Friday, November 11, 2011

Chevy Chase on the Downside of Fame

Photo Credit: Alan Light
I am currently reading Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller's book, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, a book of interviews with those associated with the show during its nearly forty years of existence.

I came across the following quote from Chevy Chase, a breakout star from SNL's inaugural season who went onto become one of the biggest comedic movie stars of the 1980's. Having personally gone from obscurity to fame seemingly overnight when SNL became a breakout hit in 1975, Chase says this about fame:
"I think if there is one perception that the public feels about people who become famous, it's that it is a great, wonderful, marvelous, magical thing. And that's true up to a point. But in fact it's also a very, very frightening thing, because it's one of the most stressful things. There's a certain amount of post-traumatic stress involved in being regular guy and then suddenly an extremely famous one.
By and large, people who are looking for some sort of immediate gratification to being with, some validation of what their identity is, who they are, some acceptability. They're not novelists who are waiting after ten years to see how they did. They want it right away. They're children, basically. And in all children there's this reservoir of self-doubt and guilt and sense of low self-esteem, I think. And so one lives with this kind of dualism, this disparity between the marvelous magic of becoming accepted by so many so fast and, at the same time, a lingering sense that one doesn't deserve it and sooner or later will be found out."
Fame is fleeting for most who find it and most people will never achieve the kind of recognition that television and film stars find. But true satisfaction and meaning is not found in the applause we get simply for making people laugh or by being really good at pretending to be someone we're not.  We can take comfort in knowing that there is a God who knows everything about us and still offers a love to us that is not based on our performance. To find out more about this God, please click here.

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