Writing a sympathetic, emotionally vulnerable celebrity profile of Chevy Chase is probably a lot like making a hot dog without stuffing the thing full of pig anuses: You can do it, sure, but you’re going to have to leave all the good stuff out.
Nothing makes that clearer than a piece The Washington Post ran today, which attempted to give a fair shake to the former Saturday Night Live and Community star, one that strains to answer the question “Why don’t people hire Chevy Chase anymore?” with a more complex answer than “Because Chevy Chase is a fucking asshole.”
As it turns out, though, that is not an easy thing to do, because Chevy Chase—even the sober, slim Chevy portrayed in the article—quickly proves himself utterly incapable of filtering. And so you get little asides like this, which he produced when asked what he thinks of modern SNL:
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. I had to watch a little of it, and I just couldn’t fucking believe it. That means a whole generation of shitheads laughs at the worst fucking humor in the world. You know what I mean? How could you dare give that generation worse shit than they already have in their lives? It just drives me nuts.
This part, in case you were wondering, comes both before and after repeated moments when Chase expresses his deep disappointment at the idea that Lorne Michaels won’t let him host the show anymore. (He last hosted in 1997, an incident that caused Will Ferrell to dub him the show’s worst host ever.) (Chase also talks shit here about Ferrell, because duh.)
But while the Post goes out of its way to pitch this latest profile as a corrective to past Chase pieces that focused on his frequent, loudmouthed outbursts—talking to his friends, emphasizing his new, slimmed down physique, and citing a 2007 biography in which his mother’s abuse of him was emphasized—at the end of the day, it can’t take away from his inherent Chevy-ness. Out of all the people disinterested in the sales pitch for a vulnerable, more sympathetic Chevy Chase, Chase himself might be the most aggressively apathetic: He waves off the biography, suggests he gave up booze largely on a whim, and comes off as utterly unapologetic for a lifetime of saying every shitty thing that’s ever popped into his head.