Living & Entertainment

‘Carvey turns 60’: Dana Carvey coming to Tacoma Dome on Wednesday

Comics and veteran “Saturday Night Live” cast members Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon are bringing their stand-up comedy to the Tacoma Dome on Wednesday. All three checked in for preshow interviews earlier this month.

Garth is 60. It may be hard for fans of Dana Carvey to fathom, but the “party on!” teen is almost eligible for Social Security.

On “Saturday Night Live” in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Carvey created some of that show’s most memorable characters including Garth from “Wayne’s World” with Mike Myers, one half of Hans and Franz with Kevin Nealon and the eternally judgmental Church Lady.

“Wayne’s World” was later made in to two successful movies with Myers and Carvey. A sketch variety show, “The Dana Carvey Show,” didn’t fare as well when it aired on ABC in 1996.

Myers and Carey recently reprised “Wayne’s World” for the “SNL” 40th-anniversary show.

Carvey checked in for an interview from Los Angeles.

Question: You just turned 60. Is that a sore or happy subject?

Answer: I love it. Emphasize that. In fact, your headline should be “Carvey turns 60.”

Q: Consider it done. You’ve been largely out of the public eye the past few years. Catch us up on your career.

A: Both of my sons, surprisingly, want to be and are in show business. I raised them up in the woods in Northern California to keep them out of show business, ironically. So, I’ve moved back to L.A. and (I’m) dedicating myself to mentoring them in show business. That’s the primary thing that I do.

Q: What do they do?

A: They do online videos and stand-up with me and stand-up separately and are organizing a podcast. My oldest son was in “Joe Dirt 2,” which is premiering on Crackle.

Q: You are considered one of show biz’s best impressionists, probably because your impressions are always funny. Do you think some impressionists are more interested in the skill aspect and forget to make them funny?

A: There are people that are so comprehensive with their impressions. I can be accurate but I try to make them funny. But, I know what you mean. I would prefer to see something less accurate if it was really entertaining and funny and says something about the person you’re doing — not just a copycat. With George Bush senior, I said things he never said. I just made stuff up.

Q: President Bush started doing impressions of you doing an impression of him. Was that a surreal moment for you?

A: The whole thing is surreal — the relationship we have. I just recorded something for Barbara’s (Bush) 90th (birthday). I saw them both in Houston last year for lunch. Barbara said George really loves impressions and fancies himself an impressionist. That was part of their delight in (Carvey’s impression). He started doing a pretty decent James Cagney. I would say my whole existence on the planet is surreal. If you would have seen me at 20 years old — I wasn’t going anywhere fast, living near the airport, playing Risk, being a busboy and waiter.

Q: Impressions aside, you created several original characters that have long endured in pop culture: Garth, Hans, Church Lady. But were those impressions as well?

A: Basically, Garth was an impression of my brother Brad, which was exaggerated. But, it was a character. Church Lady was a lot of different authority figures that we have in our childhood. I’m not quite sure where that rhythm came from but when people hear it they recognize it.

Q: It’s disappointing that Church Lady didn’t get a movie.

A: I think part of the reason Wayne and Garth blew up is because they seemed real.

Q: How does your comedy style differ from Kevin and Dennis?

A: I appreciate great writers. Kevin and Dennis are brilliant with words. I’m going for abstraction and doing stuff that makes me laugh. I’ve got some new stuff that I’m trying.

Q: Speaking of great writing, you had some very talented but at the time unknown comedy writers working with you on “The Dana Carvey Show”: Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K., Robert Smigel, Charlie Kaufman. It seems like your show was too talented to fail. What happened?

A: I’m very proud of it. It was very well intentioned and we were welcomed by ABC. But then ABC was bought by Disney, and I think the sensibility of the show escaped them. The stuff we were doing was abstract. But I think if we had the amount of venues that we have now, it would have succeeded.

Q: You mean online, cable, etc.?

A: Yes. Show business is unrecognizable to any human being compared to what it once was. There are a lot of things I have in development. Kevin and I are developing Franz and Hans into an animated series. (He briefly channels George Bush) There’s a thousand points of light. There are thousands of venues now. There are so many shows I’ve never seen it’s unbelievable. Have you seen the show “Justified” on FX?

Q: I try to watch everything at least once.

A: Well, I never did. But I had a guy almost take a swing at me. I said, “OK, I’ll binge watch it.” Give me a break.

Related stories from Tacoma News Tribune

  Comments