About a month ago, 77-year-old Chevy Chase returned to his home after being holed up in a hospital for five weeks due to undisclosed issues with his heart. He is recuperating, and this week, he also joined Rob Lowe on his Literally! podcast for no other reason other than to chat about his career. In a long-ranging interview, Chase was amiable but scattered, often jumping randomly from topic to topic.
Chase did more or less confirm that the original SNL cast hated him after he left the show after the first season. He said he’d only been hired originally as the head writer because Lorne Michaels did not think he could act. Chase then helped convince a reluctant John Belushi to join the cast, but once he did, Belushi was “extremely pissed and jealous of me because I became the first star” of SNL.
In an interview a number of years ago, Bill Murray — who reportedly once referred to Chase as “a medium talent” — also admitted that he and Chase nearly came to blows when Chase returned to the show to host for the first time. “It was really a Hollywood fight,” Murray told Empire Magazine in 2012. “It was an Oedipal thing, a rupture. Because we all felt mad he had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone. But Chevy and I are friends now. It’s all fine.”
Chase confirmed as much, saying that he and Murray occasionally golf, though Murray is very good at it. “Pretty much every time we play, as I’m approaching the second hole, he’d be sitting all the way up at the ninth hole waiting for me. That’s how good he was. But I wanted to play. I think I’d shoot about 180.”
Chase further revealed that he was supposed to be a main cast member along with Bill Murray on Ghostbusters. “but they got another guy because I was busy. I couldn’t f*cking believe it.”
He also remains friends with frequent SNL host Steve Martin, for whom he had a backhanded compliment. “Steven Martin is one of the funniest guys conceptually in the world. He’s not out there as much as I project, so he’s not that good. But he’s a great friend.”
Chase is also friends with Paul McCartney. Bizarrely, Chase also mentioned that “I knew John [Lennon], too,” before awkwardly adding, “but somebody shot him.” He said that Lennon was “cheeky, but not snarky,” and that the two of them used to eat in the same place in the Central Park, but that other “people were very frightened of him. No one would ask him for his autograph, because he was John Lennon. If you smelled him, that was good enough. I was famous in this country already, so he knew who I was.”
Chase doesn’t appear to be friends, however, with Paul Simon, with whom Chase collaborated on Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” music video, which is not about Al Franken. “You think [Paul Simon] gives a sh*t about who [Al Franken] is?” Chase asked Lowe. “Paul Simon is right up there with the Beatles. He’s been there forever with Simon and Schuster, er, Simon and Garfunkel.” Chase said that it was Lorne Michaels’s idea that Chase be in Simon’s video. “I adored him,” Chase said, “and I gave him all I could, but I haven’t heard from him in f**king years.”
Before Lowe ended the video, Chase also conceded that there was a lot of drugs on the set of Caddyshack, but that drug use in Hollywood slowed considerably soon thereafter “because of views on behavior and religion [in the ’80s] were effective … that was because of that goddamn Reagan and their people … I’m glad because I probably would have taken it to my grave.”
Source: Literally! with Robe Lowe