An Evening with Comedy Legend Chevy Chase: Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, 2018
In 1986 I took a very nice girl on a date to see the film Three Amigos! (starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Chevy Chase) at the now long-gone independent Lonsdale cinema in Carlisle. She didn’t laugh once whilst I never stopped laughing at the daft silly hilarious film and never saw her again. I then went to college and found friends who appreciated absurd surreal humour.
In the 1980’s, throughout my business study years at both Carlisle College and Staffordshire then Polytechnic now University, I became a very big fan of the American comedians who were garnered from the seminal US TV series Saturday Night Live. Still running today, back then the series produced comedians who all became big film stars such as Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, John Belushi and Chevy Chase. Chase was a co-founder and writer as well as performer on the show which led to a brilliant comic film career. At the end of 2017, I was delighted when it was announced that Chase would be appearing for one night only live at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London in January 2018. I snapped up a ticket.
I was expecting great things. In 2011 I had seen and loved watching Steve Martin perform with his blue grass band The Steep Canyon Rangers at the same venue. As I sat in the packed audience at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2018 wondering what was going to happen, I began humming You Can call Me Al by Paul Simon (where Chase memorably appeared in the video) and thinking about all the funny films Chase appeared in that had made me laugh so much: hits like the National Lampoon series, Fletch, Three Amigos! and Spies Like Us (with Dan Ackroyd).
Chase is a master of the bizarre. Famous for his pratfalls, funny quizzical expressions and zany take on life, he has always made me laugh out loud. When Chase first appeared – a little older and wiser, but still with the anarchic glint in his eye he was ready for an evening of laughter. The show took the form of an interview with classic film clips from Chase’s career. This set-up would have been perfect for chat show hosts Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton to interview Chase but presumably they were not asked or where unavailable. Instead Chase was interviewed by the inexplicable choice of Radio DJ Mike Read who looked bewildered throughout the entire evening. I have nothing against Read and I wish him well but it was wrong for him to host the show. Read’s bafflement worked in Chase’s favour only to fuel the film star’s chaotic sense of humour making his answers to questions all the more funny and the audience loving him more. The stories he recollected from his amazing life were comedy gold nuggets told with sincerity, humour and his trade-mark dry wit.
Overall, it was an enjoyable evening of very happy, nostalgic and funny memories from a great comedy film star.