DVD Release Date: May 12
Creators: Dana Carvey, Robert Smigel
Starring: Dana Carvey, Robert Smigel, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Bill Chott, Elon Gold
One of the best TV writing staffs ever assembled mostly delivers on its promise
Not a big hit during its initial 1996 run, The Dana Carvey Show has gained a certain legendary status less for its actual episodes, which were previously difficult to see, than by the notoriety of its staff during the years that followed. Aside from Carvey himself, the show was written and acted by Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Smigel, Louis C.K., Dino Stamatopoulos, Bill Chott and Spike Ferestein. Just knowing who’s in the group, it’s easy to see why the common assumption had been that it must’ve been brilliant and cancelled for being too ahead of its time.
Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case. Part of this is due to the show’s topicality—its sheer number of Bob Dole jokes hasn’t dated well at all—and another part of it is the overreliance on impersonations. That said, when the Dana Carvey Show is on its game it’s outstanding, especially towards the end of its short run when it really found its voice. The show doesn’t end up as the classic it seems like it should’ve been, but comedy nerds won’t be too disappointed.