chevy-chase

As you may know I’m not a huge fan of Community, the Thursday night NBC comedy that its fans would have you believe is the greatest comedy ever created (or at least since Arrested Development!) But even I’ve found myself checking in on all the behind the scenes drama currently circulating around the low rated comedy. Grab the popcorn, folks!

What’s become apparent is that Chase and Community creator Dan Harmon are not exactly big fans of one another as their feud plays out on the public stage. So now we have stories of Chevy walking off the set, complaining that the comedy just isn’t funny enough (I bet Community fans love that) and leaving pissy phone messages. So here’s my big advice to Chase. The two words I try to abide by in the industry. Be. Nice.

Look, I don’t know what went down on the Community set and Chevy may have plenty to gripe about – but the moment you start acting like a precious diva you suddenly start losing all sympathy in my eyes. It’s like when Christian Bale let loose on the Terminator set all those years ago. Sure the audio shouldn’t have leaked but do you really think that was the only time Bale stepped out of line? My sense is that Christian was such a complete pain in the ass that the production team were only too happen to let the tapes leak when given the opportunity.

The fact is being an asshole only gets you so far. Over the years I’ve come across plenty of bullies, bitches and backstabbers in the TV world. I’ll keep their names anonymous for now – until I write my big tell all book down the line – but boy were they jerks!

Here’s just a few examples. I remember working with a devout Christian several years ago who was straight out of GCB! She’s a household name back in the UK – and was always very nice to me – but from the moment she started production she slyly conspired against her colleagues, all of whom she saw as competition (and guess what it worked – one by one they dropped like flies!) Another big name host, very famous in both the UK and US recently told a good friend of mine she was ‘stupid and annoying’. I knew this woman in the early days and she was charming back then. I guess not so much anymore!

In my experience many on screen talents are plagued by insecurities and act out as a result. No matter how much you pamper some of them it’s never enough. They constantly worry about their place in the industry and who’s ahead of them in the pecking order. Many are extremely defensive when it comes to feedback and treat their production teams like crap. Nothing irks me more than well-paid talents who demean their crews. Especially when they’re the ones earning the big bucks!

Of course it’s not just celebrities who have a habit of acting out. Let’s not forget the ‘network bullies’, those executives who treat the production companies working for them like crap. You can send me as many pages of notes as you like – you’re the client after all – but just do it in a courteous manner. Once again Be Nice. I’ve worked with some terrific network execs over the years – smart, collaborative, understanding – but I’ve sadly also had to deal with some real monsters! Thankfully what goes around comes around and invariably those same people end up moving over to the production side of the business – and scrabbling for jobs from the same people they’ve treated like crap. I’ve received resumes from network staffers who just months earlier thought they were kings (or queens) of the world!

I could go on and on! Directors who throw their weight around on a set, producers who pick on their PA’s and don’t seem to know the meaning of the word thank you, company owners who will do anything and screw anyone to make a buck. It’s a lovely business at times! But I still hold to the mantra – Be Nice.

Thankfully the assholes do remain in a minority – which is perhaps why they stand out more. And of course there are assholes in every business – not just the TV industry. But I have to say, when I hear an overpaid, entitled jerk like Chase kicking off it’s hard to feel too much sympathy. Anyone else agree?