LOS ANGELES — After making a splash in the first season of Saturday Night Live, comic star Chevy Chase left television to launch a successful movie career, at one point becoming one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.
He’s also very popular in Europe, he insists.
“Do you know I’m the Jerry Lewis of Sweden? It’s true,” Chase tells Metro. Now, Chase has returned to the small screen with Community, playing an out-to-lunch senior citizen returning to college. He sat down with Metro to talk about returning to TV, the legacy of Saturday Night Live and keeping up with movies.
What was it about Community that made you want to sign up?
It was totally the writing of the [first episode]. Otherwise, I would never have considered a sitcom. But it really made me laugh out loud, and I had never done anything like a sitcom. So I figured it’s just a half-hour show — or 24 minutes — so it should be very easy. Boy, was I wrong. [laughs]
Why do you think the show has struck such a chord with audiences internationally?
I guess the cast. It’s a terrific cast, and then of course, there’s me, a movie star. [laughs]. I’ve been around so long that it certainly doesn’t hurt to know a name that you’ve seen. I’m not really bragging — I’m just saying that I’m sure that doesn’t hurt. I think if anything, the two pretty girls probably help sell the show as much as anything else.
Do you still watch Saturday Night Live?
I don’t watch it a lot anymore, but when I’m in New York sometimes I go. I’ve seen it over the years and it’s amazing because I started it and that Weekend Update thing was just me and a desk. Now it’s like its own show. It doesn’t surprise me that kind of variety live show is going to last for a long time because it’s known so well at this point, and all you have to do is have a lot of writers writing sketches. There are going to be bad shows and good shows, but it’s got its own built-in audience now.
What’s the last comedy movie that you saw that you really liked?
I saw Harold [Ramis’] — what is it, Year One? It didn’t get good reviews and it didn’t do well, but I laughed a lot. I love Harold, so whatever he does, I laugh at.
Have you seen The Hangover?
No, I haven’t seen it. As a matter of fact, of the top 40 movies that are out now, I haven’t seen one. I mean, I vote [as a member of the Academy]. I’ll see them all, but it may be on my TV from a CD. When I can, I get to a movie theater with my wife and kids or whatever, great, but I just don’t have the opportunity that much.