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STUDIO: Shout Factory
MSRP: $24.99
RATED: Not Rated

  • Unaired Episode
  • Rare Deleted Scenes
  • All-New Interviews with Dana Carvey and Robert Smigel

The Pitch

Dana Carvey attempts a mid 90s solo breakout. Fails.

The Humans

Dana Carvey, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Robert Smigel

The Nutshell

Dana Carvey assembled a crack team of writers, as he attempted a satirical comedy sketch show for ABC. Pulling a lot of Second City and SNL talent together, Carvey offered up seven episodes before getting the axe. The sad thing was that he still had one more episode in the works. That show is presented on this DVD for the first time. So, sit back and thrill to the comedy highlights of 1996. You won’t believe how many Beatles Anthology jokes you’ll have to work through.

I still prefer Hartman’s Clinton.

The Lowdown

Dana Carvey is still a funny guy. Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies was his latest proof that his stand-up still holds up. So, the powers that be allowed a revisit to his 1996 ABC mid-season fill-in The Dana Carvey Show. Assembling a comedic support team that would go onto far more fame seems to downplay Carvey in the present. It’s hard to watch these sketches and not have one’s eye immediately drawn to Colbert or Carell.

The Dana Carvey Show doesn’t go for the easy jokes. Sometimes, it doesn’t go for the funny jokes. Sometimes, it runs a fucking joke into the ground. Bill Clinton is going to be the nurturing president of 1996. He can breastfeed puppies, lay eggs and and suckle babies. Smigel squeezes in more impressions of favorites such as Quentin Tarantino, Bob Dole and Ringo Starr. But, what will win over way-side SNL fans is the cartoon debut of TV Funhouse and The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

The show is oddly structured. But, don’t let that turn you off the program. Hell, even when the sketches turn into a Ma-Donny…don’t let that dissuade you. There is quality material. For every mis-step. There’s Joel Siegel masquerading as Gene Shalit. There’s Prince Charles singing a pop song about cutting off Princess Diana’s head. There is quality to be had.

If it was up to SONY (the show’s original studio), we would probably never see this series hit DVD. We’ve been getting tiny sniglet offerings on Sony’s Crackle on-demand front. But, a mini-sode takes the comedy out of context and makes one wonder why Carvey seemed stuck on only a handful of topics. The show had amazing writing from Charlie Kaufman, Robert Smigel, Jon Glaser, Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K. and Dino Stamatopoulos. Their jokes needed time to flow and breathe. It takes about three episodes on the DVD before that starts to pick up. 

I’m not saying that the show was unfairly cancelled. It’s just that I recommend comedy fans picking up the release. This is a cult show without a cult. Forgive the stupid musical numbers about the various sponsors. That opening credit joke got old so damn fast. Pay attention to the sketches and writing.

The Dana Carvey Show comes to DVD with a rather strong offering. Shout Factory loves the older cult shows, but outside of Freaks and Geeks…they don’t really offer the best looking discs. Fixing the A/V quality of these old transfers, these shows pop. Plus, they actually fork out the cash to clean up the unaired episode and deleted scenes. The interview looks like it was shown on the cheap and fast, but that’s not a problem. I’m just happy to be seeing this set look so sharp.

Familiarity breeds stale comedy.

The Package

Unaired Episode, Deleted Scenes and All-New Interview

There are some decent supplemental materials on this disc. You get to see the final eighth episode of the show’s solo season. There’s not a ton of great jokes here, but Smigel gets in a few more jabs as Bob Dole. The deleted scenes play almost as an outtake reel of previous scenes. More Nixon humor, more Beatles stylistic jokes and a few outtakes from the various openings. The all-new interview with Smigel and Carvey plays a little flat, as you get too many wistful memories of the past. I wish Smigel would’ve taken a cue from the recent T.V. Funhouse set and played it up.

Just look at that writing staff.

8.0 out of 10

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