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The Dana Carvey Show
#1
After watching the excellent "Too Funny to Fail" documentary, me and my wife immediately started watching this show.   A couple of thoughts:

The sheer amount of talent this show had in front of and behind the camera is staggering.  Dana Carvey, Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Robert Smigel, Charlie Kaufman and many others were involved in this.   What was the result?  After watching 5 episodes, results are mostly brilliant.

Yes, there are skits that just aren't funny and some are the result of a very different time (holy shit that racist awards sketch) but there's also some comedy here that is still hilarious today like Germans Who Say Nice Things, the Pranksters, and my personal favorite (so far), Grandma the Clown.   That last one just left me Dead.

One has to wonder what the fate of the show would have been if it followed a different show or even if it started off with a skit like Germans Who Say Nice things rather than the Bill Clinton lactating sketch where the show dropped 6 million viewers in 5 minutes.

In any case, if you're a fan of sketch comedy, give it a go.  It was heading somewhere really cool and it's a shame it wasn't given a chance.
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#2
Whether it had opened with the Clinton sketch or not, that show wasn't going to succeed on ABC. Only network that it might have survived for a bit back then was FOX.
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#3
The humor is almost a test run for Conan's NBC show (same writers, at least) . . . it was too surreal to have succeeded after Home Improvement.

Speaking of, my favorite moment of that doc is Colbert's reaction to the commercial for the "very special episode" of Home Improvement that played before one of their episodes.
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#4
Everyone cracking up at that promo was the best. According to the doc, it seemed like HBO was a possibility. It might have done better there. I think it was still too early for Comedy Central. In any case, it seemed like a harbinger for the next century of comedy.
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#5
Conan had been on a few years by then, though of course late night is not primetime, and I don't think Conan was actually considered successful until the 96-97 area.  He survived up to that point mainly because NBC struggled to secure a replacement.

I don't think The Dana Carvey Show could have succeeded on any network in primetime.  As Carvey's gut told him in the first place, it belonged on HBO, where it would have been right at home alongside Mr. Show.  Alas, Smigel miscalculated and gambled for bigger profile for the show without grasping how incompatible the brand was until the die had been cast.  It didn't help that all this happened right in the midst of ABC's acquisition by Disney.

That said, the ABC exec comes off as a maroon.  I get how that lactating Clinton opener would have been a WTF moment, but the guy's baffling assumption that Carvey was just gonna trot out some Garth Agar and a toned down version of Church Lady could only have been made by somebody with an incredibly cherrypicked sense of Carvey as a comedian.  For a guy who aggressively courted the show away from cable, he sure didn't know what he was buying.
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#6
Apologies, my timeline is all screwed up...did Smigel/CK/Dino leave Conan to do the Dana Carvey Show, then go back?
I was in a horror-comedy called BLACK HOLLER. It's now on Prime Video. Check it out!
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#7
I think that's correct, or they were at least on Conan first (along with Odenkirk). I think some may have returned and others may have gone on to other projects.  Smigel I think started focusing on features at that point but would always be on standby for Triumph or Clutch Cargo segments.  I think Odenkirk probably went right onto Mr. Show after being on the initial Late Night writing staff.

There's a lot of 90s sketch overlap that is confusing to keep track of.
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#8
Found myself having a Dana Carvey Show clip-off with a friend (it happens), which brings me back here.  This is an underrated sketch:





I didn't realize there was a brief period while promoting FROM DUSK TIL DAWN where QT was trying out a mustache, but the research bears that out.
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