‘Community’ Alum Chevy Chase Reportedly Made a Predatory Comment to Female ‘SNL’ Writer
Chevy Chase may be an iconic comedian, but in recent years, his legacy has been tarnished by a slew of controversies. Chase, who rose to fame on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, is also the star of several well-known films and enjoyed a career resurgence in 2009 when he starred on the cult-classic series Community. However, in spite of Chase’s popularity with movie-goers, a number of stories have surfaced over the years that claim Chase is not only difficult to work with but outright mean and condescending at times.
How did Chevy Chase become famous?
Chase was born in New York in 1943. He was raised in an affluent family and attended many of the best schools on the East Coast.
Chase had a propensity for music as well as for the performing arts, and in 1967 he co-founded the comedy troupe Channel One. Throughout the late ’60s and into the early ’70s, Chase performed sketch comedy and stand-up routines, ultimately crossing paths with fellow comedy trailblazers like John Belushi and Gilda Radner.
In 1975, Chase became one of the original cast members of the newly launched sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live. Chase quickly became popular, developing a reputation for doing spot-on impressions and performing flawless physical comedy routines.
His popularity only increased once he began the anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment on the show. Chase decided to leave the show at the height of his fame in order to pursue a career in movies. He appeared in films such as National Lampoon’s Vacation and Fletch, cementing his status as one of the most bankable stars of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Chevy Chase’s controversies over the years
Even though Chase made a name for himself in his films as a bumbling, affable everyman, his reputation behind the scenes grew worse.
For years, rumors swirled that Chase was incredibly difficult to work with — rumors that were cemented through remarks by SNL writers and stars. Bill Murray, who also became famous on the comedy series, had a tense relationship with Chase, with some reports claiming that Murray and Chase even got into physical altercations.
When Chase began starring on Community in 2009, reports surfaced that claimed the veteran comedian was disrespectful to some of his co-stars — including the up-and-coming young performer Donald Glover. As series creator Dan Harmon later revealed: “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.”
What remark did Chevy Chase allegedly make to a female ‘SNL’ writer?
These days, Chase remains mostly behind the scenes, making few television or film appearances. Still, stories continue to swirl regarding how he was to work with during his days on Saturday Night Live.
Jane Curtin, who worked as a comedian and writer on SNL in the ’70s, recalled that when Chase returned to host the show, Curtin was the one doing “Weekend Update.” Chase claimed that he should be the one to host the segment. Curtin admitted: “Chevy proceeded to say that he should be doing ‘Update’ that week, and I said okay, and then he went through this whole thing about how his fans wanted to see him.”
Will Ferrell, one of the biggest stars ever to rise from the show, recalled an incident when Chase hosted SNL in 1997: “I don’t know if he was on something, but he was just kind of going around the room and systematically riffing. First it was on the guys, playfully making fun, until, when he got to one of our female writers, he made some reference like, ‘Maybe you can give me a hand job later.’ In hindsight, I wish we’d all gotten up and walked out of the room.”
[Correction: An earlier version said Chase was born in Maryland.]