He's Chevy Chase (born Cornelius Crane Chase on October 8, 1943), an American actor/comedian known for his pratfalls... and you're not.
He began a full time career in comedy by joining the National Lampoon Radio Hour in 1973; he and many other comedians on the program would later become the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. He was known for his physical comedy, particularly his impressions of then President Gerald Ford (which wasn't so much an accurate impression or even one that was hilariously exaggerated to the point of being perceived as real by the general publicnote as it was an excuse for Chevy to do his pratfalls). He was also the original Weekend Update Anchor. He received a lot of praise for his role in the show, though he left in the middle of the second season, returning later to host eight timesnote , one of whichnote had him appear live via a television set because Chase missed his flight and couldn't get to the studio to do rehearsals in time; another of whichnote was done with Steve Martin and Martin Short to promote the movie The Three Amigos; and the last of whichnote was his final time before he was banned for being high on painkillers and harassing the cast and crew). Chase was SNL's most frequent former cast member to come back and host. Along with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, Chase is also one in three members of the "Not Ready for Primetime" era of SNL (fall of 1975 to spring of 1980) to come back and host the show. Chase is also one of the few members of the "Five Timers Club"note to have been a cast member on the show, joining Bill Murray and Tina Fey.
After SNL, he begin taking film roles with appearances in hit films such as Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation and its sequels, and ¡Three Amigos!, roles that would make him a highly paid actor in the late 80s. He also hosted the Academy Awards in 1987 and 1988. His career went in decline though in the 90s with many of his films flopping at the box office, with even Vegas Vacation being a commercial disappointment. He hosted a talk show in 1993 called The Chevy Chase Show which only lasted for five weeks. He gained some prominence again with the role of Pierce Hawthorne in the TV show Community, though he did have creative issues with the show's creator Dan Harmon throughout its run. He left the show during the 4th season, having gained a reputation that could charitably be described as "difficult."
Works featuring Chevy Chase include:
- Saturday Night Live (197576): Was the first Weekend Update anchor. He was also the first SNL cast member to leave the show, the first one to come back and host (until he was banned for being a jerk to the cast and crew members), the only host who had to be broadcasted on a TV instead of appearing live onstage when he hosted,note and the former SNL cast member to host the most episodes (nine). His celebrity impressions include U.S. President Gerald Ford (which wasn't really an impression as we would know it;note instead, the 'impression' was just an excuse for Chevy to show off his penchant for pratfalls), Leonard Nimoy (as Mr. Spock on the infamous Last Voyage of the Enterprise sketch), Greg Allman, Ronald Reagan (also a "non-impression" like Ford's), and Jeffrey Dahmer. He only had one recurring character, "The Land Shark" (a creepy man in a cheap shark costume who attacks anyone who answers the door, usually with him saying, "Candy gram?").
- Foul Play (1978)
- Caddyshack (1980)
- Modern Problems (1981)
- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
- Fletch (1985)
- Spies Like Us (1985)
- Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird
- ¡Three Amigos! (1986)
- Nothing but Trouble (1991)
- Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992)
- Man Of The House 1995
- Dirty Work (1998)
- Snow Day (2000)
- Orange County (2002)
- Community (200913)
- Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
Tropes associated with this actor:
- The Big Guy: He is 6'4" and was the first of SNL's many tall, white male cast members. Chase, Randy Quaid (from the 198586 season), Charles Rocket (198081 season), and Kevin Nealon (198695 seasons) are tied as the tallest SNL cast members.
- Catch Phrase: Earlier in his career, he would wear T-shirts bearing the phrase "Yes, It's My Real Name".
- "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not," or some variation of it, like "I still am, and you're still not."
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": He was given the nickname Chevy (a play on the title of the folk song "The Ballad of Chevy Chase", about a battle in the Cheviot Hills on the English-Scottish border) by his grandmother when he was 2, and Chevy Chase is the name he's answered to pretty much his whole life.
- Early-Bird Cameo: His first claim to fame was writing a single back-page gag for MAD in 1970.
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": The "Ch" in "Chevy" is pronounced like, well, that in "Chase", not "sh" as in the common nickname for Chevrolet.
- Name's the Same: As, of all things, a bank. Both Chevy Chase the actor and the bank (before it was bought out by Capital One) are named after the town of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
- The Pete Best: To Steely Dan. He was the drummer in Donald Fagen and Walter Becker's proto-Steely Dan band The Leather Canary when they were all at Bard College in the late '60s. This entry satisfies the statutory requirement to mention the connection between Chevy Chase and Steely Dan in any general article on either subject.
- The Prima Donna: As his career went on, Chase developed a reputation for being one giant chore to direct and/or work with. Often getting into arguments with whoever was directing, not getting along with his cast-mates and being described as just generally unpleasant.