Joel McHale on Chevy Chase using the N word: he said Richard Pryor said it was ok

My imaginary lover, Joel McHale, is doing the talk show circuit to promote the fourth season premiere of Community. It’s on tonight at 8pm on NBC and as I mentioned yesterday, I have not been paid or even mildly encouraged to promote the show. (A PR person from Hulu did send us something on Community so I’ll shoot them a link of thanks, but it’s not like NBC is trying much.) Joel, on the other hand, is busting his cute butt and I’m enjoying seeing so much of it/him. He was on The Late Show last night, where he told some funny self-deprecating stories about how dangerous his childhood was. (You can watch that video here. Joel comes on at 20 minutes in.) As for Community’s fate, Joel explained that it’s going to air finally but will not seem topical considering that there are several holiday episodes that will be shown much too late:

On how Community got shafted by NBC
There was talk us going 26 episodes but we did 13. We were supposed to start on October 19th but they pushed it to February 7th, so our Halloween episode is going to be awesome, and wait till we roll out Thanksgiving and Christmas.

[From The Late Show]

Joel went on to explain some of the more bizarre plot points they’ve covered, like the two paintgun war episodes, the secret trampoline guarded by a former Nazi, the monkey in the air ducts and the puppy parade. That show is so incredible and clever, and my favorite episode remains the video game one, Digital Estate Planning. (“Troy and Abed shooting lava!“)

On the Late Show, Joel didn’t cover much that was controversial – he didn’t even mention that the air duct monkey is named “Annie’s Boobs”! I guess he figured that would be too obscure for a wider audience. On Howard Stern he let loose a little, though, and gave some insider information on how Chevy Chase left the show, after having dropped the N Word in protest of his character’s racism. We already heard all about that when it happened, but it was interesting to get Joel’s take:

On Chevy Chase leaving the show
He didn’t want to be there.

When I would try to [talk to Chevy] he would just try to fight me. He physically wanted to fight me.

On Chevy using the N word
You shouldn’t just be throwing that around… It was one of those things on set where he used it. When he said it I was like “we are now at defcon 1.”

He was protesting his character’s racism. He didn’t like the way that his character Pierce was going.

He had also said in the past, he said that Richard Pryor said it was ok for him to call him that. He literally, he used that!

[From Video on Howard Stern's site]

So Chevy Chase used the N word because Richard Prior, who died about seven years ago, told him that it was ok for him to call him that. He is so out of touch. Anyway I’m not sure if Chevy is even going to be on this season, I assume he is for a few episodes at least as they’ve long since wrapped filming. This is likely the end for Community, considering that they’ve also canned their show runner (who was incidentally in a public spat with Chevy as well). I’ll enjoy every episode and I’ll also watch the hell out of Joel McHale during his press circuit. He looks so sexy in this clip from Howard Stern (below), just chilling on the couch in all black with those kick ass boots. Oh and Joel is going to be on The View this morning too! I’ll be sure to watch it.

Joel and his lucky wife at a SAG party:

Photo credit:

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27 Responses to “Joel McHale on Chevy Chase using the N word: he said Richard Pryor said it was ok”

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  1. T.Fanty says:

    Richard Pryor publicly declared in his Sunset Strip standup that he would never use that word again. And gave good reasons for it, too. It’s still accessible on DVD. Any Richard Pryor defence is full of crap.

    • Ms Kay says:

      Gosh, that stand up is one of the best of the best! Rev Jesse Jackson was in the crowd did you notice?! The Jungle bit has me in tears of laughter every single time, I don’t watch animals docs the same way anymore :-D

      I also love his other one Live in Concert, brilliant!!!

      • delia says:

        IMO Richard Pryor’s “Live on the Sunset Strip” was the best stand up I have ever seen. It takes a true genius to transform real tragedy, including being hospitalized for 3rd degree burns, into hilarious comedy without losing the sorrow and pain that created it. Absolute brilliance! Unfortunately, off stage esp. when he was a coke/crack addict, Pryor was also a real jerk, even by his own admission. Most comics are.

        McHale is one of the rare exceptions. Listen to him on Marc Maron’s podcast and compare him to Maron’s other guests. Maron, an angry, jealous, embittered man himself, tries to get the darkest side from his comedic guests and usually succeeds. But McHale was his usual sweet, decent, funny, charming self and some of Maron’s fans actually complained about it!

      • T.Fanty says:

        I actually teach his stand-up in one of my comedy classes. It really is a masterpiece.

        That said, I still think Chris Rock’s Bigger and Blacker is probably the best stand-up routine I have ever seen. And his two discussions of the N-word just make Pryor’s point. I’m not sure if CB will allow a link to be posted, as it’s pretty NSFW, but look it up.

      • Ranunculus says:

        Richard Pryor’s talent as a comedic is still what other comics today are compared with. He was so ahead of his time. Pure comedic genius! Honest, self deprecating, daring, clever and damn funny. And yes he did not use the N-word after he visited Africa. He thought it was utterly disrespectful to call black people N******!

  2. Jenna says:


    Ugh. I REALLY want more Community to enjoy! It’s really witty! And come on, I need more Chang! Digital Estate Planning was amazing though. Especially that ending with Troy and Abed planning to raise a child they thought they found. LOL :D

    • RocketMerry says:

      Me too, I want it to continue!

      Sigh, maybe they’ll find some kind soul that will see the awesome-ness of the show and shill out a sh*tload of money for its production.

      Or, you know, just give them an old camera and some cheap lights so they can film McHale all day long. That would be fine, too.

      • delia says:

        Joel McHale = more cuteness, sweetness, and fun than baskets full of puppies, kittens and fluffy baby ducks. “Just Joel 24/7″ is a show I would definitely watch.

      • Lee says:

        Yes! That would be my hope. That if NBC cans Community after this season, TBS, Hulu or Netflix will pick it up for future seasons like they’ve done with a few other shows. I am nervous about a Harmon-less show though. Here’s hoping it’s as good as ever! I know I’ll be watching (and probably re-watching) tonight!

        I think the best hope Community has at getting renewed with NBC though is that both 30 Rock and the Office are over this season so they’re probably desperate for Thursday comedies. Fingers crossed!

      • Jenna says:

        Maybe a cable channel will have mercy on us Human Beings?!?!? What would I do without the Dean?! No more Troy & Abed in the morning would slay me! :(

    • Holly says:

      Ahh, I wish the cast was more united (though maybe they will be without Chevy?), because I can see Netflix picking this up and pulling an Arrested Development!!

      I would love nothing more than for Netflix to become the powerhouse of awesome shows that Networks spat on and finally see some of the network guys/gals sucking lemons–Go Joel!!

    • Jellybean says:

      No such thing as too much Chang!

  3. poppy says:

    pass or not, he shouldn’t use that word. but, this is a complete asshole we’re talking about. he’s going to do whatever he wants, which drags his crappy reputation down even lower.
    defeats the whole purpose of his complaining and trying to not play a hateful, bigoted, butt-hole character.

    • Erinn says:

      Not to defend him at all, because I think he’s a dumbass, but I think he basically was saying ‘what next, I’m going to use [that word]?’

      Not the right way to go about it at all…but if that was the context, it makes a little more sense. But doesn’t excuse it.

    • Troubadour says:

      I heard Chase often acted like a piece of work from someone who worked for him back in the early 90s. This is not new.

      Strangely enough, I think acting like an ass makes people funnier (a la Jeremy Clarkson and the hotel manager in Fawlty Towers).

      The irony of him acting like an ass while complaining about his character being portrayed as an ass is comedy GOLD! Very Andy Kaufman, but I’m sure Chevy isn’t aware of the irony.

  4. Erinn says:

    I think Chevy is in every episode except for a couple… unless they’ve re-shot things. I’m so sad that NBC shafted them. It’s an amazing show. Unfortunately, shows like 2 and a Half Men appeal to the wider, dumber audience so we keep seeing things like that. The smarter, wittier shows are the ones that don’t last as long, usually.

    Also, need to add, I love Joel.

  5. CocoBelly says:

    Joel is so dreamy, love his wit.

  6. diva says:

    I love Community! Glad its back on.

  7. bea says:

    Saw him on the Late Show last night – he did a great job of not getting negative about NBC and their weird/terrible treatment of one of their funniest shows.

    His wife is cute and he def seemed like a committed family man.

    Regarding the “N” word – I live in a very urban neighborhood and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t hear someone get called that (in greeting as well as in anger) or don’t hear it in a song, BUT the average white dude should refrain from using it. It’s just too much of a hot button issue. Too bad about Chevy – Community seemed like a nice later-in-life addition to his career.

  8. Mia 4S says:

    Joel’s been a permanent fixture on my Freebie Five for years, love him!!

    My favourite Chevy is an ass moment from the Stern interview though is that Mr. Chase apparently feels he is above TV because he’s a “movie guy”. Hahahahahaha! Riiiggghhttt…

  9. Gine says:

    Love Joel. And kudos for the whole cast and crew for putting up with Chevy for as long as they have. Lord knows I couldn’t do it.

  10. DorothyZbornak says:

    Joel McHale is so, so hot. And the fact that he’s hilarious and seems fairly intelligent just intensifies that hotness to me.

    I’m really hoping that after NBC cancels Community, TBS or FX or someone will pick it up.

  11. Firestar says:

    I love Joel McHale! He`s cute, funny and is a good actor to boot. nbc went from must see tv to crap tv due to their idiotic greenlighting of unfunny shows like Whitney and shafting whitty, well written shows like Community. I have totally forgotten about the show & assumed it was cancelled but I will be sure to watch it. And as a Black woman, IT`S NOT COOL FOR ANYONE, EVEN BLACK PEOPLE TO EVER UTTER THAT HATEFUL WORD. Chevy Chase is an embittered man with serious issues. I read things about him years ago & I am not surprised at his behavior. So self destructive!

  12. KellyinSeattle says:

    My black aquaintances use that word regularly; it always grates on me.

  13. Lee says:

    Just an FYI on Chevy’s involvement with this season; I read that there were only 2 episodes left to film when he left and they were filmed out of order so he will appear in the season finale. The producers implied that they had some clever ideas on how to incorporate Pierce in those last 2 episodes (animation or something perhaps?) even without Chevy on board.

  14. Seagulls says:

    Chevy has earned my enmity for all time. The show that was already (unfairly) on the rocks – count Internet, networks, people are watching more than you think! – he got the showrunner fired and only then got himself canned. Just go to he–, Chevy. He was a blight on the show. Let me rephrase: he totally Britta-d it.

    Thanks for the McHale! I miss Annie and Shirley and Abed and Troy and the dean….