Chevy Chase Said John Belushi Once Stole His Cocaine-Filled Jar From ‘SNL’ Set

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Chevy Chase has done his fair share of drugs and he’s been around long enough to see other stars do them, too. In a recent episode of Club Random with Bill Maher, the two comedians sat down to talk. They dished about all the things that two older Hollywood gentlemen who have dabbled with drugs might talk about… sex, other dudes, and drugs. And apparently, Chevy Chase once saw John Belushi steal his cocaine jar from the set of Saturday Night Live.

The Cocaine Jar That Walked Away

“I’m just remembering John and his fu**ing drug problem, but back then, the big drug was cocaine,” Chase said. “Obviously, John turned out to be cokehead, but I had a little jar of cocaine with a little spoon that hung from it,” he revealed. “Anyway, I had it on the piano on the stage. So, I’m just playing the piano — the crowd isn’t in yet — and it’s just sitting. After I played just a little bit, it’s gone. I had no idea how. Obviously, I was looking at my hands at the moment that John swooped in and took it. So, I immediately said, ‘Belushi, did you take my coke?’ ‘No, what are you talking about? What coke? What?’”

It gets better. Chase continues the story and says he’s at John and his wife Judy’s apartment a month later.

“I see my little vial there, empty and washed,” he says. “It was sitting on the shelf by the books.”

Maher at this point states the obvious (while holding a joint). “You know, when you leave your coke out, it’s going to get stolen by someone…. Drugs are an easy thing to steal because you can’t report it to the police… So, they do tend to walk off on their own.”

“That’s true,” Chase agrees. “I’m so glad I put that stuff aside.”

Chase’s Friend and SNL Partner John Belushi Died of a Cocaine Overdose

The two continue to reminisce on John Belushi’s death. He was found dead at age 33 after overdosing on a speedball (a combination of heroin and cocaine). Belushi, like Chase, Maher, and many actors in their days, was very into cocaine. And ultimately, it is what led to his death.

Chevy Chase continued to talk about how, on the morning of Belushi’s death, he was blindsided by news reporters. They’d shown up at his house asking how he felt about it, and he had no idea what they were talking about.

Belushi was staying at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles in March of 1982. In a book called The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, historian Shawn Levy wrote that Belushi had been partying hard the night before. Interestingly, Robert De Niro and Robin Williams both stopped by Belushi’s bungalow and were met with an unsightly scene of garbage, dirty laundry, and empty wine bottles. But amidst the mess was a large pile of cocaine on the table. Both actors allegedly partook in some lines and then left in the early hours of the morning. They were the last people to see Belushi alive.

Chevy Chase Was Banned From SNL

It’s fortunate that Chevy Chase put his days of wild substance debauchery aside, as Maher pointed out because otherwise, he might not be here today. He’s 78 now, and sober. But it wasn’t always that way.

The National Lampoon actor has a long history of pissing people off, not just due to his surly sense of humor, but also because of his drug usage. Many of those people were his SNL costars.

Chase left SNL during the second season but returned many times to host until he was finally banned from hosting. He allegedly got in a physical altercation with Billy Murray, slapped Cheri Oteri in the back of the head, and swore at and was verbally abusive to other cast members. At one point in 1985, he pitched the idea of a skit making fun of Terry Sweeney, who was openly gay, and pretending that they had AIDS.

Chase and Drug Abuse

Chevy Chase’s antics, seemingly lacking in empathy or social awareness, led to a looming sense of animosity among the SNL cast. That animosity was briefly brought up during an interview with Dick Cavett, after Cavett asked Chase about the prevalence of cocaine in Hollywood.

In a Washington Post exposé titled “Chevy Chase can’t change,” the author notes that although the Caddyshack actor is now sober and clean, nobody really wants to work with him anymore. That ship has sailed. Numerous publications have quoted stars who have worked with him, and many of them having little to nothing good to say.

The Post article brings up two books, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live and Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.

“In both books, Chase is the supremely talented star who couldn’t handle the rush of money and fame, ditches SNL after a single season to cash checks, snort coke, and returns every few years to torment the cast,” the article says. “A ‘monster,’ former cast member Terry Sweeney says of Chase’s 1985 guest spot. ‘The worst host,’ adds Will Ferrell of Chase’s eighth and final one, in 1997.”


How Chevy Got Sober

Chevy Chase told the Washington Post that rehab actually didn’t work for him. His alcohol abuse had led to an estrangement between his family and himself.

His wife, Jayni, wrote him a note saying: “I do not want to divorce you, but I can’t watch you hurt yourself anymore.”

And one of his kids, daughter Caley, only resumed talking to him because she learned that he had a heart condition.

“At that point, I had given up and I assumed he would die soon,” she said.

Chase had been diagnosed with alcohol cardiomyopathy from all the drinking.

And then one day in early 2017, after taking a swig of vodka on his front porch, he decided to stop.

Read More: Chevy Chase’s Third Wife Helped Him Get Sober and ‘Clean Up His Act’

Silke Jasso contributed to this story.

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