Monday, April 02, 2012

Chevy Chase vs. Dan Harmon

The feud between COMMUNITY showrunner Dan Harmon and prima-donna/overrated/has-been star Chevy Chase has spilled out into the open. And it’s GREAT FUN!!

Let me tell you the backstory as objectively as I can.  And please know I have never met either party.


Difficult/unfunny/lucky to have any job, Chevy Chase apparently stormed off the set on the final episode thus forcing the writers to scramble.

Later, at the wrap party (where the ingrate actor did attend along with his wife and daughter), Dan Harmon proposed a toast, inviting the rest of the cast and crew to join in a rousing salute of, “Fuck you, Chevy!” The over-the-hill target was so enraged he and his family left.

It gets better. As they say on COMMUNITY – wait for it.

Former SNL cast member (now banned from the show) Chase calls Harmon and leaves a blistering voicemail message. Part of the message has leaked to the world. In addition to using every swear word at least twice, he calls Harmon fat and an alcoholic. Where does Chevy Chase, of all people, get off calling ANYONE fat and an alcoholic? In the rant he says, ““I don’t get talked to like that by anyone. Certainly not in front of my wife and daughter you goddamn asshole!” Okay. I’ll give him that. Because they fear for their jobs, everyone he’s worked with only says, “Fuck you, Chevy!” to his back. 

And, to be fair, I don't condone Harmon's ploy.   There are more elegant ways to handle this situation. 

Chase (whose last successful movie was over twenty years ago) goes on to complain about the writing. The COMMUNITY staff works literally around-the-clock and strives like no other show to be original and out-of-the-box. You might not agree with the results (and sometimes I don’t), but you have to give them props for always trying to top themselves. The writing on COMMUNITY is never lazy or formula.

Meanwhile, fellow-cast-member Jim Rash, who just won an Oscar for writing, doesn’t seem to have a problem with the COMMUNITY scripts.

Chase (whose talk show was one of television’s legendary disasters) has been biting the hand that feeds him frequently. He has publicly said he hates sitcoms. He told the Huffington Post recently: “This is the only time I’ve ever had to act every week in the same clothes and as the same character, and I don’t find it particularly enlightening. It’s not teaching anybody anything.”

Not teaching anybody anything? What did you teach them in THE KARATE DOG? Or NATIONAL LAMPOON EUROPEAN VACATION? CADDYSHACK II? OH HEAVENLY DOG? UNDER THE RAINBOW?

As someone who has been a showrunner myself, I always judge bad actor behavior on the “Is he worth it?” scale. Marilyn Monroe’s shenanigans used to drive director Billy Wilder nuts. But he put up with them, once saying, “My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie?” Is Chevy Chase integral to COMMUNITY? Hell no. Is he replaceable? Hell yes. Do you even need another character in his place? Another hell no.

I think it’s a moot point anyway because although Chase says, “it depends on what happens” whether he returns to the show, there’s no way in fucking hell Harmon will allow him back.

Here’s what I don’t like about this juicy Hollywood story and what I do like.  (Remember, I'm Mr. Objective.)

The don’t like part first. By acting like a total jerk, Chase perpetuates the stereotype that actors are all out-of-control ego maniacal monsters. The truth is 95% of them are consummate professionals and easy to work with. They may have creative disagreements with you, but this is a collaborative process. They voice their concerns in a respectful way, and although I hate to admit it, they’re often right.  So he does his fellow actors a disservice... not that he gives a shit, I'm sure.  No one who walks off a set in the middle of a scene has any regard for his fellow actors. 

Now the like part. When showrunners clash with stars and one has to go, usually it’s the showrunner. This pendulum is starting to swing the other way. Charlie Sheen was fired from TWO AND A HALF MEN, not Chuck Lorre. And in this case Dan Harmon will surely prevail. Yay showrunners!

Chevy Chase will not get another show. And trust me, despite what he says, in another few years when the only work he can get is dinner theaters in North Dakota, the idea of steady employment on a network sitcom will look pretty damn good to him. But no offer will come. COMMUNITY only came along because then-NBC president, Ben Silverman forced Chase on Harmon. That won’t happen again. Chase has no name recognition factor anymore and the “Is he worth it?” scale is now pinning in the “no”.

Also, the buzz this story has created might benefit COMMUNITY’S campaign to get renewed for next season. What other NBC show is anyone talking about? So that’s a good thing – maybe the best thing Chase has contributed to the series in his entire tenure.

Final thought:  As many readers have pointed out, Harmon doesn't appear to be an angel either.  I've never met him, but I know there are former COMMUNITY writers who have run screaming from the show because of the insane hours.  Showrunning is incredibly stressful and arrows come at you from all sides.  It's not just difficult actors.  It's the network, studio, critics, religious zealots, and now bloggers.   But I've always approached the job this way:  the showrunner is mommy & daddy.  The cast and crew are your kids.  You be the grown-up. 

And as for Chevy, he'll be opening soon in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN at the Emter Dinner Theater in Jamestown, North Dakota.  And there's RV parking!


Wait for it. 

110 comments:

Charlie O'Brien said...

always interesting to read your insight - you've been there. it's very cool.

benson said...

NBC has sitcoms?

Julie said...

OMG Benson! The best comedy is at NBC. Parks, Office, 30 Rock, Community. Sooooo underated

Lee said...

Yes, thanks for the insight. I agree that Community is very innovative, and that it doesn't always hit the bullseye. But when it does, it's one of the best shows on TV. Although I will concede that Chase was great in Fletch and Funny Farm.

Blaze said...

95%? I find that number very suspect. Okay, maybe only 5% of actors have such meltdown tantrums, but from my fringe observation, I think only 5% are "consummate professionals". This is the career path that inherited the concept of "entitled" from the fading glory of European royalty and made it their own in a big way.

Jeremiah Avery said...

Very insightful, Ken. "Community" is the only show on NBC I watch and enjoy. It was slow going for me, at first, but then the show got better and better. I agree that the show doesn't bat 1.000 but when they bring their A-game, it's a great show - funny and unpredictable. "Remedial Chaos Theory" was a bold move and it's wonderful they're at least trying something different.

Chevy's character, while he had his moments, had episodes where he was grating and made it hard to sit through the episode.

It's definitely good that networks are siding moreso with the showrunners. I know that Chuck Lorre was forced off of shows he worked on in the past.

I've read another blog in which the writer talked about working on a show created by a friend of his and one of the actors I would say was similar to Chevy. His prime had long since passed and had a horrible rep but the creator of the show took a chance on him since the actor had pleaded he had cleaned up his act. Turns out he hadn't changed a bit - was worse.

So the writer said how he and his writing partner were tasked with killing off the actor's character and they found the most humiliating ways to pull it off. Since the actor kept refusing to show up, they pulled it off with the body double.

Some of these divas need to know to not mess with the writer.

Chevy sucks but...... said...

Now Ken, I was side-eyeing Chevy for this mess too until I read Harmons twitter feed. The man brow beats his own fans! Do you know how the tape came into public dormain? Harmon played it to an audience during a standup show he was doing. Really. Sorry but as a former show runner you have some bias here.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh Harmons twitter account is a treasure trove of nuttery & general doucheyness! I want to know how he gets on with the other actors before I take a side 'cause this just sounds like the battle of the TWO dickheads to me.

Rivetted said...

Ohhh Harmons twitter account is a treasure trove of nuttery & general doucheyness! I want to know how he gets on with the other actors before I take a side 'cause this just sounds like the battle of the TWO dickheads to me.

Jake said...

You might be absolutely right about Chevy, Ken, but.....I don't know, I like to think that every funnyperson -- underneath all the bullshit and arrogance and insecurity and rationalizations -- has a good soul deep down. Hell, I even think friggin' Dane Cook is redeemable, someday. When it comes to comedy, there has to be some kind of human connection that occurs between the performer and the audience, something genuine and real. I'm not excusing Chevy of his behavior and perhaps he does deserve to get fired, but considering his age and what he's been through the past 40 or so years, I like to think he can get his head out of his own ass long enough to to acknowledge what he's done wrong.

Perhaps I've seen Star Wars too much, but I sense there's still good in Chevy Chase.

Karl said...

This was an unfortunate read, because I LOVE the show Community and I go admire a lot of Chevy Chase's early work - including Fletch and Under the Rainbow. I also think regardless of what's going on insulting a man in front of his family is extremely low.

That said, Chevy does seem to shoot himself in the foot a lot and he should consider himself d@mn lucky to be back on a network sitcom, much less one as good as Community. If he's not taking the show seriously and is actively working against it, then you're right there's no place for him. I still think there are places for his character to go, but if he's pi$$ing off the show runner and writers, no ones going to get him there. Best to write his character out gracefully (no balloons full of meat please) and get someone back into the study group (Senior Chang, anyone?)

Sebastian said...

So there actually WASN'T any irony in this video at the end of Season 1 when Harmon tells the cast about whether the show was renewed or not.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/05/community-renewed-video-c_n_488355.html

Chris said...

Call Chevy Chase what you will, and put his name into all those jokes that end with "No the luckiest actor in the world is ___," and I would NOT have responded the way Chase did, but to have that happen in front of your wife and kid? Good grief. Are we really going to justify bad behavior with bad behavior? Sorry, but if this story is true, then Harmon is just as classless as his actor.

Ginnie said...

Chevy never learns. Didnt he have the most mean-spirited roast ever? Surely, one learns from that not to burn his bridges right? However, from the pieces I have read today Harmon has ALSO lost afew jobs over his "interpersonal relationship skills" too. So maybe dont pick a horse just yet.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Spats like these never paint either party in a good light.

I imagine what it comes down to is which party the studio/network thinks will produce more income for it in the long run. In the Lorre/Sheen case it was clearly Lorre, who had two other hit sitcoms running for CBS. But say it had been Bayes/Thomas in the first year of HIMYM and NPH (who I'm sure is a consummate professional and a joy to work with)? Not so clear who'd have won that one.

As a writer, though, I'm glad if studios are waking up to the fact that without the writers the stars are nothing.

wg

MikeBo said...

There's a small but growing list of people being interviewed by Matt Lauer where I grab my remote and click back to CNN. It started with the latest appearance by Charlie Sheen. Then, Christie Brinkley. If I even see Chevy show up....I'm reachin'. A real pro 1-Shows up on time. 2- Knows the lines. 3. Treats colleagues with respect.

Anonymous said...

Ken,

Love your blog. But I'm pretty sure the "wait for it" bit is from How I Met Your Mother, not Community.

Gregg B said...

I thought Chevy was quite funny on Community especially with the slapstick bits. I've heard him on various talk shows and he always comes off as a douche and I'm sure he is. But it looks like Harmon who I think is a genius is a bit of a douche too. Hope the show comes back next season because no show is as innovative as this one.

Rock Golf said...

The latest rumor is that Chevy Chase will be replaced on Community by Keith Olbermann.

Hilarity ensues.

Joe Nuckshaul said...

Wait for it....Fuck You! That's a general 'you' of course, cuz, that was what you/we were waiting for, correct? Who cares about these prima donas, it's BASEBALL SEASON!!!

Redhead (changed from "Red" after discovering there's a "Ref.") said...

Great post, but it might've been a little more interesting if you'd picked a side.

Ken Levine: the Switzerland of Bloggers.

izzie said...

BOTH are nasty horrible creatures.

Anonymous said...

All this proves is the entertainment industry, you included Ken, is one big sewing circle of backseat yentas.

By the way, if you're going to empower gossip, at least be up to date. This was posted on Deadline on Sunday:

UPDATE SUNDAY: Since I posted the story yesterday, several people working on the show have come forward to confirm Chase’s version of the events. One noted that the show indeed was “suffering through a ‘non-script day’” when Chase walked off. Another claimed that most of the cast and crew members who attended the wrap party disapproved of Harmon’s behavior at the bash.

Lord Lillis said...

And as for Chevy, he'll be opening soon in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Nah, I see him more doing "SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR" (with Brett Butler). But I'm not going unless you get me twofers.

Tamia said...

I dont know Ken. I followed the Marc Cherry court case very closely and the one undoubtable fact that emerged was that showrunners wield alot of power.

In that case, Cherrys own witnesses testified that he was volatile on set although they claimed never violent. He yells at his staff but doesnt hit them was his line. And yet no one filed official complaints because crew didnt wish to be blacklisted and actors didnt want to be written off the show.

Marc Cherry is clearly as special brand of megalomaniac but I cant escape the feeling that some of these runners have a God complex and any challenge whatsoever is met with the kind of hostility that includes insulting a man infront of his family.

I dont know if Chevy is villain or victim here but I do know the picture you paint of humble longsuffering writters powerless to handle diva actors can not accurate.

Tamia said...

Sorry to post again but I need to add that the Marc Cherry case was also very instructive in studio-runner-actor relationship dynamics.

When the studio recieved word of Sheridans complaints they had their HR institute an investigation which -get this- did not include an interview of Sheridan, THE COMPLAINANT. Now if that isnt a studio covering for its runner then what is it??

Then ofcourse there are the many stories of runners purnishing their onset actor-critics with fewer lines, weaker parts, hostility on set etc etc.

My point is that we dont know the full story and Dan Harmon could just as likely be the aggressor here. Especially if he feels that Chevy was forced upon him by the network boss.

michael said...

Wow. Hollywood people have egos and can be mean to coworkers. Only in Hollywood.

Eric W. Gray said...

The late Johnny Carson once said "Chevy couldn't adlib a fart at a bean dinner."

Phil said...

Great post Ken, Chevy unfortunately deserves what he got, I worked on SNL back in the day and (even though it was after his tenure) there were a lot of people around who had known him. The word back then wasn't good either. You make your own bed and then you lie in it, correct? He's been defecating on his own bed for decades. It's not more complicated than that. You reap what you sow. Can anyone who's posted here imagine being treated that way at a party? Probably not - but then again you probably haven't pathologically acted out in an infantile manner to all your co-workers everywhere you go. As to the other side, anyone who can treat someone that way at a party is also a bully, and there can only ever be one big bully at the party, and the biggest one wins. Chevy is sort of a broken child. I think Harmon is a mean grown up. Nuff said about who wins. www.screenwriterbones.blogspot.com

Mike said...

While I haven't followed this enough (in fact, other than knowing that the entire cast seems to hate Chevy but are usually too nice to do anything other than joke about it passive aggressively, I didn't know there was a feud until this post), I trust that Harmon has been a bit of an ass based on my fellow commenters opinions here.

But when the rest of your cast seems to love the show and get along with each other and have a genuine chemistry that shines through and one person doesn't, I've got to say that I think it's pretty clear who the bigger asshole is.

The Milner Coupe said...

Community is a stupid show. The writing is terrible and the premise is unrealistic. The lead charactor seems to be channeling Chevy Chase circa 'Fletch' so if you like the show, it should be hard to say Chevy Chase has no talent.

Regardless. Had Harmon pulled that stunt on me in front of my family he be nursing more than a bruised ego. He's a punk.

JayKay said...

I keep hearing that Chevy is unbearable. Would someone enlighten me on how he came to this rep. I know he left SNL when he blew up and I can imagine him being cocky, petulant and rude but doesnt that describe most famous actors? So what sets him apart? Did he strangle some kittens, slap a baby, what?

Mike said...

I just can't sympathize with Chevy Chase. If you don't want to be mocked in front of your family, don't show up to season closer after walking off the set.

Two of Chase's family members were affected by Harmon's "Fuck You", but the entire cast, crew and network (to varying degrees)were affected by Chase's walk-off.

normadesmond said...

i like what johnny carson said.

Paul said...

Part of the job of the showrunner is to be the mature one, the leader. Harmon is childish, and quite a few actors will likely shy away from working with him in the future if they think every private feud will be posted to the world. This should have stayed internal, and berating a man in front of his family is inexcusable.

Mr. Hollywood said...

Chase came from a wealthy family (publishing money). He never had a problem in his life ... had things handed to him. Even the SNL gig fell in his lap. He is an arrogant, condescending, talentless supremely lucky asshole. I have dealt with him and everyone who has says the same thing.
Not surprising this happened. Don't know Harmon but as a pro, you don't walk off a set. Sad thing is that Chase is so wealthy it doesn't hurt him.

Bruce B. said...

Anonymous, "Wait for it..." is from M.A.S.H. Radar O'Reilly would hear the choppers before anyone else. That's why they called him Radar.

Anonymous said...

Seriously Ken, fuck you. Harmon has been doing his utmost to fuck this show up almost since the word go. I mean, who the hell doesn't have the goddamn script ready for the SEASON FINALE? He's had literally the entire season, plus a few extra months (due to his shitty organization/alienating fans) to prepare it.

I know Chase is an asshole, but he's also the one with the least amount of time and the least amount to lose. Walking off the set was probably the best thing he could've done for his castmates - it might actually shine a light on what an unconscionable, disorganized hack Harmon has become. I hope that if Community gets another season, Harmon gets dropped as showrunner. Give the whiny crybaby a creator/exec prod. credit and get someone in here that knows what the hell he is doing.

JimmyNice said...

Ask Paul Mooney about Chevy taking credit for the "word association" sketch he wrote for Richard Prior & Chevy on SNL... or Ask Kevin Smith what it was like meeting his idol http://silentbobspeaks.com/?p=224 . I grew up loving Chevy Chase and I loved watching him in Community... though he was rarely the best part. I agree that Dan Harmon seems to have handled this a bit douche-like for lack of a better term... but Chevy seems to be happy burning bridges every where he goes with little to no concern of the fall out. I mean that's certainly his prerogative and right... but I think it has kept him at just "a funny guy" as opposed to a legend.

Just my 2¢

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

Ginnie said...
Chevy never learns. Didnt he have the most mean-spirited roast ever?

It was actually painful to watch at times, Stephen Colbert was flat out cruel, even for a roast. I mean it was funny, but cruel. I think the defining moment may have been when Martin Short and Steve Martin were beamed in from location (and they didn't seem real happy to be doing that) from filming the sequel to Three Amigos (which thankfully I don't think was ever even released) with Nathan Lane, who replaced Chase as the third Amigo

James Butko said...

Chevy and Dan both seem like they can be assholes. But the biggest asshole here, is clearly you Ken. Unless you work on Community or have at least met one party or the other then your opinion simply does not matter. On this subject, you are shit on a stick.

K.R.B. said...

Ken, you were hardly "Mr. Objective" in that piece. For someone who claims to have never met or worked with Chevy, you certainly didn't hold back with your disdain toward him.

However, Chevy has a notorious reputation for being an asshole and this was probably just one of many selfish actions he's pulled at "Community." But Harmon apparently is no stranger to Dickland. By many accounts he's a drunk that has an ego that may only rival that of Mr. Chase.

Frankly, I think they're both lucky to be working. But ultimately, I don't care. While "Community" has it's moments, it's hardly going to be considered a classic when it disappears in the coming months and/or years.

Matt Patton said...

Keith Olbermann can't fill in for Chevy Chase on COMMUNITY -- he's Alan Partridge's replacement on Radio Norwich . . .

Ken Levine said...

I send sincere thanks to commenter James Butko. Why? He calls me out, but he leaves his NAME. That's really all I ask. You are welcome to disagree with me, just don't be a coward and do so anonymously.

So although you call me an asshole, Mr. Butko, I call you a stand-up dude.

D. McEwan said...

YOW! Fun post. I am surprised by the vituperativeness of some of the commenters here. Unless you've got personal issues with one or the other of them, the great thing about a conflict like this is, with no horse in the race, we can sit back and just enjoy the bad behavior. Why so heated Anonymous, and non-Anonymous James Butko? (And congrats, James, for having the balls to use your name. We get so many cowards here.)

I know nothing of Harmon, but no matter how angry I was with someone (And I get good and angry, as many can tell you) I can not imagine proposing such a toast in front of Chevy's wife, and even more, in front of his daughter. That is truly over-the-line. Chevy's current wife and his kids suffer enough just being Chevy's current wife and his kids.

Chevy I've met a number of times over the last 38 years. He has never been rude or mean to me. Very much the reverse. That said, it hasn't kept me from noticing and enjoying his legendary douchebaggery. I watched in person Barry Humphries, without braeaking Dame Edna's character, quite literally dump him (Albeit, using a stunt man) off her show in mid-interview after he refused to "play the game" of pretending he was in her home, and insisted on breaking fourth wall and pointing out the studio audience. (Like the idea of pretending a set in a studio was real was somehow novel to an actor) First rule of Improv: "No denials," as Chevy very well knew.

A couple posters here have called him talentless. Chevy is a jerk, and often impossible and/or unprofessional, but he is not "talentless." To say that is to ignore a long body of work, if not a particularly distinguished one.

Frankly, if this means Community returns without Chevy next year, it's a win-win. It had gotten to the point that every time Chevy shows up in an episode I found myself thinking: "Oh right, Chevy is on the show. I forget every time he leaves the screen."

Now...

"Blaze said...
95%? I find that number very suspect. Okay, maybe only 5% of actors have such meltdown tantrums, but from my fringe observation, I think only 5% are 'consummate professionals'. This is the career path that inherited the concept of 'entitled' from the fading glory of European royalty and made it their own in a big way."


Perhaps, "Blaze," you dickhead, you should not comment from "fringe observation" about that of which you know nothing. Over half a century as an actor taught me that "entitled" is not any kind of accurate description of most actors. Actors have to audition for every God damn job! Boy, are they NOT "entitled".

Imagine that you had to re-apply and re-interview for your job EVERY WEEK! And how well you did last week doesn't affect whether you have work this week or not, or this month, or this year. Actors are out supporting spouses and children when they may work every week, or they may get one week of work that year, or none. Acting is highly insecure, and is about absorbing VASTLY more rejection than acceptance. It's about being rejected and rejected and rejected and rejected. It's a profession for masochists.

You, "Blaze," are a blazing asshole.

Sarah said...

Hi Ken,
Love the blog, love Community, and enjoy Chevy Chase on the show. I was disheartened to hear about the bad behavior. Before the show came back on the air, I rewatched the first 2 seasons and fell in love with the show all over again. Although I agree it is a very distinct brand of humor and not for everyone, it works for me. If you watch the early episodes, Chase is more involved, and there are a lot of parallels between Pierce (Chases character) and Jeff. Pierce was more grounded, and it seems like starting from season 2 on, they wrote Pierce more broad and very unlikable. They seemed to be redeeming him some in season 3, so it's a shame that there are all these problems and he likely will not be back for season 4.

I would argue that while Pierce isn't an essential character to the group, it would be hard, 4 years in, to find someone to fill his slot, if they wanted to replace Pierce with another older character.

Someone above caught it before me, but the "wait for it" gag is indeed from How I Met Your Mother.

Aaron said...

While I think Harmon's actions were a little overboard(and ill-timed since Chevy's daughter was present).

However, Chevy has reportedly walked out on a shoot MULTIPLE times... And in this case, this was the VERY LAST thing they had to shoot for the season.

Additionally, if you watch any panels with the cast, you can tell they're biting their tongues (except Harmon, to some degree) when it comes to the difficulty with working with Chevy.

Chevy is a self-righteous prick who has starred in fewer than a handful of good movies. Community made him remotely relevant again and all he can do is talk crap on it and then turn around and praise stupid tripe like 'BLEEP My Dad Says'...

And regarding Harmon's Twitter feed... I think he's actually right 90% of the time he calls out a 'fan' for stupid feedback. Of course, I think he could totally be more tactful... but, seriously, with the limited number of characters in a twitter post (and the thoughtless nature of most feedback), it's hard to be accommodating and explain why they're wrong without coming off like a prick.

Mike Doran said...

The solution, so simple yet profound:

Richard Erdman

He's been there all along, and does more with the scraps they throw him each week than Old Cornelius ever did with whole epissodes.

At 86, he may be a hard sell to the network, but give him a shot anyway.


*unsolicited endorsement*

Johnny Walker said...

I love Chevy Chase. I find his persona to be utterly charming and his comedy timing is flawless. It always saddens me when I hear stories of how much of a douche he is real life.

Harmon also sounds like a douche. The lead character of Community is largely based on him, by his own admission, and not the good parts. That certainly sent alarm bells ringing for me.

It's good that a star's unreasonable behavior isn't being tolerated, but I note it's on shows that aren't named for the star's character.

chuckcd said...

I hear the Elizabeth Howard dinner theater in Tustin has a part for him!

imtheman1976 said...

Chevy chase is the man.i hope chase gets more big brakes and stays on top..i grew up watching chase on tv,hes funny and very good at what he does.dont take that away from him..let the drunk fat son of ah bitch Harmon sit his fatass in a dinner theater some place in North Dakota..cause chevy chase rules and Harmons just a fat ass...lmao

Anonymous said...

You're kidding me right? Community IS Harmon's show, how about they make another season of The Wire without David Simon? Please....

David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews said...

I'm not surprised by this news either. Although I know nothing of Dan Harmon's actions or behaviors, I've heard quite a few Chevy Chase stories over the years, almost none of them painting him in a positive light. I was shocked that he was casted in the show to begin with, considering a few of them actually. While I like "Community," I always did feel that the show was one or two characters more than it needed to be, and that made it end up a little bit of a mess, so I think the show can be improved without Chevy. I think he is talented, but hopefully this'll make the show better. Although the show's inconsistancies over the years, are starting to look a little more intriguing in light of both Harmon and Chase's actions.

Sebastian said...

Marc Marcon said on his Podcast several times how mortifying Chevy Chase's reaction towards his roast was.

Here's a bit from that roast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wRyezZEdE

Off the top of my head I think he said that usually you have an afterparty but Chevy just left after the roast and that was it. Maron also said that he bombed but still...

Bill White said...

Faded stars appearing at dinner theatres in the middle of nowhere is an old joke. I know that in the 70's this really happened, but are there any dinner theatres in existence anymore?

Ken, does this qualify as a Friday Question? If so, I'm sure you can come up with funnier examples than Chevy in "YAGMCB". JoAnne Worley in "Gypsy", maybe?

Terrence Moss said...

I wouldn't be surprised if all this was a ratings/promotional stunt orchestrated by Harmon, Chase and NBC.

Larry said...

They used to say "wait for it" a lot on Monty Python, but I got the impression they were using it as if it were an old phrase, perhaps from the military, that was commonly used and understood in Britain.

Jerome said...

Ken did you know that Harmon played the voicemail from Chase to a live audience during "Harmon Town". Members of that audience then made recordings on their phones and posted them on Reddit. Now that just aint right, as my mum would say. The only thing thats worse is that you, Ken, did not mention this in your piece. Its kind of pertinent in determining whos the bigger prick, right?

Anonymous said...

Here's how we're being told it all went down -- Chevy had an issue with one of the scenes and asked for a rewrite. We're told Chevy was very calm and polite ... but told producers he would "respectfully decline" to participate in the scene unless a change was made.

Producers shot down Chevy's request ... and he quietly left the set without incident.

Our sources tell us they felt the issue had been handled privately because Chevy showed up at the wrap party ... and everyone was shocked when Harmon grabbed the mic and unloaded on the actor.

One source tells us, "What Dan did was embarassing and left a sour taste in all of our mouths ... so low class."

The source adds, "The staff was not pissed at Chevy ... we're pissed at Dan. We all hope Chevy comes back next season."

http://www.tmz.com/2012/04/02/community-chevy-chase-dan-harmon-staff-support/#.T3pQhO16PTQ

Ken Levine said...

Had to delete the last comment. You can't call me an asshole and then use my comment section to plug your own blog.

I know. I'm a douche.

Streetrat said...

You do realise what the word objective means don't you? Even though you mention repeatedly that you do not wish to be biased in your analysis of the situation, that is exactly how you come across. I'm not defending Chevy Chase but I won't go as far as to condemn until I know the facts. I have heard many contradictory reports of what happened during the shooting and how Chevy reacted and thus I don't think it was as simple as him acting like a "premadonna". I would have had no problem with this article had you not gone to such lengths to try to imply you are being objective. Clearly you have some resentment toward actors and an inherent loyalty to showrunners. This is merely my personal opinion and I just felt it needed to be said even if nobody ever reads it.

Anonymous said...

"I have heard many contradictory reports of what happened during the shooting and how Chevy reacted and thus I don't think it was as simple as him acting like a "premadonna"."

I heard he was acting like a preadele.

Either way, it's not right.

Don K. said...

What do I take away from all of this? Not that anyone has asked, but that the word "douche", which originally was defined as something else entirely different, now is freely used as a pejorative along the lines of "jerk", "asshole", etc. Not that this is the first time I've encountered the relatively new usage, but it now makes me look forward to the day I can call someone "jelly" or "lubricant" or more exotically, "Three In One", and know I've really stuck it to them.

Don K. said...

I mean, when my wife has asked, "Can you get me the douche?", apparently it's a pretty good thing I didn't go get our next door neighbor or, I guess, Dan Harmon.

Phillip B said...

For Bill White -

There are still hundreds of dinner theaters out there, although many of them have succumbed to theme events - ala Tony and Tina's wedding, and improv murder mysteries.

Reality TV may be the current last refuge of celebrity but you can't kill these places with a stick, as we used to say. Click below to arrange an audition for the Alhambra Dinner Theatre production of the Wizard of Oz at the Equity rate of $569 a week. Munchkins need not apply

http://broadwayworld.com/equitylisting.php?id=3986

Mike said...

You don't have to be anonymous. You can hide amongst the sea of Mikes. There's three of us commenting on this blog, all signed in.

Dan Tedson said...

Seems like everyone's kind of tiptoeing around afraid to address the real issue, so I'm just gonna say it... what the hell's wrong with National Lampoon's European Vacation??

German boobies in that flick. And remember, this was before the wall fell.

selection7 said...

Streetrat, Ken is a writer and former show-runner writing a comedy blog, and (most of) his readers know it well. When he goes to the extent of even labeling himself "Mr. Objective", it's safe to say he's doing so tongue-in-cheek.

Yes, Ken aimed some biting commentary towards Chevy without knowing all the facts, but it makes for better read in a timely blog post than 8 paragraphs about how we should be mindful that there are two sides to every story.

All I know is, Roseanne thinks Chevy is getting is easy...you know, because he's a man.

D. McEwan said...

"Ken Levine said...
Had to delete the last comment. You can't call me an asshole and then use my comment section to plug your own blog."

NOW
you tell me! DOH!

So you have one standard for Roseanne Barr and a different one for everyone else? No wait. She called you an "Asshat." Never mind.

Roseanne, Chevy, and Brett Butler, all in one cast, with guest cameos from Cybill Shepherd. There's a Hell for the Ages.

selection7 said...

"Roseanne, Chevy, and Brett Butler, all in one cast, with guest cameos from Cybill Shepherd. There's a Hell for the Ages."

Charlie Sheen's therapist character could counsel all of them on his new show about anger management!
You know, I would actually tune in to see that.

Gathua said...

Nice edit to the article Ken. It still reads wierd though because it dwells on the trope that actors are divas and runners are powerless victims. Be honest Ken, do you not know afew coked out egotistical runners who live to humiliate their staff. If you dont, I would be happy to introduce to one (and its not Harmon FYI).

Also, I've just had a look at Harmons twitter and Ken you're hitching to the wrong horse. That horse is a fucking fruit cake.

Tania said...

I can't comment on the behaviour of either of these men. I'm sure if I was there I'd probably be disappointed in the two of them.

BUT I think Chevy's performance is outstanding on Community. Everything he does is so effortless - I find him an absolute joy to watch. In this youth obsessed society it's nice to watch a veteran do his thing and do it well. Sometimes I wish we could get all 1950s about it and keep the dirty laundry in the laundromat so that I can blissfully enjoy the show without wondering what's going on in the sub-sub-subtext.

Johnny Walker said...

"Roseanne, Chevy, and Brett Butler, all in one cast, with guest cameos from Cybill Shepherd. There's a Hell for the Ages."

"Charlie Sheen's therapist character could counsel all of them on his new show about anger management!"

Throw Burt Reynolds in there and you've REALLY got a show!

A. Homer said...

People often seem as if to forget how really short Chase's run was on SNL. It was that good to have supported decades of mediocrity. On talk shows, or panels with Community colleagues, he just coms off as a baby, making faces and falling off his chair, talking up and interrupting making it impossible to simply hear from other actors. Community did him a favor by giving him a chance to play a normal character and show some acting skills. To his credit, Chase did mention he didn't like the character of Jeff being changed to now more and more having to deliver a moralizing summary in the end so that there is the "learning" moment. But ultimately, Chase has demons, whatever they are. Community could have gotten rid of his character when he walked out of their group at the end of one of the seasons. No one would have minded. Anyway long story short, there is no winner because Harmon behavior is not supportable either, as a writer, sure, but as someone leading the Community idea, it sounds too childish and asking the whole crew to join in is power tripping.

Merry Mary said...

What a shit-stirring jerk off piece! Soooo much projecting. I fucking loved it! More like this Ken. Very entertaining. A plus.

Anonymous said...

So, apparently Ken is supporting the Jake LaMotta of sitcoms.

In Ken's world, this guy deserves the benefit of the doubt as a professional courtesy, while Chevy should follow any order, however ridiculous, from this... "boss," or Chevy is not professional.

M'kay:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDp1vT1fIlM

WizarDru said...

Chevy was only on 32 episodes. So was John Belushi, for that matter. But they were there at the very beginning, when the show was a sensation. And they set the tone for the show, back when it was radical comedy pushing the envelope, not formula. Bill Murray was there for 79 episodes. Others like Gilda Radner and Dan Akroyd were there for 4 and 5 years, around 90 and 102 episodes.

By comparison, Eddie Murphy was only there for 33 episodes.To put this another way: Lorne Michaels cousing, Neil Levy, has been in 46 episodes. If you're saying "Who?", well, I'm with you. And I remember when folks like Brad Hall and not-related Anthony Michael Hall were on the show.

Anonymous said...

This isn't the first time Harmon has pulled bullshit on Chevy publicly.

Check out Harmon calling for Chevy's ouster last year. Move slider to 9:48

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_ydwGdhm4A

Looks like Harmon had a plan to harass Chevy into quitting. What a great working environment it must be around there. Acting as if your boss isn't a pit viper every day must be a hoot.

iain said...

"Roseanne, Chevy, and Brett Butler, all in one cast, with guest cameos from Cybill Shepherd. There's a Hell for the Ages."

"Charlie Sheen's therapist character could counsel all of them on his new show about anger management!"


Wherever Chuck Lorre is right now, a chill just ran down his spine.

cadavra said...

WizarDru: Belushi (and Aykroyd) did the first four seasons, some 80-plus episodes. Murray replaced Chase, but the cast was then otherwise stable until the end of the 4th season.

Julie said...

FYI Ken: I have just listened to the clip of Harmon explaining the sequence of events to a comedy club audience. (the clip is on TMZ and yes you can judge me!)

Harmons account: Chevy objected to the material. Harmon refused to change it. Chevy left. Chevy texted Harmon to apologise. Harmon told him to eat shit and die.

We also know that Hammon insulted Chevy at the wrap party. Chevy left angry voice message. And finally Harmon mocked Chevy at a comedy club.

Would this change anything for you? Or is Chevy still a dick because he is an actor and Harmon still longsuffering because he is a writter?

Anonymous said...

Dude!!!Chevy is a legendary actor from the 80's (when your parents probably didn't even meet yet)I bet you take it up the ass after all your fellow actors call you a fat fuck, while your wife and daughter are standing next to you...right!If you don't like chevy...fine that's your opinion...but seriously have some goddamn respect!!!

Brian Phillips said...

Dear Anonymous,

To the anonymous that embedded the youtube clip:

I would advise anyone watching the clip to NOT fast-forward to 9:48. Unless you are joking, it's clear that this promo is a goof, because EVERYONE, Harmon included comes off looking badly. If you are not kidding, then you may also believe that Alison Brie's decolletage and not her talent keep her on the show, yet you did not leap to defend her virtue, either. It may have been "kidding on the square" as Al Franken calls it, when one is joking with a subtext, but since Chase's character isn't liked in the show, until this latest fracas, I would not have known there was any tension on this show.

Now, I have broken things accidentally, been less-than-nice to coworkers but none of my he-nanigans (Viva noun equality!) have shown up in any magazines. I'm not famous. There aren't any classes on how to deal with fame and some are better than others, obviously.

D. McEwan said...

"WizarDru said...
Chevy was only on 32 episodes. So was John Belushi, for that matter"

WHAT????
I hope you washed your hand after you pulled that 32-episodes-for-John-Belushi figure out of your ass. You see, I'm the same age as Bill Murray, and I recall VIVIDLY watching Jon Belushi on SNL for FIVE YEARS!. During that time, I met John on a Thursday over at Warner Brothers. It had to be on a Thursday, because on Friday he and Dan Akyroyd, then shooting Spielberg's 1941, had to fly back to NYC to do that weekend's SNL. For the record, you know, that thing you didn't bother to check out yourself when you had numbers up your ass that needed pulling out, Belushi was in 84 SNL episodes. It was Chevy's departure that allowed room for John to blossom into a star.

The problem with just making stuff up here is that the readership is so vast that there are plenty of us here who actually know the, as The National Lampoon used to call them: "True Facts."

D. McEwan said...

PS. Chevy's figure is also from your ass. He did 35 episodes before leaving. With cameos and guest-hosting, his total is up to 52 episodes.

Redhead said...

D. McEwan:

I just discovered this blog recently, but have been assiduously reading the archives. I love your comments. LOVE them. Keep 'em comin'.

Peter Grossman said...

Chevy Chase was good as a prick in Law & Order. Guess he was typecast.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a lot like the Lorre/Sheen fiasco, except in this case, the SHOWRUNNER is Charlie Sheen!

Next breaking news on TMZ: Harmon checks in to rehab!

Todd Ayres said...

Dear God... Such vitriol from you people. I felt like I was reading YouTube comments of a Justin Bieber video at times. Embarrassing.

Kirk said...

@D McEwen--I don't know how many shows they did, but Belushi and Ackroyd left after the fourth season. Bill Murray was there for the fifth but not the first. Of the original cast only Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Larraine Newman, and Garrett Morris were there for a full five years. I know because I grew up with SNL. I was in the 8th grade during the first season, and a senior in high school during the 5th.

@WizarDru--I don't know how many shows Eddie Murphy did, but I do know that he came on halfway thru the 6th season and left about three quarters of the way through the 9th, so 33 seems rather low.

@Ken Levine--Just what is so terrible about appearing in a dinner theater? If you're an actor I imagine it's better than being a waiter or waitress in such a place (though without the tips.) I now dinner theaters are considered a venue for has-beens, but, as a life-long pop culture junkie, I observed that has-beens aren't usually any less talented than they were at the height of their fame. I wish there were more dinner theaters around. It's an affordable way to view a star up close, even if that star's now a bit faded.

A fuckin' lady said...

Ken, can you please add to our douchebag list of showrunners, Lee Aronsohn. Silly little menses-fearing prick. Your peers suck ass, Mr Levin!

Kirk said...

I should also point out during that 5th season, Harry Shearer basically replaced Belushi and Ackroyd. Writer/performers like Al Franken, Tom Davis, and Don Novello (Father Sarducci) were seen a lot more often, though they weren't considered part of the "official" cast.

Harry Shearer returned to the cast for the tenth season (the one with Billy Cystal), but left halfway through, though his name remained in the opening credits.

Anonymous said...

Right on cue, Harmon apologizes to his fans, albeit passive-agressively:

"I have to just acknowledge my mistake and apologize for it to the fans. Even the people that hate the show that are tweeting heckles at me are right, I'm a selfish baby and a rude asshole and not a person to trust with your feelings."

Jake James said...

From that ever so reliable news source, TMZ, come this mea culpa of sorts:

http://www.tmz.com/2012/04/02/community-chevy-chase-dan-harmon-staff-support/#.T3uUzq5WVGg

Rob said...

Chevy has my love for Fletch and Caddyshack, two movies I've seen and quote too many times to be healthy. It seems to me that his biggest problem is that he never really moved past his early successes and seemed stuck in a rut that because he was funny at one time he would always be funny. If you look at him, Eddie Murphy, and Mike Myers, you see guys that appear to have lost themselves in their own success with no idea how to get back to that point again. Chevy is funny in Community, but I think it's because Harmon's found a way to turn what used to be funny into something funny because it's so clueless. I get the feeling half the time that Chevy doesn't understand the jokes written for him and they're all the funnier for it.

I just went back and watched some of the roast clips, including Chevy's response. It's all painful.

Rob said...

THis is a pretty good article from several years ago on Chevy.
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,676221,00.html

Anonymous said...

Question for Ken:

Do the people who do light pieces on celebrities in the LA Times do "favors" for agents or publicist scum from time to time? If so, what's the payoff for the "reporter?" The reason I ask is the LA Times posted this picture of Harmon giving his "non-apology-apology":

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2012/04/community-dan-harmon-chevy-chase-feud.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ShowTracker+(L.A.+Times+-+Show+Tracker)

Typical Reader: Look at Dan Harmon! He's sorry, AND he's hugging a black woman in public! I've done that! Didn't know I was gonna do it, but I did! I didn't care! So he's like me! I'm going to reassess him as a person, RIGHT NOW!

Curious said...

Friday Question - do you now regret weighing in on a situation you were clueless about and do you feel silly now that your victim has admitted to being a dick?

Tamia said...

In that stupidly verbose, network mandated, "apology" he does not once apologise to Chevy for ridiculing him at the party then at the club.

Johnny Walker said...

I can certainly believe Dan Harmon is telling the truth with his apology: He's not a nice guy. He's said as much on many occasions.

Two and a Half Men co-creator also comes across as a total tool:
Lee Aronsohn Female Comedy Rant

@Anonymous: Re: Soft journos. They get things like exclusive scoops. When a big news story breaks, they'll give them quotes in the future, because they have a good relationship.

WizarDru said...

"The problem with just making stuff up here is that the readership is so vast that there are plenty of us here who actually know the, as The National Lampoon used to call them: "True Facts."

Well, I grabbed those numbers off of IMDB. My mistake was in reading the writer credits for some of the cast, not the acting credits. I only watched SNL sporadically until 1980 or so, when I watched it regularly. So I quoted the wrong numbers. Chase's was on for a season-and-a-half, so 34 episodes stands as correct.

Belushi and Akroyd left at the end of the fourth season (#86). Murray, of course, has since returned to host. The remainder of the original cast left at the end of Season 5, #106. Eddie Murphy got promoted to full repetory member in #109 and left after #173, when 48 Hours made him a star, so obviously much more than 33 episodes (64 as full member, a few more as a player).

I humbly apologize for my mistake. It's been over 25+ years since I watched SNL regularly and figured my memory was at fault. No intentional misrepresentation was intended.

bcarter3 said...

Although I've heard great things about "Community", I've never watched it for the simple reason that I've always loathed Chevy Chase. His departure will mean I can add it to the list of shows that might partially fill the gaping void left by the loss of "Arrested Development".

Hazard said...

Jeez, don't let your one-sidedness show. Ohh, Chevy hasn't had a good movie in 20 years! Yes, let's ignore the fact that the man was/is an icon of American Comedy and had a great career before Dan Harmon was shat from his mother's womb, right?

Sorry, but if some douche started people chanting 'Fuck You' to me in front of my wife and kids, I'd have kicked his teeth down his throat to make sure he never made that mistake again. Using someone else's behavior to act like an asshole is never the winning play. And Dan Harmon is a fat fuck, just look at him.

Actually, he's Spartacus said...

Larry said...
They used to say "wait for it" a lot on Monty Python, but I got the impression they were using it as if it were an old phrase, perhaps from the military, that was commonly used and understood in Britain.


Ah now I remember. "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" circa late 1970s. Battery Sergeant-Major "Shut-up" Williams had several catchphrases, one of which was "Wait for it" between orders, such as "By the left...wait for it, wait for it...Quick March!"

htb41 said...

I love Community, but to some extent i think Chevy is right. If you read Chevy's comments he hates the writing b/c it has gone from a show about a Community college to a weekly show about far flung ideas and high concept episodes that he doesn't relate to.

While the show is still funny Chevy makes a point. Community has spoofed Law and Order, Total Recall, had a show in Abed's mind, a show in Chang's mind and it rarely seems grounded in reality anymore. I think these two need to communicate better, but Chevy is taking a lot of heat b/c people don't like him.
The show has gotten away from its original premise.

Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase were in on a big inside joke. Notice how Chevy Chase is pretty much acting like Pierce? Either Chase is unaware that his character is like him, or him and Dan are just making it look like he's like his character.

Anonymous said...

Well your confident prediction was off, since Harmon got fired and Chase is coming back. They are both notorious a-holes and you article was so biased against Chase it's laughable.

Anonymous said...

Levine, you should leave your personal issues with Chase (which you must have to write such a biased, judgemental argument) aside when assessing a situation. I know Chevy was meant to be difficult in the past but he's changed (people can do that, you know). Give the man a break. Did you try to write for Community but he didn't like your work and you didn't get the job or something? Be human.

Yo said...

Let's be perfectly honest and brutality realistic. Chevy Chase is the biggest circumcised dickhead with fag glasses on earth and 90% of it's inhabitants want to join in for a "Fuck You Chevy" toast.

Lyle Gentry said...

Hey, don't be knocking "Caddyshack". It's the greatest movie ever made!