Chevy Chase Doesn't Regret "Community" Firing: "I Didn't Want to Be With Those People"
The controversial comedian left the show after reportedly saying a racial slur on set.
Over 10 years have passed since Chevy Chase and producers agreed that he should leave the cult hit sitcom Community amid rumors of feuding and consternation on set. In a new podcast interview, the Saturday Night Live alum said that, perhaps unsurprisingly, he doesn't regret what happened and that he had actually been content to leave the NBC comedy behind. Chase slammed Community as not being "funny enough" for his taste and gave his candid opinions about both his co-stars and creator Dan Harmon, with whom he's traded public barbs over the years. Read on to find out more.
Chase left Community in 2012.
In 2012, Deadline reported that Chase was leaving Community, a show about an offbeat group of friends at a community college, in a "mutual agreement" with the show's producers. At the time, the show had nearly completed filming for Season 4. According to the report, Chase's departure was decided upon in the midst of a feud with Harmon and after Chase used the N-word on set. Reportedly, the Vacation star used the slur when speaking about his character, who often uttered offensive things, and questioning whether the N-word would be the next thing he had to say.
As reported by Deadline, Chase's feud with Harmon involved Chase storming off of the set, Harmon giving a rude speech about Chase in front of him at a wrap party, and Chase leaving Harmon an expletive-filled voicemail.
Chase said he felt "constrained" by the show.
As reported by The A.V. Club, Chase was the guest on the Sept. 25 episode of the podcast WTF With Marc Maron. When the host asked the actor about being approached to join Community, which premiered in 2009, he responded "I kind of forget about that. They wanted me, so I said 'OK.'"
Chase also said that he didn't think the show was "funny enough" and that he wasn't sorry to leave.
"I honestly felt the show wasn't funny enough for me, ultimately … I felt a little bit constrained," he said. "Everybody had their bits and stuff, and I thought they were all good, but it just wasn't hard-hitting enough for me." He added, "I didn't mind the character. I just felt—I felt happier being alone in a sense. I just didn't want to be surrounded by that table every day with those people. It was too much."
He claimed Harmon apologized to him.
When Marc Maron asked if his relationship with Harmon is OK now, Chase revealed that he hasn't seen the producer since 2012. "I have no idea if we're OK. I've never been not OK," he said. "He's kind of a pisser. He was angry. He called and said he was sorry. I love him now."
In 2013, Harmon told The Hollywood Reporter of Chase, "[Chevy is] a befuddled old man, but he's also the guy who calls you to his trailer and shakes the script in the air and says: 'I'm not a befuddled old man! I'm sexy! I could be the star of this show! I'm not gay. You're writing me as if I'm gay.'" He admitted that he used Chase's actual personality as fodder for the character. "I'd say to him, 'Do you understand that what you're saying is funny and it makes an interesting character?' He would kind of blink and stare at me and go, 'Whatever, I just don't think it's funny,'" the showrunner recalled.
More recently, in 2022, Harmon addressed whether Chase will be a part of the upcoming Community movie. "I don't even know if it's legal for him to come back," he said in a video shared by Variety. "That may be out of my hands. There may something I sign for with an insurance company."
Chase previously called sitcoms "the lowest form of television."
Even while he was still working on Community, Chase was not exactly effusive about it.
"The hours are hideous, and it's still a sitcom on television, which is probably the lowest form of television," he told HuffPost UK in 2012. "That's my feeling about it. I think the reason I have stuck around is because I love these kids, the cast—they are very good. It's not like I am working with the great innovators of all time, but at the same time, they are my friends and I am out, and one of my daughters is out here, and wants to be in the business, so she is living with me."
He has a reputation for being difficult and making racist remarks.
Chase does not have a sterling reputation in Hollywood. Even as far back as his SNL days, he feuded with castmates—including Bill Murray, with whom he once had a physical fight before the show went live.
In a 2018 interview with The New Yorker, Community co-star Donald Glover said that Chase made comments about his race on set, such as "People think you're funnier because you're Black." (In response, Chase told the publication, "I am saddened to hear that Donald perceived me in that light.") As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson called Chase "a genuinely bad, racist person" after Chase criticized the current version of the show.
Chase has defended himself.
In a 2022 interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Chase responded to the reputation he's cultivated among his co-stars as being "a jerk."
"I guess you'd have to ask them," he said when asked if comments like this were "unfounded cheap shots." "I don't give a crap."
He continued, "I'm who I am. And I like who I am. I don't care. And it's part of me that I don't care. I've thought about that a lot. And I don't know what to tell you, man. I just don't care."
On WTF, Chase said of his notoriety, "I don't know what my reputation was among people. I just always assumed I was OK."
For more celebrity news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.