f*cking humor in the world.”
He continues, “How could you dare give that generation worse sh*t than they already have in their lives? It just drives me nuts.”
The WaPo article is headlined “Chevy Chase Can’t Change” (subhead: “The 74-Year-Old Comedy Star Is Sober And Ready To Work. The Problem Is Nobody Wants To Work With Him.”
SNL, which earlier this week won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series, has been going “downhill” since Chase left in 1977, if Chase says so himself. “Why am I saying that?,” Chase asks. “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.”
Chase gets specific, too.
Will Ferrell: “Just not funny.”
Tina Fey: “I didn’t see what all the folderol was about.”
Kristen Wiig: “She had two things going for her. She had clear-cut chops, and she was pretty, too. But what happened to her? Where did she go?”
Eddie Murphy: “I thought Eddie Murphy was funny. Gumby. I found that funny and people loved that. . . . Stevie Wonder, he did well. It’s not that hard, for Christ’s sake. Your skin’s the same color. You just put on some sunglasses and do this.”
Chase isn’t entirely dismissive, though, praising his old Not Ready For Primetime Players co-horts Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd (“funniest guy on the show”), as well as Dana Carvey.
The Post article also covers Chase’s combative relationship with former Community co-star Donald Glover. In a 2015 New Yorker article, Glover said that Chase had once told him, “People think you’re funnier because you’re black.”
Glover said at the time, “I just saw Chevy as fighting time. A true artist has to be okay with his reign being over. I can’t help him if he’s thrashing in the water. But I know there’s a human in there somewhere.”
Chase, according to WaPo, realized immediately that the New Yorker article was devastating (“There goes my career,” he texted when he read it).
The Caddyshack star has been on an SNL roll lately, having griped on Netflix’s Norm Macdonald Has A Show about the cast’s continued use of the line he originated – “Live from New York, it’s Saturday night!”
“I mean it just gets so bad,” Chase told Macdonald. “It seems like some guys are out there just to be the guy who says, ‘Live from New York,’ and then does it poorly. Anyway, that’s not nice of me to say, but f*ck ’em.”