Sunday, December 30, 2007

Some Thoughts About Chevy Chase

A few weeks ago Chevy Chase came to Flashpoint to talk to our students and I didn't have the time to blog about his appearance, but he has been on my mind so better late than never.

I want to begin by saying that until meeting him, I didn't really think anything about Chevy Chase. I liked him on SNL 30+ years ago and a few of his movie appearances, but that was about it. However, after meeting him and seeing him talk I have become a fan. The following are some of my highlights of his hour speaking to students. First off he was very funny almost the entire time. It is clear he just is funny.

1) Collaboration. Almost the first thing out of his mouth. He talked about how important it is in the arts to work and collaborate with others. As faculty we preach that all the time, but somehow I think coming from a star it will have more impact.

2) The importance of writing. He credits his success to being a writer first and a performer second. Again, as faculty we talk about developing students' writing skills. This, too, I hope will sink in.

3) He is really smart. It is clear he is well read and can draw from a wealth of knowledge.

4) His comedic influences. His father, a noted political and social commentator. Chevy told a very funny story about how a few years ago his father cracked up Mike Wallace and others at the US Open tennis matches by referring to the ball boys as an 11 letter epithet that begins with C that years ago got Lenny Bruce arrested. The point being that anarchy and surprise are a big part of his comedic background. He also cited Groucho and Ernie Kovacs (Chevy and I have something in common afterall) as major influences on his career.

5) Schools. He admitted as a young person he had issues and was sent to "nurturing" schools. He wished he had a place- like Flashpoint- that would have allowed him to be himself.

6) In the middle of his talk, sort of out of nowhere, he launched into "Live from New York it's Saturday Night!" When he did I got goose bumps and it surprised me. I had that "Wow, it's really him," moment.

I hope our students got as much out of him as I did. Last week I flipped on the TV and there he was in Christmas Vacation. Not a great film, but I watched for awhile out of my new found respect for Chevy Chase.

PeterH

1 comment:

mrliteral said...

One thing I've always admired about him as a comic actor - he's known for being silly, but quite often in his movies he shows a great willingness (and ability) to be subtle, and even to play it straight. Both his silliness and subtlety are on display in Christmas Vacation; that movie never fails to make me laugh.