First, Chevy Chase walked off set during filming of Community’s season three. Then series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon chewed Chase out in front of cast and crew—and Chase’s family—at the wrap party. In response, Chase left Harmon an angry voice mail (listen here), which Harmon then “accidentally” leaked at a comedy show. The feuding culminated in Harmon getting sacked (from his own show!), and Community would go on without him, but still +1 on the number of Chevy Chases in the cast. Which brings us to now—with only one or two episodes left to film for what is almost certainly Community’s last season, Chevy Chase has left the show.
In sports, Chase would be called a locker room cancer, the kind of person who sucks all the energy out of the room and poisons the atmosphere surrounding the team. Locker room cancers are a constant distraction, creating a vortex of drama and negativity (see also: Terrell Owens, Carlos Zambrano). I’m a Community apologist, true, but it’s really hard to see Chase as anything other than Community’s locker room cancer. Why? Because even though Harmon, supposedly the source of his discontent, exited the show, Chevy Chase was still unhappy and making sure everyone around him knew it.
Just last month Chase indulged in an on-set rant that included the use of the N-word. He didn’t like the direction of his character, Pierce Hawthorne, and he chose the most public, inflaming way he could to convey his displeasure. To be fair, Pierce is a bigot and chauvinist. Here’s the thing, though—everyone on Community is horrible. It’s a show starring a group of not very nice people, each unpleasant in a different way (Jeff Winger is a narcissist and liar, Britta is argumentative, Annie is obsessive, et cetera). Abed and Troy, the nicest people on the show, often disregard their friends in favor of living in an elaborate fantasy world. So, yes, Pierce is unpleasant, but so is everyone else. It’s not like Chase was singled out to be the lone assh*le in the group.
No matter what you may think of Harmon—I like Community, but I’m not much of a Harmon acolyte—the fact that Chase’s difficulty with the show continued after his departure means that the drama surrounding the show is more on him than anyone else. Yes, Harmon also acted childishly by releasing the voice mail, accidentally or not (I would argue in this day and age there is no expectation of privacy if you say something in an arena where cell phones are present), and berating Chase at the wrap party isn’t particularly classy either. But Harmon’s leaving was supposed to be the end of it. Yet Chase is still going at it, acting out and causing drama, and now, finally, exiting the show himself.
Chevy Chase has wrecked havoc with Community. He precipitated the firing of Dan Harmon, only to make an early exit of his own once his nemesis was already gone. Which just seems like a hugely dick move, doesn’t it? Like, “Haha, you’re fired, and oh yeah, I quit anyway.” He couldn’t have been the one to leave after season three and let Harmon see his show through to the end? No, of course he couldn’t. Because he’s a locker room cancer, and locker room cancers can never just bow out gracefully. They must always cause the most chaos possible. Congratulations, Chevy. You’re turned Community into a sideshow.