Oh joy, another chapter in the Dan Harmon and Chevy Chase angry-voice-mails saga. Is no one raised by Wasps anymore? Some things should stay private. The latest is yet another “leaked” conversation in which Chase derides Harmon and Community; apparently, the message is from March 2011. That’s right around the time Greendale was in the throes of its serious Pierce problem. Here’s the call, from CeleBuzz:
In it, Chase complains that Harmon “doesn’t get his humor at all, or what is it that I do that’s funny that actually makes people laugh.” He says that his best moments are edited out, and that Harmon is “missing the fucking point.” “This is not my kind of comedy,” Chas says. “I thought you hired me for what I do that’s funny. You’ve got to give me some range.”
“I really like you, I think your writing is great, I think everything you do is great,” Chase tells Harmon, but he complains that Harmon isn’t on set and doesn’t edit the show himself, so Harmon doesn’t know what’s getting lost. “If you want me on this fucking show again, I got news for you: I don’t want it! It’s just a fucking mediocre sitcom,” Chase says. “I want people to laugh and this isn’t funny. It ain’t funny to me because I’m 67-years-old and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been making a lot of people laugh a lot better than this.”
First, let’s all just say yikes. People are carrying around a lot of hostility! Second, Chase is coming across as a real assbag, but he’s a little bit right: The kind of humor he thinks is really funny, and the kind he thought he was hired for, isn’t really the kind of humor he uses on Community. It’s not a gag-based show, there’s not a ton of physical comedy, and it’s paced completely differently than other shows. A joke that kills live can be dead in the water on a single-camera show (and vice versa), and Community in particular has very weird and constantly shifting comic rhythms. Does Chevy Chase like Community? No, and there are way classier ways of dealing with that.
Pierce isn’t really like Clark Griswold, or Fletch, or Dusty Bottom. Pierce isn’t a pleasant buffoon or a cool, sarcastic zinger-machine. He’s not a leading man, he’s not a family man — he’s barely one of the gang. Pierce is a sad character; he’s someone who’s deeply pathetic, can be very cruel, and to whom people rarely show genuine kindness. No one likes him. That doesn’t make him unfunny, but it is a specific kind of funny, and now we know — now we all know — that it’s just not Chevy Chase’s cup of tea.
For future reference, Chevy, that’s a nicer way of saying, “It’s just a mediocre fucking sitcom.”
Speaking of nicer ways to do things, attention, Dan Harmon: maybe stop recording conversations and then playing them for people.