This won’t come as a surprise, but Bill Murray and Chevy Chase haven’t always hit it off. The low point, as Saturday Night Live alums Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman recalled in a new interview, was when the two spiky personalities fought in John Belushi’s locker room right before a show.
Curtin and Newman reviewed the scuffle of 1978 on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen”. “I think Jane and I – and Gilda [Radner] – they both saw it, ”said Newman. “It was very sad and painful and terrible.”
There have been various reports of the cause over the years. Some claim the fight started after Murray joked about Chase’s deteriorating marriage to Jacqueline Carlin, to which Chase responded with a joke about Murray’s appearance. Speaking to Howard Stern, Chase said it had to do with rumors Belushi had spread because he was jealous of Chase’s success (uh-huh). Whichever way it started, two of the funniest actors of their generation dropped the horns right before SNL started.
“I think they both knew what to tell each other that was going to hurt the most,” Newman said. “That is, I think, the impetus.”
“It was the same kind of tension you would get in a family,” added Curtin, “and everyone goes to their corner because they don’t want to deal with the tension and it was awkward. They could understand that these two bull elk were attacking each other, so the testosterone soared and something happened. “
The two men were shooting caddyshack soon after, and any hard feelings were blown away by this huge box office hit. In retrospect, the events served as a kind of starter for decades of on-set unrest served by the comedy titans. It is only in the past few years that Chase has stepped up with the current SNL line-up, inspiring Pete Davidson to call him a “bloody fool”. He also dropped the N word during Community production and, according to Donald Glover, made racist jokes between takes.
As for Murray, he’s been cleaning up since his wilder days, but in 2019 Richard Dreyfuss remembered him as a “drunken tyrant” on the set of What About Bob? Last year the Doobie Brothers wrote him a cease and desist letter after his golf apparel company used one of their songs without permission.