Chevy Chase was the first breakout star to be born on Saturday Night Live. Despite his swift rise in Hollywood, he always regretted leaving after just a year and a half of the program. “I’d do it again in a minute,” he said in a newly published The Washington Post profile. He probably wouldn’t do it with the current cast, though, as he had some exceedingly harsh words for the modern SNL in the very same interview.
Speaking with the Post’s Geoff Edgers, Chase offered up some words about SNL “off the record” — despite the fact that a microphone and recorder were sitting right in front of him. “First of all, between you and me and a lamppost, jeez, I don’t want to put down Lorne or the cast, but I’ll just say, maybe off the record, I’m amazed that Lorne has gone so low,” he said into the aforementioned microphone. “I had to watch a little of it, and I just couldn’t f—— believe it.”
When Edgers pointed out that the current SNL cast is actually very popular with millions of viewers, Chase replied “That means a whole generation of shitheads laughs at the worst fucking humor in the world… How could you dare give that generation worse shit than they already have in their lives? It just drives me nuts.”
In Chase’s mind SNL hasn’t been the same since those first two landmark seasons. “Why am I saying that? Because I was in it? I guess. That’s a horrible thing to say,” he said anyway. “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.”
He had further unflattering appraisals for some of the show’s recent stars, including Will Ferrell (“Just not funny”) and Tina Fey (“I didn’t see what all the folderol was about. She was good”). Keeping in mind that this is the same interview where he tried to explain away racist comments he made to Donald Glover on the set of Community as “jokes,” Chase had this to say of Eddie Murphy:
“I thought Eddie Murphy was funny. Gumby. I found that funny and people loved that. . . . Stevie Wonder, he did well. [Pause.] It’s not that hard, for Christ’s sake. Your skin’s the same color. You just put on some sunglasses and do this.”
Elsewhere, he talked about bumping into Glover backstage during last year’s SNL season finale. Recalling the incident — again, just sentences away from downplaying his racial insensitivity — Chase said, “I never saw a guy turn white so fast.”
The whole Wash Post piece is a fascinating look at Chase’s career, poor reputation, and hopes for a third resurgence now that he’s sober. Read the whole thing at The Washington Post.
Saturday Night Live returns for its 44th season on September 29th. Kanye West will be making his seventh appearance on the show as musical guest, while Adam Driver will serve as host.