MAY 1, 1933-JUNE 30, 2002

By Chevy Chase
Updated December 23, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Dave Wilson: Edie Baskin

Chevy Chase remembers Dave Wilson

The first director of ”Saturday Night Live,” Davey was around quite a bit when Lorne and a couple of us were picking the ”SNL” team, looking at the auditions. There was a story going around that he was once voted the funniest guy in his class, and the class included George Carlin. I believe it.

Davey had to run a very complex show like no one had ever done before. He had to come in on everything — from the read-through to decisions on the sets, which had to be 12 feet by 12 feet in order to fit into the elevators. Right up until airtime, he was working, making sure the hosts felt they were the most important people. He’d always ask — you could hear him over the sound system — ”Is that good for you?” Pulling all that together is a helluva job, and he did it with a sense of humor.

I wrote a piece that included Davey as Lorne’s dad. It was the first time we took a camera off the set, all the way back in the control room, and there’s Davey, performing as well as anybody — playing a drunk. He was still able to call the shots while acting.

As a team, we felt we weren’t going to be on the air more than a year, if that. But he always had an up attitude about it, the sense that ”SNL” was ahead of its time. He certainly gave me confidence. He was behind us. In a sense, if it weren’t for Davey, we would really have felt lost. (Wilson died of an aortic aneurysm in Parsippany, N.J.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Chevy Chase, who graduated from ”Saturday Night Live” to ”Caddyshack” and other movies, was honored at a 2002 N.Y. Friars Club Roast.