Saturday, September 24, 2005
Where Are They Now ... Dana Carvey
As one of the funniest cast members to ever emerge from "Saturday Night Live," the transition into movies would have seemed a simple one for Dana Carvey. Having been a part of the mostly standout cast of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Carvey was consistently funny on the show, with characters such as Garth, Church Lady and Hans from Hans and Franz among his repertoire. Plus, during the 1992 presidential election, he hit the jackpot, portraying George H.W. Bush and candidate Ross Perot. The sketch where he plays Perot as he takes running mate Admiral James Stockdale (Phil Hartman) out into the country, with plans to desert him there, is one of my all-time favorites.
But back to the topic at hand, Carvey left the show in 1992, where he quickly found success with "Wayne's World" and "Wayne's World 2" both big hits at the box-office. But the real test would be how Carvey would fare once out from under the shadow of SNL-related success. That's where things started to go south.
Subsequent movies "Trapped in Paradise," "The Road to Wellville" and "Clean Slate" all were panned by critics and were DOA at the box-office. That led up to around 1998 when Carvey's movie career – and life – were put into jeopardy by double bypass heart surgery that was botched by his surgeon. Amazingly, the doctor operated on the wrong artery, leading to an eventual and justifiable lawsuit that netted Carvey $7.5 million. In the meantime, his acting career came to a complete halt as it took him several years to fully recover from additional surgeries that had to be performed.
So there's a perfectly understandable reason for why the comedian seemingly fell off the face of the earth in the late 1990s.
Less understandable is why he would choose "The Master of Disguise" in 2002 as his first (and only) starring vehicle he's had since then. Personally, I haven't seen it, but heard it was so awful that I can't bring myself to do so. I mean, his character's name is Pistachio Disguisey. Is that supposed to be funny or clever??? And he really doesn't have anyone else to blame for its failure, as he co-wrote the script.
At any rate, he hasn't appeared in another movie since then, and has only made sporadic appearances on TV as a guest star on some shows and a guest host on "Live with Regis and Kelly." He still makes occasional stand-up comedy performances around the U.S., but his star unfortunately seems to be one that will never burn as bright as it did when on SNL. Then again, there are so many former cast members from that show of which the same thing can be said, to almost render the observation meaningless. But if former SNL-er Rob Schneider can actually star in two (count em', two) movies about a male prostitute, there's got to be something worthwhile out there that can get Dana Carvey back on the big screen.