The Truth About Chevy Chase’s Near-Death Experience

In 1981, while on the set of the film “Modern Problems,” a stunt sequence went sideways when the suit Chevy Chase was wearing, which was adjourned with lights, malfunctioned, resulting in an electricity surge coursing through his neck, back and arm, disabled his motor system and causing him to lose consciousness (via Schultz & Myers). Somehow, the comedy actor survived.

The suit was dangerous for Chase because of the moisture his body was generating while wearing it. In fact, wet skin is 100 times less resistant against electricity. A large amount of current can cook a person’s insides, whereas smaller amounts, which flow directly to your central nervous system, can kill you, as in execution via the electric chair (via Insider).

The near-fatal incident left the “Saturday Night Live” alum in a state of depression. Typically, surviving a near-death experience (NDE) can lead to an increased sense of spirituality, though not necessarily one that is religious. There’s often a new “sense of self,” which can result in a new meaning or lease on life, an uptick in values and appreciation, and even a newly-acquired courage, because death is no longer something to be feared (via Real Life Psych).

These were not the case for Chase, who experienced a different result of an NDE: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are typically 17 symptoms that are associated with PTSD, but some of the more common ones include nightmares, isolationism, nausea, sleeplessness, feelings of inadequacy, and aggressive behavior (via MIND).

Electrocution and addiction did not help Chevy Chase's career

Chase is known for numerous comedy film favorites like “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Fletch,” and “Caddyshack.” He also had a stint on the comedy series “Community.” The NDE is perhaps one reason why we haven’t seen him in more projects over the last 20 years.

It also doesn’t help he’s rumored to be difficult to work with. He prematurely exited SNL to marry a woman who didn’t want to live in New York and allegedly left the set of “Community” before episodes had finished filming, all while battling addiction to prescription painkillers and alcohol (via CNN).

In 2016, Chase entered rehab for his addictions, which were attributed to his long-term back pain. He is sober today, but Hollywood has been reluctant to work with him, despite the success of his colleagues like Steve Martin and Bill Murray, because of his previous addiction and behavior (via The Washington Post).

Chase most recently spent five weeks in the hospital because of heart issues, as Variety reported, but despite that, he wants to work again. Especially since he hates what is currently on TV. “I read. Turn on TV. Watch the news. All drek,” Chase told Variety. “I see actors, comedians, producers, screenwriters working, God bless them, but I don’t see anything great on television. It all became a generation of s***heads laughing at the world. The humor today’s giving the next generation worse stuff than they already have in their own lives. It drives me nuts.”

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