It is the 30th Anniversary of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and to celebrate, Chevy Chase is doing a tour that involves the audience watching the movie, followed by a Q&A. Husband and I attended the Columbus OH event. I will blog a “fun movie blog” about the actual movie separately because the movie really is funny, even though Chevy Chase was not.
Until last night I would say that the worst celebrity event I had attended was the one for a Bruce Campbell book signing. IMHO, he was a dick to his fans. My friends said he was “in character”. I didn’t like him enough to make excuses for his poor behavior. A close second was the time a handler for John Rhys Davies told my son (who was prepared to drop a mint on merch to sign) that the actor refused to allow pictures even though you are paying to see him. The person was rude, Davies was rude and Alex said: “Fine, I don’t need to meet him and he doesn’t deserve my money”, handed the person all the merch and walked away.
After last night I can honestly say that the Chevy Chase event is, by far, the worst celebrity event I have ever attended.
The evening started nicely for us with dinner at a local pub. We easily found parking close to the venue (another story entirely). Our seats were great with good legroom. The movie was a blast to watch. With a sold out theater of this size, the laughter was contagious. There was a great laugher about three rows behind us. I loved listening to their barrel laugh during the funnier scenes. The audience was primed and in good spirits. They cheered and clapped at various parts and were eager when the movie concluded to see and hear Chevy Chase.
When I purchased the tickets, I had forgotten / didn’t know the extent that Chevy Chase was notoriously not a great person. My brain was wrapped around the memories of seeing the film in the theater and thinking it was hilarious, coupled with my Dad’s love of the goofy movies like Caddyshack.
They wheeled Chase out in a wheelchair, slumped over and mouth hanging ajar. It was a sight gag and he got out of the chair, greeted the interviewer and made his way to his own chair on stage. Then came the almost hour long rambling of someone who was either in the throes of dementia, high, drunk, or ill. It was painful to watch. People got up and left. The interviewer would ask a question and he would start a rambling non-answer bit that was sometimes on subject, sometimes not. After a few minutes of “all over the place”, he would look at her and either say: “I don’t understand the question”, “What was the question”, “That’s all I know about that” or “That’s what I do”. Every time it would elicit laughter (sometimes sad laughter if you know what I mean) from some of the audience. It was annoying AF for me.
Even now, I am trying to figure out if it was his schtick, his addiction or his disease. Or – a combo of all. Was he high? Shame on his handlers. Was he in full swing old person confusion? Shame on his handlers. Is he just that poor of a presenter? Then shame on him. He had the perfect opportunity, with a full amazing crowd, to have an event of a lifetime. But it fell flat. Utterly and horribly flat.
Throughout the whole Q&A, the ushers STRONGLY policed the audience and menaced anyone with their phone out attempting to capture of photo of video. I sincerely believe that Chase’s handlers insisted on this to keep video of him off the net.
I was able to capture a small clip of him. I am mad that I didn’t think to capture one that encapsulated his mannerisms better. I cannot find one posted to YouTube either.
I felt horrible for the woman interviewing him. What a horrible nightmare to have to corral a celebrity and try to bring him back to the question at hand.
If you are considering this event, I would strongly suggest passing on it.
“I’m Chevy Chase and you’re not” and apparently he isn’t either.