‘SNL’: The Backstage Brawl Between Cast Members Chevy Chase and Bill Murray
Bill Murray and Chevy Chase didn’t get along too well behind the scenes of Saturday Night Live. While the 2 comedians were able to make it work on Caddyshack, Chase and Murray got into a physical fight backstage at SNL.
Chevy Chase’s short-lived journey as an ‘SNL’ cast member
According to Biography, Chase took on the role as the “standout performer” of SNL Season 1. But with the actor’s “prickly personality,” his comedy could often read as “mean-spirited.” Plus, considering Chase got the most attention from the press, his Saturday Night Live peers worried that the “rush of fame was going to his head.”
After that initial 1975 season, the SNL star “negotiated his way out of Saturday Night altogether.”
Chase, the publication continued, didn’t leave on great terms with the sketch series. He “… returned for a couple of shows in the fall before vanishing for the promise of prime-time specials and the greener pastures of Hollywood.”
In 1978, Michaels invited Chase back to SNL as a celebrity host. As Biography noted on the comedian’s return:
According to Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, the actor quickly realized that he had stepped into an environment that was ‘poisoned’ against him. He did little to rebuild any goodwill, bossing people around and attempting to wrest back his old ‘Weekend Update’ segment from its current host, Jane Curtin. Meanwhile, drug use in the studio was rampant, with Chase admitting he overdid things out of the misery he was enduring.
Bill Murray and Chevy Chase got in a fight when the ‘Weekend Update’ alum hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’
By the time Chase returned to host SNL, Murray was a cast member on the show. The 2 comedians knew each other from when “they worked at National Lampoon together a few years earlier.”
However, there was some resentment brewing between Murray and Chase — that both were eager to hash out.
At one point, Murray told Chase that “everyone hated him.”
“This ignited a shouting match, with the tension continuing through dress rehearsal,” Biography explained. But the SNL star wasn’t done. Murray also poked fun at Chase’s relationship issues with then-wife Jacqueline Carlin.
“Go f*ck your wife, she needs it,” Murray apparently told Chase. Chase shot back “that Murray’s pock-marked face looked like a landing spot for Neil Armstrong.”
Once again, the Saturday Night Live players’ feud had yet to come to an end.
Right before that week’s show was about to start, “Chase confronted Murray in Belushi’s dressing room and challenged him to a fight.” That’s when things got physical.
“Murray lunged and Belushi leaped between the two larger men, drawing most of the punishment as the fists were flying,” Biography reported.
Only moments later, Chase had to open the SNL episode with his monologue.
“He later claimed he wasn’t rattled by the fight,” Biography noted, “though his ex-castmates reportedly noticed a clear difference in his normally cocksure demeanor.”
Happily, Chase and Murray have since buried the hatchet, and are on good terms.