The Life and Death of The Dana Carvey Show

I watched a great documentary this week on Hulu called Too Funny to Fail; The Life and Death of the Dana Carvey Show.

I’ve been a big fan of Dana Carvey since I was a little kid. My uncle did a mean Church Lady impression, and I remember checking out his Saturday Night Live Best Of DVD from my local library.

I had never heard of his short-lived sketch show. Learning of it now, I’m realizing I would have totally been one of its raving fans if I weren’t four-years-old when it aired.

The Dana Carvey Show was an off-kilter sketch show with an anti-authoritarian streak and a strange sense of glee. Its cast and crew included Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Louis CK and Robert Smigel.

In the documentary a few of the contributors mention that Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a key influence. I was a big Python fan in middle and high school thanks to a friend’s extensive DVD collection. Watching a couple of episodes of The Dana Carvey Show brought me into a weird parallel nostalgia for my afternoons spent with the Pythons.

If this sounds like something up your alley, you should check out the trailer for Too Funny to Fail:

I also want to share what may be the best moment in the film. In this clip Robert Smigel recalls the night when he finally watched ABC’s  broadcast of The Dana Carvey Show in context. He immediately understood how horrible it was that their show aired after the family friendly sitcom Home Improvement. The documentarians then showed the lead-in to Carrell, Colbert and other cast and crew in the present-day. Their reactions are priceless.

The full eight episode run of The Dana Carvey Show is now also streaming on Hulu. It’s well worth four hours of your time.