Thursday, November 29, 2007

'SNL' Rehired Chevy Chase 'For Scale'

from - by roger friedman

Before the writer's strike, Chevy Chase's return to "Saturday Night Live" segment "Weekend Update" was supposed to be a recurring role.

"I met with Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers and they hired me," Chase told me on Tuesday. "I told them I'd love to come in and do occasional pieces about politics. They're paying me scale, which is more than I was making when I did the show originally," he laughed.

Chase says his first appearance got mucked up by two things.

"The writing wasn't so good," he said. Also, he was thrown by the audience giving him a standing ovation. "I didn't want to overshadow the new kids," he says. "I was shocked."

Chase has a lot of irons in the fire besides "SNL," including a two-episode guest shot on "Brothers and Sisters" playing Sally Field's first love.

"I'm out after that," he said. "My character's a Democrat and they're all Republicans. He can't take it."

Thursday night, Chase hosts the 10th annual Collaborating for a Cure Benefit at the 26th Street Armory in Murray Hill for the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. It's the second-biggest annual fundraiser in New York. Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh from the Eagles are performing. Lots of stars will show up.

But meantime, did you know that "West Side Story" composer Leonard Bernstein almost guest-hosted "SNL" in its first season?

"The idea of John [Belushi] and Danny [Aykroyd] coming out doing a number from that show cracked us up," Chevy recalls.

He and writer Tom Schiller were invited by Bernstein to the New York Philharmonic to discuss the idea. After the show they went to see the famous virtuoso with a penchant for young men backstage.

"He put his hand on my knee. When we were leaving, he kissed me full-on, on the lips. I wagged my finger at him and said, 'No, no, no.' And that was the last we ever heard from him."

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