Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Dana Carvey Show

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes the older I get. I mark certain parts of my life by the movies or albums that I loved at the time. It is upon reflection that I suddenly began to realize that I am getting older very quickly. The first time this occurred was more than five years ago when I was watching Back to the Future on TV and it was being presented as a classic. Then I did the math in my head and realized that it had been fifteen years since I had seen it in the theater. Last year we passed the twentieth anniversary of the release of that fantastic movie and that just blows my mind.

A couple of months ago I was thinking about the criminally short lived Dana Carvey show. I thought about how the cast of relatively unknowns are essentially a who's who of cutting edge comedy. I remember watching that show during my second semester of college and then it hit me. This weekend will mark ten years since the show premiered. Unbelievable!

My good friend Chris and I absolutely loved the absurdity of the sketch show, but apparently it was too much for the Disney owned ABC to handle. In their defense, the first sketch of the first show featured an address from President Clinton in which he took his "I feel your pain" message to disgusting levels. He opened his shirt to reveal that he had gotten breasts implanted so that he could nurse babies. He then went on to revel that he had several more sets of nipples implanted so that he could also nurse dogs and cats. Of course there was milk seeping out of the prosthetic nipples and live cats and dogs were lapping it up. This was on in prime time! I remember my dad saying, "What the hell is going on here?"

The show went on for only six more episodes, but they included some of the funniest sketches I have ever seen on network television. But that is no surprise considering who was writing most of the jokes.

Dana Carvey: Obviously everyone knows him from Saturday Night Live in it's early 90's heyday. He played George H. W. Bush better than the man himself. He was the Church Lady, half of Hans and Franz and of course the ever lovable Garth Algar in the Wayne's World sketches and movies.

Steve Carrell: The 40 Year Old Virgin and clueless boss on the amazingly well done American version of The Office. Of course this was after some masterful reporting on The Daily Show.

Stephen Colbert: Perennial Daily Show reporter and now fake pundit on the hilarious Colbert Report. He can also be seen as the arrogant and insecure Chuck Noblet on the ingenious Strangers with Candy, perhaps my favorite live action show ever on Comedy Central.

Dave Chappelle: The comedian who would literally rule the earth right now if not for his breakdown last year. Despite that, he is still regarded by many as one of the funniest men alive. Chappelle's Show spawned some truly memorable sketches as well as a few annoying catch phrases. But imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I saw him do stand-up at a small club in Atlanta six years ago and had to wonder why he wasn't a bigger star. All changed a few years later.

Charlie Kaufman: Writer of some of the most inventive movies I have seen in a major theater. Most writers as truly creative would hope to get their films into an art house. Kaufman has had major hits in Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and my personal favorite, Adaptation. Plus he wrote for Chris Elliott's cult classic show Get a Life.

Robert Smigel: This guy is the true unsung hero of comedy. Hardly anyone recognizes him in his bit parts in Adam Sandler movies, but most people know at least one character he has created. He is literally the man behind Conan O'Brien. Conan is funny, but Robert Smigel is the writer and the voice behind all of the celebrities that Conan does fake interviews with on his show. He is also my favorite Conan character, Triumph the Insult Comic. He created TV Funhouse cartoons for the Dana Carvey show but took them to Saturday Night Live after it's demise. He's probably the only thing still funny about SNL right now. His full length TV Funhouse show was my favorite puppet based sketch show on Comedy Central (take that Crank Yankers!).

So this March 12, I might be watching the first episode of the new season of The Sopranos, but I will be thinking of Dana Carvey and hoping that one day the powers that be will put together some kind of DVD collection of the episodes. I just gave them a big list of marketing material, so hopefully they will see what a great collection of talent they have in their vaults. And they better hurry! I don't know how long my VHS tapes of the shows will last!

1 comment:

katielady said...

Wow, Wes, you're making me feel old! Nothing like a trip down memory lane, until you remember that those memories are a decade old.