The Dana Carvey Show (DVD)

Cancelled after only seven episodes, The Dana Carvey Show, which ran on ABC in 1996, is probably best remembered for its supporting cast, which included Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live/Conan O’Brien fav Robert Smigel.

Finally resurrected for DVD, including the eighth episode which has never aired, the half hour variety show suffers a bit do to dated bits on Bill Clinton, the ’96 presidential election and Princess Di (who was still alive at the time), but a handful of the sketches are still surprisingly fresh, like the Skinheads in Maine bit or the laugh-out-loud Kennedy auction sketch.

Carvey himself is hit or miss, falling back too often on his Regis Philbin and Ross Perot impressions, which were already played out when the show first ran in 1996. When Carvey was willing to try something different it was usually worth going out on the limb. The show got a unwarranted reputation for being crude, but aside from a lame sketch about suckling animals in the first episode, the show was far more brave than crude.

Carrey also put together a strong writing room which included Charlie Kaufman, Louis C.K. and Dino Stamatopoulos (Moral Orel). The latter episodes are the strongest and it was clear the show was starting to find its voice, when it got yanked. It’s a shame the series didn’t make it to a second season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Dana Carvey Show / DVD / 2009 / Shout! / 210 Minutes

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