‘SNL’s A. Whitney Brown Paid Strangers to Prank Chevy Chase

If there’s a better use of five dollars, we’d like to hear it
‘SNL’s A. Whitney Brown Paid Strangers to Prank Chevy Chase

It’s pretty hard not to dislike Chevy Chase with a fiery passion, thanks to his alleged repeated use of racial slurs, the numerous stories about him physically attacking people, and the mere existence of the movie Modern Problems

So it’s not all that surprising that some people would want to pull a mean-spirited practical joke on him — like the time that Jason Sudeikis, with a little help from Community creator Dan Harmon, left a phone message for Chase pretending to be Joe Biden.

But while that phone call was far from soul-crushing, one prank that really messed with Chase’s head was orchestrated by former Saturday Night Live writer, and frequent Weekend Update performer, A. Whitney Brown.

As Brown recently revealed on WTF with Marc Maron, during his time at SNL, he attended a celebrity-packed New York Yankees game along with Lorne Michaels and Chase, as well as music superstars Paul Simon and Paul McCartney. But sitting six rows ahead of Chase was pigeon-enthusiast Mike Tyson. While fans were lining up to meet Tyson, nobody was “paying attention to Chevy.” 

According to Brown, Chase was “getting more and more anxious” that he was being overlooked by the public in favor of Tyson, so he got up and briefly joined the boxer just to make sure that everyone in the crowd noticed him, too. At this point, Brown and Kids in the Hall producer Joe Forristal (also Michaels’ brother-in-law at the time) decided to further screw with Chase’s ego by asking an 8-year-old kid if he would help them prank the Fletch star for five bucks. The kid’s response? “Hell, yeah.”

So the kid was given instructions to approach Michaels, asking: “Hey aren’t you Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live? Can I have an autograph?” All while completely ignoring Chase, who was seated beside Michaels.

The pair also paid an “elderly person” and a “pretty girl” to go through the same routine: recognizing Lorne Michaels for his SNL celebrity, asking for an autograph and pretending that Chase didn’t exist. 

Brown confesses now that, although he and Forristal kept the bit going “all day” and were “in tears” throughout, they also realized that they could never ever admit that it was all a prank. While the goal was to mock Chase, it would have been a “cruel thing to have done to Lorne,” who was clearly tickled by the attention he was getting from all of his “fans.”

Well, now he’s finally let the cat out of the bag. Hopefully Michaels’ self-esteem can withstand the revelation that several strangers who asked for his autograph nearly four decades ago didn’t actually give a shit who he was. And hopefully Chase doesn’t listen to this episode of WTF and feel even slightly better about himself. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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