In a second and more candid audio recording of Chase, obtained exclusively by Celebuzz, the veteran actor is caught on tape ripping the prime-time program that he helped build, admitting to the show’s creator Dan Harmon: “It’s just a f*cking mediocre sitcom! I want people to laugh and this isn’t funny.”
An angry Chase added, “It ain’t funny to me because I’m 67-years-old and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been making a lot of people laugh — a lot better than this.”
You can listen to the voicemail exclusively on Celebuzz in the audio above.
The release of the recording is a potentially fatal blow to the beleaguered series that is already reeling from an all-time series ratings low last week, totaling just 3.1 million viewers nationwide.
NBC is yet to confirm if Community will even be back for a fourth season and after the release of this audio, it seems improbable that Chase — and his spacey senior student character Pierce — will be back, even if the sitcom does return.
Though Harmon apologized for making the first voicemail public at a comedy show, this second recording demonstrates just how deep is their wound and long-running the feud.
On the voicemail, purpotedly from March 2011, Harmon can be heard deriding his high-priced star in front of an audience of “stunned” production executives who were “shocked that it was being played to them… as an apparent joke,” according to a source who was there and whom spoke to Celebuzz on the condition of anonymity.
When Chase told Harmon “obviously you don’t get my humor at all,” the 39-year-old writer/creator, boasted: “That’s true.”
The three-time Emmy winner added, “Or what is it that I do that’s funny that actually makes people laugh.”
“I do agree with that,” Harmon responded.
A clearly frustrated Chase went on to tell Harmon that he was not able to do what he was hired to do — make people laugh.
He criticized the writer’s focus on the show’s storyline, saying: “Like everyone gives a sh*t about the f*cking story when they don’t even know who the f*cking characters are.”
Chase encouraged Harmon to turn the focus away from the “love affairs and kissing” between character Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) and Britta Perry (Gillian Jacobs) — and to make it about him — so that he could “make people laugh.”
“Come on, man,” Chase said.
“You’re missing the f*cking point! I mean, this is not my kind of comedy. I thought you hired me for what I do that’s funny. You’ve got to give me some range.”
At one point during the message, though, Chase actually complimented Harmon’s writing as “great.”
When contacted on Monday night, a spokesperson for Chase told Celebuzz that she would not comment on something that was 12 months old.
The voicemail in full went as follows:
Hi, Dan. It’s Chevy. Chevy Chase. I’ve looked at now at three shows in a row — that’s last week and a couple this week. I’ve watched more than that but the point I want to make is this: there’s a disconnect somewhere either between what is actually shot and the humor on the set when we shoot it. The final product, the editing — I don’t know who’s doing the editing and making the choices that count the most but I will say this: the other part of the disconnect is that obviously you don’t get my humor at all. Or what is it that I do that’s funny that actually makes people laugh. You have two choices: the storyline or either is — like everyone gives a sh*t about the f*cking story when they don’t even know who the f*cking characters are — or there’s make people laugh. You know what I do. I don’t appreciate when there’s a great joke like when the cast being ripped off by and pointing out things that are on or in my cast and it’s just cut out. It’s just cut out. There’s just one thing line about the thing I eat that’s in my cast when you had big laugh that’s just physical. I’m just talking laughing. Again, tonight, I’m looking at two– I’m doing sh*t in that f*cking place in that wheelchair and it’s cut down, down, down, down. So it’s what? So people can following the f*cking story between Joel and Gillian and love affairs and kissing? Come on, man! You’re missing the f*cking point! I mean, this is not my kind of comedy. I thought you hired me for what I do that’s funny. You’ve got to give me some range. And then you have an editor with no f*cking sense of humor and no sense of me cutting things down to the point where I just look like an asshole! I don’t like it. I should have this talk with you face to face but I didn’t want to because I really like you. I think your writing is great. I think everything you do is great. But the really problem is, Dan, that you’re not there when we shoot and you’re not there when they edit so you don’t even know what you have. You don’t even know what it is that I’m f*cking doing and if you want me on this f*cking show again, I got news for you, I don’t want it! It’s just a f*cking mediocre sitcom! I want people to laugh and this isn’t funny. It ain’t funny to me because I’m 67-years-old and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been making a lot of people laugh a lot better than this.
According to Deadline, Chase and Harmon have been at war since the National Lampoons Vacation star stormed off the set of the show on the last day of filming, without filming a scene that was to conclude the season finale.
At the series wrap party and in retribution, Harmon allegedly gave an explicit speech in which he encouraged the crew to join him in saying “F*ck you, Chevy!”
On March 4, after the first tape of Chase calling Harmon a “fat [bleep]” emerged, Harmon apologized to fans for releasing the tape, likening it to a “giant fart with my name on it that you’ve been inhaling.”
Writing on his website — without mentioning Chase by name — Harmon said:
“I made the horrible, childish, self-obsessed, unaware, naive and unprofessional decision to play someone’s voicemail to me,” he wrote. “He didn’t intend for 150 people to listen and giggle at it, and I didn’t intend for millions of people to read angry reports about it. I was doing what I always do, and always get in trouble for doing, and always pay a steep price for doing. I was thinking about myself and I was thinking about making people laugh. I was airing my dirty laundry for a chuckle.”
Even then, some long-time television observers were not surprised at the simmering tension.
Los Angeles Times television blogger Patrick Kevin Daynoted this wasn’t Chase’s first feud over the course of his career. He wrote on April 3:
“There’s all the not-so-nice things pretty much anyone associated with Saturday Night Live has had to say about him over the years. And there’s the infamous Chevy Chase roast that’s notable for being one of the meanest events in that institution’s long history.”
“These latest comments from Chevy Chase just come off as more bitterness from a once-legendary comic actor who doesn’t seem to understand the business or his place in it anymore,” Maggie Furlong from HuffPost TV told Celebuzz.
“While I don’t think that anything he could say would hurt the show at this point, it’s become very obvious that that’s what he’s trying to do. It’s a sad fact, but he truly doesn’t care if the show continues or not.”
Furlong interviewed Chase for HuffPost TV on the Community set back in February where he was very blunt about his stance on the show. “I have creative issues with this show. I always have,” Chase said, later adding: “I probably won’t be around that much longer, frankly.”
Chase — who said “I’m funny… Pierce isn’t funny” — compared the more heartwarming elements of the show to “being relegated to hell and watching Howdy Doody for the rest of your life.”
“Fans of Community obviously don’t agree with Chase,” Furlong told Celebuzz. The L.A.-based TV critic, a member of the Television Critics Association, added:
“Neither do the creative execs at Sony and NBC. They’ve stood behind this show for the past three seasons because they believe it’s an important piece in their Thursday night comedy block — one that brings in a rabid, and much younger, fan base, no matter how small. Since the show recently inked a lucrative syndication deal, a fourth season would practically pay for itself in reruns. And if Chase wants to leave, as it seems, the money previously earmarked for his salary could go a long way.”
The Chase vs. Harmon feud has drawn comparisons with other notorious Hollywood power struggles, like the spat which saw Charlie Sheen replaced on Two and a Half Men by Ashton Kutcher.
Click through our gallery to view others who’ve become entangled in behind-the-scenes conflict and tell us in the comments below: Are you Team Chase or Team Harmon?