Chevy Chase did not mince words when he described his feelings on the current state of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which is readying for its 44th season.
“I don’t want to put down Lorne [Michaels] 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 f—ing believe it,” Chase told the Washington Post during a lengthy interview. The reporter noted that he was very much on the record here. “That means a whole generation of s—heads laughs at the worst f—ing humor in the world,” he said. “You know what I mean? How could you dare give that generation worse s— than they already have in their lives? It just drives me nuts.”
The current cast of “SNL” will return for season 44 with host Adam Driver and Kanye West as the musical guest on Sept. 29. But to Chase, the show hasn’t been as good since he left 40 years ago.
“I’d have to say, that after the first two years, it went downhill,” Chase continued. “Why am I saying that? Because I was in it? I guess. That’s a horrible thing to say. 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 described Will Ferrell, one of the most famous former castmembers, as “just not funny.” Tina Fey? “”I liked Tina. I didn’t see what all the folderol was about. She was good.” On Kristen Wiig, he said: “I liked her a lot. She had two things going for her. She had clear-cut chops, and she was pretty, too. But what happened to her? Where did she go?”
OK, but Chase had to like Eddie Murphy right? He kept the show alive during the early 1980s Dick Ebersol-led years. “I thought Eddie Murphy was funny. Gumby. I found that funny and people loved that. . . . Stevie Wonder, he did well,” he said. “It’s not that hard, for Christ’s sake. Your skin’s the same color. You just put on some sunglasses and do this.”
Chase is one of the seven original castmembers for “SNL,” though he left shortly after the start of the second season, being replaced by Bill Murray. Since leaving, Chase has had a rocky relationship with the show, having not hosted since 1997. His last appearance on the show came during the 40th anniversary special in 2015.
He said Lorne Michaels has rebuffed his efforts to host again, and it clearly stings. “It’s like denying that I was the guy who made this show really go that first year,” he said. “It’s like taking all that away from me.”
You can read the full interview with Chase here.