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Chevy Chase on 'SNL' lasting 40 years: I wouldn't have left

Chevy Chase was among the original cast of Not Ready for Prime-Time Players when "Saturday Night Live" hit the small screen in 1975, and now he's looking back at those early days as the sketch comedy hit turns 40.

On Friday, Chase stopped by Studio 1A to talk about his time back at Studio 8H all those years ago. After reflecting on past comedic co-stars, including Dan Aykroyd and late greats John Belushi and Gilda Radner, the funnyman then reflected on his own decision to leave the show in its second season (though he returned many times to host and make cameos).

The Not Ready for Prime-Time Players: (top) Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Laraine Newman, Gilda Radner, (bottom) Chevy Chase, Garrett Morris and John Belushi.Today

When asked if he ever imagined "SNL" lasting 40 years, he said that if he had, he "wouldn't have left!"

"It was so silly of me," he added before getting serious about the show's long-running success.


"I think I might have believed it [would last] because every audience is different, every generation is different over all of these years," he said, crediting show creator Lorne Michaels with knowing how to change with the times. "He's a bright guy and knows what he's doing. He's the best."

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer share a laugh with funnyman Chevy Chase.Today

You can take a look back at some of Chase's classic skits and time behind the Weekend Update online at And catch the latest from the current generation of players Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

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