90's Sketch Comedy Pt.1

The 90's brought us the best and wackiest comedy worth staying up late for!
June 25, 2008
By the mid 90's my attention span was measured anywhere from 10-12 seconds for any given form of entertainment. No chemical imbalance is responsible for this, no, I place the blame squarely on the cartoons of the 80's where the shows got shorter and the toy commercials got longer.

While I could no longer sit through an entire re-run of Mr. Ed, my mind had been perfectly groomed for the rapid-fire humor attacks of sketch comedy and the 90's gave us some of the best, if not the strangest of this genre.

Somehow the record feature had broken on our VCR at home, so I was forced to record these shoes in audio cassette format, just like the radios shows of yesteryear. But the comedic chaos was so burned into my brain it still made me laugh hysterically, even without the pretty pictures.

Of course, SNL was the old stand-by and the 90's brought the rise of our current crop of comedy legends: Mike Meyers, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrel.

But while SNL relied on the time-tested formula of political satire and recurring character sketches (Mary Catherine-Gallagher anyone?), a renegade SNL alum took the insanity to a whole new level and shocked the public in prime time!

The Dana Carvey Show was with us for only 7 episodes airing on ABC in 1996 at 9pm, but it was a sign of things to come as it pushed the envelope of what was funny and what was acceptable. It's hard to believe it wasn't yanked off the air after the first 5 minutes.

For example: The opening sketch of the first episode featured Dana Carvey as Bill Clinton addressing the nation from the oval office. Soon, out of nowhere "The President" announces that he has been undergoing hormone therapy, rips open his shirt and reveals multiple nipples from which he begins lactating and breast-feeding puppies and babies. Then he turns around to reveal that he has a "duck-butt", a literal butt of a duck. Then it ends. No need for a picture it's exactly as you would imagine it.

Another great series of vignettes paired Carvey with then-unknown actor Steve Carell (looking a little chubbier than how we've come to know him) as a pair of mixed-up pranksters who don't quite get the concept of a prank.

Here's the scene: The two pranksters place a large order at a fast food drive-thru. When they get to the window, they pay for the food and then drive-off before receiving their order, giggling and screaming maniacally that they "Screwed them".

Another odd and hilarious sketch involved another now-famous face, Steven Colbert along with Steve Carell as "Waiters Who Are Nauseated By Food".

Two waiters are presented from the point of view of the customer and begin reading the nightly specials. Each time they mention a new ingredient in a dish they begin swallowing nervously, then gagging until they are in full body dry-heaves. No vomit is shown, just implied.

Finally, one of my personal favorites is the "Awards Ceremony" skit.

The premise is that Gregory Peck (Colbert) and Susan Sarandon are presenting the Oscar for best foreign animated short and none of the nominees speak english.

As Peck (Not from Ghostbusters mind you) announces the first nominee, Steve Carell as Saj Patel rushes the stage screaming joyfully "I won the prize, I'm de vinner", to which Peck replies,"No, you've just been nominated". Apologetically Carell says, "I sorry".

It all happens again when Dana Carvey as Ling Ho Park rushes the stage as a horribly stereotyped Asian immediately rambling off his thank yous to "Ling Hong, Ning Nong, Ting Tong and Rex Harrison". While Peck (Not a Willow reference either) tries to remove him from the podium Carvey announces "Mr. Peck you leave me alone, you no good in Killer Mockingbird" causing Peck to erupt in a violent "Shut up, Sir!". The chaos builds from there, but those were the main highlights.

When I listen to the audio tapes now, it's funny to hear my own laugh track I supplied as these hilarous skits rolled across my TV screen. There are many more that will make you laugh out loud, but there were also entire episodes that tanked, which I guess is the reason the show didn't last longer.

It's a shame, but this show is not scheduled for any type of DVD release, although you can find some tape trading sites that provide them on DVD.

Maybe if we get a Wayne's World reunion movie someday, the Dana Carvey gravy training will be rolling along strong enough to warrant a DVD release.

Stay Tuned for Pt. 2: MTV's The State
More Articles From Hoju_Koolander
12 years, 1 month ago
i used to listen to Dana Carvey's stand up on my CD player all the time i loved it, i always thought he was an overlooked comedic genius over shadowed by myers and others. i have never seen this show but i'm definatley going to have to look it up now.
    12 years, 7 months ago
    For anyone whose reading this article long after the fact, The Dana Carvey Show is going to be released on DVD May 12, 2009, Which also happens to be my birthday-Happy Birthday to me!
      13 years, 4 months ago
      This was pretty biased, would have liked to have seen stuff on Mr. Show and the already mentioned Kids in the Hall and In Living Color.
        13 years, 4 months ago
        Wow How can all you guys forget about "In Living Color".
          13 years, 5 months ago
          You are "angry"yellow aren't you? Meanie! (j/k) Yeah, this was part one, I submitted the part two about The State on MTV but it has yet to appear. at least I mentioned Kids In The Hall and SNL. You're right though, Mad TV was great for the first 3 seasons! Maybe I'll try covering more than one show next time-thanks for the advice.
            13 years, 5 months ago
            Not to be mean or to knock your article, but I thought this was about sketch comedy in the 90's, not just Dana Carvey. What about the other guys and gals from SNL? What about The Kids In The Hall and Mad TV? I'll give you the BOTD since this is supposedly part one, but dude, there was a whole wealth of sketch comedy greatness from the 90's to write about.
              13 years, 5 months ago
              You know, all of the episodes of the Dana Carvey Show are available on Hulu:
                13 years, 5 months ago
                I like the article. i don't remember the show but i should. i am gonna go back and kick my 12 year old ass.
                  13 years, 5 months ago
                  I loved "The Kids In The Hall" and "Mr. Show With Bob and David". "The Ben Stiller Show" too!
                    13 years, 5 months ago
                    The only one I know is SNL, but good job though...
                      13 years, 5 months ago
                      I always liked kids in the hall...
                        13 years, 5 months ago
                          13 years, 5 months ago
                          I loved Carvey on SNL and his recent HBO special proved he still got it. But I just didn't like this show. For some reason Carvey and edgy just doesn't seem to go together.

                          So Carrell and Colbert were on this show? Cool. Someone should do a "Before they were famous." type article on something like this.
                            13 years, 5 months ago
                            You know what's really sad? Dana Carvey seemed to have more talent then Mike Myers, but I guess Mike proved us all wrong.
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