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October 6, 2015

The Dana Carvey Show: Complete Series - DVD review

by Bob Sassone, posted May 12th 2009 10:02AM
The Dana Carvey ShowI had forgotten how very funny The Dana Carvey Show was until several months ago when I decided to watch a bunch of episodes online. It may sound cliched to say, but I think this was an underrated show, ahead of its time, and would probably survive for a few more seasons today on Comedy Central or FX or FOX. I can picture that.

We won't get a revival, of course, but we now have a great DVD set (in stores today) to keep forever. All of the episodes are here (including one that didn't even make it to ABC), and a couple of good extras.

The Dana Carvey Show was probably doomed from the very first episode, which showed Carvey portraying a President Bill Clinton that was so in tune with the way the country feels that cats would literally suckle at his teats. And yes, they showed this onscreen. That was the moment we knew this wasn't going to be your average half-hour comedy sketch show (funny how this ran on ABC, which hasn't been known for great half-hour comedy shows in the past several years). They also had several episodes that were sponsored completely by one company (Taco Bell, Mug Root Beer, Mountain Dew, etc), which no one really cared about in 1996 but would probably have everyone raising their eyebrows nowadays screaming "product placement! product placement!" (even though that's silly because shows have been doing it since the 1940s).

Of course, the show is mostly well-known for launching the careers of many of the most important people in comedy of the past ten years, including Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman, Dino Stamatopoulos, and Dave Chappelle. It also launched "The Ambiguously Gay Duo," later a staple on Saturday Night Live. The "Waiters Who Are Nauseated By Food" sketch is a big reason why Carell and Colbert were hired on The Daily Show. The guest star list is impressive, too: Phil Hartman, David Letterman, Jan Hooks, and Regis Philbin all made appearances. This show is probably a good companion to The Ben Stiller Show, and some comedy sketch fans prefer this one.

I always thought that even though a lot of the comedy was really edgy and bizarre, The Dana Carvey Show was actually a throwback to older variety shows. I wish it had lasted longer.

Extras: Besides the unaired episode, there are several deleted scenes and an interview with Carvey and Smigel. There are no commentaries, but this interview is pretty in-depth.

Here are a couple of episodes to entertain you until you go out and buy this DVD set. And yes, you will go out and buy this DVD set.

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A couple years back, I started an online petition to have this show released on DVD. I'm so glad it finally has been!

As someone from outside the U.S. who can't use Hulu, I've had to watch badly recorded (and encoded) videos I've found online over the years to remind myself how funny this show was. Of course, in 1996 when I was 14 years old, I had no clue who Colbert, Carell, Smigel, Kaufman, or Louis C.K. were, other than random performers on Dana Carvey's crazy sketch show. Now, they're some of my favourite people in comedy who have played a large part in shaping my comedic sensibilities.

May 12 2009 at 11:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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