It's OK That Chevy Chase Used The N-Word Because Richard Pryor Gave Him Permission

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It's OK That Chevy Chase Used The N-Word, See, Because Richard Pryor Gave Him Permission

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | February 6, 2013 | Comments ()


Tomorrow is the big day, folks. After an eight month, forced hiatus, Community returns, and we'll find out whether all the promotion, the Internet print, and the press rounds from the cast will be worth it, and by this time tomorrow, we'll probably be making assumptions based on a very inaccurate overnight ratings number whether the show is sunk or whether it has a shot at a fifth season. For the record, the way things are going at NBC, a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo -- or about what it averaged at the end of season three -- should give it a solid chance of renewal. If you're behind, don't forget to check out the trailer, what the new showrunners have to say about the prospects of a fifth season, what the old showrunner has to say about what he'd have done with this season, and 25 Easter Eggs, Running Gags, and Inside Jokes from the last three season.

Caught up? Good. Just one more thing we have to touch upon before we move on: Remember when Chevy Chase dropped an N-bomb and ended up briefly shutting down production on Community before he ultimately left the series? Yeah, well, about that.

In an interview with Howard Stern, Joel McHale explained -- uncomfortably, like he had no desire to be on Stern's show -- that when McHale attempted to calm Chase down, he would try to fight McHale. Specifically, on the N-word fracas, it turns out it was TOTALLY OK what Chevy Chase said, because Richard Pryor totally gave him permission.

I didn't realize that's how it worked. So, in order to use the N-word freely, all we need to do is get permission from a black friend? Good to know. I'm going to keep that information in my back pocket.

(Via Laughspin)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • dizzylucy

    I thought the fighting thing was a McHale joke.

    If Chevy was complaining about his character, that is different than him using the word directly at someone, but...I don't know, err on the side of being a decent person and just don't say it at all?
    I feel bad for the rest of the cast, they keep getting asked about Chevy, and it has to be very uncomfortable.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    But why err on the side that the word being used in any form somehow makes you not a decent person? There's a completely valid conversation to be had about the n-word in a variety of contexts. This context, even, which is why I initially tried to post this using the actual word, but, you know, moderation.

  • gnibs

    What part of the interview on Stern made you think that McHale was uncomfortable? I listened to the entire thing and it was fantastic.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I watched the snippet, and while the interview was good, it's pretty clear McHale is trying to walk a line. Look at his body language - classic four position, he keeps covering his face, looking away, etc. etc.

    Hey I guess I learned stuff from "Lie to Me"!

  • Nic Cage
  • pissant

    I'm struck by how unlikely I think this would have been news if he'd said "beaner".

    I'm fucking sick of this. You can say the word if you're talking about the word. Only children say "x"-word. Neither can someone be given permission nor does one need permission to use a word to talk about the word.

    This is not a defense of people using racist slurs to demean people. I'm also not saying that "people shouldn't be so sensitive". I'm just saying that we'll never have a conversation about this if we continue to act and speak like children.

  • the dude

    I think we should be able to say nigga freely not only because it is a word commonly used by black folks but also because it's more racist not to use it.

  • Mr. E

    First off, in no phathomable way is it MORE racist to refrain from using racist words than spew them freely. I'm not even sure what planet that rational makes sense. "I call the women at work 'sugar-tits' because...well hey, it'd be sexist NOT to."

    Also, if "black folks" using the n-word is the main argument for white people to use it, whatever. It's the fact that people still WANT to say it, that disturbs me.

  • duckandcover

    I think what he was trying to say is that, by the abbreviating the word, we give it power. When people are talking and have to say the word, they hunch their shoulders, look around, and whisper or mouth "the n-word." It thereby gives the phrase itself power, more power than the actual word itself.

  • the dude

    Well, what if we made a good word out of a horrible one. If nigga becomes like dude or man, we would take out all the negative things of the past and make it a reminder of our united races.

  • kushiro -

    Chevy is an asshole par excellence, but history suggests that, yeah, he probably believes that Pryor told him it was okay to use the word sometimes, and that he took that to mean it's okay anytime.

  • What the others said, plus: If anyone in time & space could give a person permission to say the n-word, it would be Richard Pryor.

  • Kballs

    I hope he got a signed, laminated copy of said permission because I don't think most black people take someone at their word on this stuff.

  • And was this during the time that Pryor was freebasing? The issuer being under the influence at the time should invalidate said agreement.

  • e jerry powell

    Yes, but isn't there a statute of limitations or expiration date even if it did come from Richard Pryor (or, by transitive property, Paul Mooney)? I mean, that was 1975...

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Yeah, it was still a valid-ish reason to use the word. Nobody seems to disagree that Chase was using the word while arguing against the increasing bigotry of Pierce, and I can see where there's a reason to use the word itself there (most obviously, and I'd bet somewhere in the realm of Chase's argument, to highlight just how hypocritical you're being that you want to make Pierce more and more racist but not, you know, racist). Best idea ever? Hardly, but it seems like a context where it could make sense to use it.

    None of which changes that Chevy Chase is an asshole who indulges in epic douchery, but this is not the grudge to be holding against him.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I'm not defending him cuz it sounds like he's lost his mind but to put this in perspective, he wasn't calling someone the word, he was concerned about his character turning into such a raging bigot that Pierce would use the word. And he's kind of right, they have turned Pierce into a raging asshole.

  • Write what you know, I guess.

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