Chevy Chase Reflects on Becoming an ‘80s Icon

by Caitlin Berard

With close to 100 movies and TV shows behind him, Chevy Chase is a household name. In the 80s, however, the now-legendary comedic actor was just getting started. After getting his start in an underground comedy ensemble called Channel One in 1967, Chase moved on to becoming one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live in 1975 and made an immediate impact.

In an appraisal of SNL cast members, Rolling Stone wrote, “Chase might be the most underrated SNL player. It took him only one season to define the franchise. Without that deadpan arrogance, the whole SNL style of humor would fall flat.”

His time with SNL earned him the title of “the funniest man in America,” and in the late 70s, his career reached new heights when he was cast as Eric Stratton in the National Lampoon franchise. By the 1980s, Chevy Chase was a full-blown superstar, and in a recent interview with CBS Sunday Morning, he was given a chance to reflect on his career boom.

CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod reminds Chase of this instant success. “Suddenly, you’re the guy on the cover of magazines, you’re the first among equals. Was that odd?” Chase replies with a laugh, “No. I felt pretty strongly that I was the funniest.”

They move on to discuss the string of 80s films that would cement Chase’s position as a comedy legend: Fletch, the National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, and The Three Amigos. These movies, with a few others, did more than a billion dollars in the box office in the 1980s (roughly 3.5 billion today).

On his 80s hits, Chase remarks, “Oh, those wonderful movies, good God. That was my mark of success, getting into the movies and making them funny.”

Jon Hamm Scores Role in Reprise of Iconic 80s Chevy Chase Film

Good news, Chevy Chase fans. One of Chase’s most popular 80s films, Fletch, is getting a reboot! Now, we know what you’re thinking – remakes are risky. But it’s not a remake! Instead, it will act as the third installment in the Fletch franchise, Confess, Fletch.

Chevy Chase passing the torch to Jon Hamm as the role of the main character, Irwin Fletcher, is a tough pill to swallow. Thankfully, however, Hamm understands the importance of the films and isn’t taking his role lightly. In a recent interview, Hamm said, “We’ve got an excellent script and an excellent director attached. It’s big shoes to fill, obviously, but it’s a reboot, not a remake, so we’re going back to the novels and really breaking it down.”

Rebooting a classic is always a risk, even when it’s a continuation rather than a full-blown remake. That said, Jon Hamm, the star of Mad Men, has an impressive resume of his own. We have no doubt that he’ll bring his A-game to the role of Irwin Fletcher!