Who’s the Bigger Jerk, Dan Harmon or Chevy Chase?

Yesterday, Community showrunner Dan Harmon addressed his feud with Chevy Chase for the first time since it blew up over the weekend. If you’re just now dropping in on this little bit of drama, though, a brief recap: Chevy walked off set during the last day of Community shooting last month; Harmon then gave a “Fuck You, Chevy” speech at the wrap party, in front of Chevy’s family; Chevy retaliated with an explicit, possibly Beaujolais-influenced voice mail chewing Harmon out; Harmon accidentally leaked the voice mail after playing it at a comedy show in L.A. Good stuff, right?

OK, back to Harmon’s comments (which were delivered via a Tumblr post, of course). His main point of contention? That he’s a “selfish baby” and a “rude asshole” and the kind of massive jerk that would go and jeopardize his own show — and thereby jeopardize the entertainment and joy of millions of people — just for a laugh. Implied here: that he’s an even bigger jerk than Chevy Chase, an infamous, historic, world-renowned jerk. Can this possibly be true?

Mostly, Harmon explains how the voice mail made it to the outside world, and how that makes him the worst, and why he’s so, so sorry that he’s the worst:

There is … a monthly show I do in the back of a comic book store in Los Angeles in which I say things that I intend for 150 people to hear. I tell stories about what an unlovable asshole I am and the trouble it causes for me. I rant and rave about the world’s failure to meet my standards, I talk about being drunk and stupid and heartbroken and childish and crazy and self-obsessed and self loathing and how much I love myself for it.

It was in that venue, months ago, that I made the horrible, childish, self-obsessed, unaware, naive and unprofessional decision to play someone’s voicemail to me. He didn’t intend for 150 people to listen and giggle at it, and I didn’t intend for millions of people to read angry reports about it. I was doing what I always do, and always get in trouble for doing, and always pay a steep price for doing. I was thinking about myself and I was thinking about making people laugh. I was airing my dirty laundry for a chuckle. I ask people at those shows repeatedly to please think twice about youtubing clips of it (NOTE: Hear it here) because it doesn’t play well outside the back of a comic book store. I always accept the risk that a well-intending fan will upload clips and something scandalous will break wide, but the giant mistake I made was involving someone else in that game of russian roulette, someone that didn’t have an opportunity to say “yeah, hilarious, let’s do this.” That was a dumb, unclassy, inconsiderate move on my part. I’m very sorry it’s reflecting poorly on the show.

It’s important to me that you not mistake this for someone thinking they’re making it better, or explaining that they’re actually a swell person. I’m explaining that you’re right, I’m a bonehead, and it sucks, it blows up in my face on a regular basis. I put an unhealthy amount of stock in the opinions of strangers, that’s exactly what makes me do stupid things, and, poetically, that’s what makes the punishment so effective. Thirty people a day calling me an asshole makes me know and feel, in my heart, that I am an asshole. I’m a real “customer is always right” kind of guy in that regard.

Harmon talks a pretty good game, for sure. Yeah, it was messed up to reveal a private voice mail clearly left in a moment of passion (again, hear it here) — a moment of passion possibly inspired by his own screw-ups. (According to Deadline, “One [person] noted that the show indeed was ‘suffering through a “non-script day” ‘ when Chase walked off. Another claimed that most of the cast and crew members who attended the wrap party disapproved of Harmon’s behavior at the bash.”) And yeah, it was messed up not to imagine that the voice mail would find its way to the outside world, and that it could potentially affect the livelihood of the people who work on Harmon’s show. He truly goes out of his way to make himself sound like the top jerk in this situation.

But come on. This is Chevy Chase we’re talking about here. The same Chevy Chase that is hated by a long history of Saturday Night Live-ers, from John Belushi to Bill Murray to Jane Curtin to freakin’ world’s nicest man Will Ferrell. The same Chevy Chase that told Terry Sweeney, SNL’s first openly gay cast member, to “lick my balls.” And the same Chevy Chase who just told Dan Harmon that he can “suck my cock,” that his “writing is getting worse and worse,” that he’s fat and an alcoholic and that he’s “gonna live to be about 57, if you’re lucky, the way [he] eat[s]”?

Sorry, Harmon. Nice try. Chevy’s jerkiness is untouchable, unparalleled, undying.

Filed Under: Chevy Chase, Community, Dan Harmon, Television

Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad