Those of a certain age clearly recall then unknown comedy writer Chevy Chase rocketing to stardom during the first season of Saturday Night Live (SNL). He became the breakout star of the show, and left after the first season to take on a career in movies. His big acts were serving as lone anchorman of LateNight News with his catch phrase “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not”, and his bumbling parody of Gerald Ford.
Many accounts since his departure, including several in Tom Shales SNL oral history, describe Mr. Chase as many things, none of them nice. The validity of these descriptions was born out in his recent comments.
Chase was quoted as saying “he does not enjoy the renewed attention the ex-president’s death brought him.” Apparently, this is more than am mild sore spot for old Chevy, whom Ford once described as “a very funny suburb”:
Chase, who has starred in many Hollywood film comedies and written for television shows, said he gets upset when people say that Ford “made” his career.
“The man who ‘made my career’ did not do ‘Fletch,’ did not do ‘Caddyshack,’ did not write for the ‘Smothers Brothers’ before he wrote for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ did not write for 12 years before that and win Writers Guild awards.
“It’s that kind of thing that comes out in the press that perpetuates myths about me that are disgusting, that hurt my feelings, that hurt my family’s feelings.”
“He did not make my career,” said Chase, who spoke to Reuters twice this week by telephone. “If anything, I took his career and put it in the dumper because I did not want him to be president of this country, that’s the way it really should be written.”
I am not sure how asking this question can hurt his feelings when it was the Ford skits that helped Chase start a successful movie career…unless it impedes on Chase’s feeling that he is God’s Gift to entertainment.
You read stuff like this about Chevy Chase, and he fades from the funnyman of my youth to a picture of narcisism so distinct and pungent that one might think his recent stint on “Law and Order” was less acting and more typecasting.