Bill Murray Versus Chevy Chase
From Live from New York by Tom Shales and James Andrew Mills:
"I got into a fight with Chevy (Chase) the night he came back to host. That was because I was the new guy, and it was sort of like it was my job to do that. It would have been too petty for someone else to do that. Its almost like I was goaded into that. I did sense that. I think they resented Chevy for leaving, and leaving and making his own career go. Everybody else was from the improvisational world, where you don't make it about you. You were an ensemble, you were a company. So when he left, there was resentment about that. It was a shock.
"At the same time, Chevy was the big potato on the stew. He got the most sketches, he had the most influence, he got the publicity -- all of those things. So they didn't miss that part of it. But there was still hangover feelings that he shouldn't have left until everybody had that. You make sure everybody else is there and then you do it.
"It did leave a big vacuum, because he was really heavy in those shows. You look at those early shows and he's heavy. And so you had a whole year when the writers ended up writing, like writers do -- they write for the guys who can get it done, who can get it on the air -- and Chevy's sketches got on the air because he was "the man," you know. The other actors had to start from scratch and teach the writers how to write for them ... When you become famous, you've got a year or two where you act like an asshole. You can't help yourself. It happens to everybody. You've got, like, two years to pull it together -- or it's permanent.
"I've only been to SNL three times, and one time I was there, Chevy and Billy were having this huge screaming fight in the hallway, and Michael O'Donahue and Tom Davis were holding them back, and John and Danny jumped in because Chevy and Billy were really going to come to blows. I mean, it was a huge argument. And the thing I remember about Billy Murray -- I didn't know Bill Murray, but he's screaming, you know, foaming at the mouth, 'Fucking Chevy,' and in anger he says, 'Medium talent!' And I thought, 'Oh boy, that's funny. In anger he says 'medium talent.' That really impressed me. I went, 'So, Bill Murray -- wow, who is that guy?'
"It seems that there was a tension between Chevy and Bill all along during the week. I don't know why. I don't know if Chevy provoked it or not. But it culminated with Billy saying to Chevy, 'why don't you fuck your wife once in a while?' And I don't even remember who threw the first punch, Billy or Chevy. But it was ugly. I'd never seen guys fighting like that, let alone people I knew. And, you know, I don't know how he did it, but Chevy went out and did the monologue a few minutes later. Watching from the floor, he seemed shattered.
"Billy Joel, the musical guest, was out singing his heart out while this was going on backstage."
New, brilliant posts (12/3/2010) here: (TheCorsair)