On the latest episode of WTF with Marc Maron, comedy legend Chevy Chase discusses his place in American comedy history, admitting at one point choosing to stick with SNL rather than continue a musical career with his pals Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.
As longtime fans are aware, in the lead-up to his breakout on Saturday Night Live’s first season, which led to hit films like Caddyshack and Vacation, Chevy Chase had been performing with musicians Walter Becker and Donald Fagen who would later go on to form Steely Dan. "I was a good Jazz drummer," he tells host Marc Maron, although he was only with the duo for only a year or two. Asked if it was clear at the time if they were going to go on to be such a successful act, Chevy laughs, "No. I didn't care. I loved doing that kind of thing, and I still did it many times later with other people, but I just didn't want to be a Rock n' Roll drummer kind of guy."
"We made a record," Chevy continues, "'Chameleon Church' was the name... hideous. Oh we must have sold a million. You could imagine... Spell it. That's even worse!"
His choice to go down the comedy road, Chevy says, was simply because "I was funny. "So were Ken Shapiro and those guys... we started Channel 1 The Groove Tube in New York City."
From there he met eventual SNL castmates Bill Murray and John Belushi, as well as Christopher Guest and others on the National Lampoon Radio Hour. "A great group, funny people -- and me," Chevy explains, out of which the Lampoon: Lemmings stage show was born. "Chris [Guest] and I were in High School together and college. He called and said, 'We need a drummer who can do comedy.'"
Comparing comedy and music, Chevy sees them both as being cut from the same cloth; "They're both improv, basically," he says, but was destined to take the comedic path that he's become so well known for. "One doesn't make a decision; one is simply the funniest man in the world."
Listen to the full WTF with Marc Maron episode featuring Chevy Chase above -- now playing on Audacy -- and follow along for more revealing conversations with your favorite comedians, actors, directors, writers, authors, musicians, and folks from all walks of life.