Too Funny To Fail

Post-SNL is a tricky place. We’ve seen countless alums succeed and become massive movie stars (Fey, Ferrell, Murray, Martin, too many to list) and there are many who have disappeared into the clutches of near anonymity (O’Teri, what the hell happened to Horatio Sanz?!). But very few who left with great prospects on the horizon failed. One did, and it was so spectacular they made a documentary about it.

Dana Carvey was on top of the world after SNL. Super popular, cross demographic appeal, and a wicked ability to imitate people. When he left the show, he could do whatever he wanted. So he grabbed his favorite writer from SNL and decided to make a new sketch comedy show. They assembled a team of unknowns who we all now know: Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Louis C.K. They also had some other people who you might have heard of like Robert Carlock and Jon Glaser.

The show lasted 7 episodes.

The reasoning behind it is, The Dana Carvey Show was too out of left field for mainstream primetime viewing. And the writers weren’t doing it any favors by making their first sketch Bill Clinton with 8 nipples feeding babies and puppies. It was subversive, ahead of the time, and shouldn’t have followed Home Improvement.

The film is a series of interviews with the shows main players (barring C.K. for obvious reasons) about the show, their hopes, its’ failures. We get to witness what a life changing opportunity this was for both Carell and Colbert, and view some of the more hilarious sketches (Waiters made nauseous by food, The Grandma clown one). I enjoyed the documentary and laughed a lot. I was not surprised to find out that the show had a 90% male writers room (one female writer) and zero people of color. But hey, it was the nineties right?

Anyway, a good look back at a show that made complete sense on paper but couldn’t translate to the world.

3.5 out of 4 stars.

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