Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman Revisit That Famous ‘SNL’ Fight
Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman, two of Saturday Night Live's original cast members, have opened up about witnessing the notorious backstage fight between Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.
"I think Jane and I and Gilda [Radner] [all] witnessed it," Newman said Thursday on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, recalling a 1978 spat between the comedy icons. "It was very sad and painful and awful."
Curtin compared the scuffle to the "tension that you would get in a family, and everybody goes to their corners because they don't want to have to deal with the tension. It was uncomfortable. You could understand: There were these two bull moose going at each other. The testosterone was surging, and stuff happens."
Chase and Murray weren't part of the same SNL cast, only appearing together in a couple episodes via Chase cameo. Chase left the show in Season 2, and Murray was hired as a replacement in 1977.
The incident occurred when Chase returned to guest-host an episode the following February, according to Chris Nashawaty's 2018 book, Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story. The mood reportedly grew tense through a series of comments and insults.
A physical altercation then happened five minutes before showtime, with Chase shouting profanity and Murray calling him "medium talent."
The duo later moved past their issues – naturally enough, through comedy: Chase and Murray co-starred in 1980's Caddyshack – though they only appeared together once, in a largely improvised take featuring their characters Ty Webb (Chase) and Carl Spackler (Murray).
Chase enthused to Nashawaty that Murray was "fucking hilarious" in their shared scene, noting that they "got over" their personal tension.
"I have nothing but admiration and affection for Bill," he said. "He still can be a surly character, to say the least. But ultimately he’s a good guy. Even though I’m the No. 1 star in the movie under the title, I’ll always think of Caddyshack as Billy’s movie."