When Chevy Chase stepped on stage at the SNL 40th Anniversary special, it seemed like one more missed opportunity for the SNL folks. There was a rash of underused talent, leaving a handful of people to carry the whole show.
But the SNL special gave people an opportunity to reflect on where some of these great SNL stars have been since they left the show. Bill Murray is riding a high wave of success. He and Chevy Chase were once rivals. But Chevy was supposed to be SNL‘s Golden Boy.
He was Chevy Chase, and you’re not. So, why is Chevy Chase not bigger than he is now? Some are saying it is because Chevy Chase is not a very likable person.
“The ugly truth is that a lot of people don’t love Chevy Chase,” Entertainment Weekly reported. “They don’t even like him. … This isn’t really surprising, because apparently the man possesses a truly spectacular talent for pissing people off.”
Bill Murray himself added to the diagnosis, saying of Chevy Chase, “When you become famous, you’ve got like a year or two where you act like a real a–hole. You can’t help yourself. It happens to everybody. You’ve got like two years to pull it together — or it’s permanent.”
Apparently Chevy Chase is a pro at delivering a stinging putdown. This does not always go over well, even in the early days.
“My first impression of Chevy was that he was really good-looking, but kind of mean,” Laraine Newman once said. “He teased in the way that a big brother would, [aiming for] exactly what would hurt your feelings the most. I say this as someone who loves him. And loves him a lot.”
What does Chevy Chase himself say about all this?
“In this business you can come and go in a second. I could be flushed out tomorrow with a big smile and a handshake,” he once acknowledged.
Later he admitted, “Nobody prepares you for what happens when you get famous, and I didn’t handle it well. I was young, new, hot star and I had this unbelievable arrogance. As time went on, the strident narcissism and arrogance slowly diminished. But I was definitely there. I’m older now. And a big crybaby.”