Dana Carvey’s career has endured across the decades, and across changes in performance platforms, whether in his live act, video or audio.
Carvey is still booked at major theaters, this weekend headlining a pair of shows at the Mirage Theater. He’s famous for his TV work, obviously from his days on “Saturday Night Live.” He’s been a film star in “SNL’s” famous spinoff “Wayne’s World.” And the 68-year-old comic actor has rejuvenated his career with his podcast with fellow “SNL” alum David Spade, “Fly on the Wall,” which premiered in January 2022 and is about to surpass 80 episodes.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing this at this age, so I take it one year at a time,” Carvey says. “It’s because of that silly podcast with my very good friend David Spade. That blew up, and now we’re looking into all kinds of stuff.”
More highlights from a recent chat with Carvey ahead of his stand-up shows at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at The Mirage:
Johnny Kats: I have seen you a few times in Las Vegas, and we’ve chatted three or four times over the years. But I remember you being booked in Chico, California, when I lived there. It was in the early ’80s, I think, before “SNL.”
Dana Carvey: Oh, definitely. I was working with a juggler, a juggler extraordinaire. He would juggle a chainsaw, a bowling ball and an apple, and he would start taking bites of the apple while juggling. He was brilliant. Then it was, “Welcome Dana Carvey! With his Jimmy Stewart-as-a-waiter impression!”
We talked once and you broke into a rendition of “Chopping Broccoli,” from your “SNL” days.
What the hell is with “Chopping Broccoli,” what the hell is going on, in my teeny little world? I did it on “SNL” once, once at Comic Relief, and once on an “SNL” special in ’96, and it just kept going. I guess because it’s silly. There’s no real joke, but people like it.
Wasn’t that routine part of your audition for “SNL,” too?
Yeah, yeah, I did a little bit of it.
I think that came up in the documentary about “The Dana Carvey Show,” which was great.
Seven episodes, yeah. I do a lot of ill-fated shows, and then they get all this attention later. It’s a little bittersweet.
Do you find that some of your characters have been around so long that people can forget where they originated?
I just did a Hans & Franz thing with Conan O’Brien, where we wrote a script together with Kevin Nealon (Carvey’s partner in the sketch) and (comedy writer) Robert Smigel called “Hans & Franz: The Girly Man Dilemma.” We did a podcast reading of it, and it was kind of nice to put that whole thing in context and talk about it, because Hans & Franz was sort of insane.
Kevin has been in Vegas recently, at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM Grand. I thought he was terrific.
Kevin is what you call “in shape.” He gets his reps in. He writes all the time. He’s as good as it gets when he’s on. I’ve had trouble following him many times. Me, Dennis Miller and Kevin used to do a trio act. Kevin opened one night, and Dennis was going on in the middle. Dennis was like (shifting to a Dennis Miller impression), “Christ, Dana, Kevin is hitting ’em like a speed bag out there. It’s like Floyd Mayweather before the 49th knockout. I gotta follow this? His joke-per-minute meter is like at 11.”
I love the Dennis Miller voice, even if not everyone gets it.
David and I were just interviewing Steve Martin and Martin Short — it hasn’t come out yet — and in our interview I threw in a little Dennis. I love being in Dennis’s head — I get a bigger vocabulary. “OK, Steve Martin and Martin Short, maybe your billings should be Steve Martin Short. You’re gonna need to save a word in there.” And Steve Martin says, “Can you call me later and talk to me just as Dennis Miller?”
Is it a challenge to write material that reaches a cross section of an audience? Comics often say it can be tough to connect with a crowd that is as divided as we’ve become culturally.
I just do it the way I’ve always done it. Some comedians are going to teach you, whatever side of the aisle they’re on. I’m going to be funny. I’m going to try to take the source material, if it’s Joe Biden, or Donald Trump or Dr. Fauci, and just make sure that it’s funny, while based on some truth. I feel like it’s an American thing, not left or right, to just take the piss out of the people in power.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.
This content was originally published here.