Chevy Chase is leaving "Community," the much-lauded comedy on NBC. Although ratings had declined in later seasons, the cast was in the middle of shooting their fourth season when Chase, who plays the out-of-touch "Pierce," decided it was time to go.
While Chevy Chase leaving "Community" is certainly a blow to the sitcom's cult following, it is far from a surprise. The former movie star was disgruntled with the show, calling the sitcom the "lowest form of television" in a Huffington Post U.K. interview in September.
"I sort of just hung around because I have three daughters and a wife, and I figured I might as well make some bread, every week, so I can take care of them in the way they want … The hours are hideous, and it's still a sitcom on television, which is probably the lowest form of television," the 69-year-old said candidly.
His departure from the comedy is effective immediately, and it means he will not appear in one or two episodes during the fourth season. It is currently unknown if writers have written him out of the season, but it is possible, as the cast has been shooting episodes out of order, according to reports.
There were indications that Chase, who plays the bigoted and wealthy Pierce Hawthorne on the show, might stay, following the removal of the show's creator, Dan Harmon. Chase and Harmon publically feuded, with the problems coming to a head when the show's creator left a nasty, profanity-laced voicemail for Chase.
Chase's "creative issues with the show" were thought to have died down after Harmon was removed, but the peace on the set didn't last.
Just last month, he used the n-word while complaining about racist lines his character Pierce was supposed to say. He maintained that he did not direct the epithet at the show's African-American cast members, comedian Donald Glover and actress Yvette Nicole Brown.
"I've been too funny in my life to have to play a character who's … moderately funny," he said in May.
Season 4 of "Community" is debuting Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.