Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show
Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
I've been aware of the Icarian reputation of The Dana Carvey Show for years, of being a viciously funny show that flamed out quickly because it was too edgy and ahead of its time. This year I finally watched the brief series, and then this documentary that puts its failure in context. The show had a dynamite cast and writers room, but it was too aggressively weird and too badly handled by the network. ABC Television was initially supportive, giving the team creative liberty and a big marketing push, but they scheduled it after Home Improvement and promoted it as mainstream family-friendly sketch comedy, which the show very aggressively was not. It probably should have been a late-night program instead, or just gone to HBO like Carvey's instincts first told him. As for the documentary, it can't help but be funny with so many hilarious people on camera, and I appreciated getting a behind-the-scenes perspective and seeing some deleted scenes, but it's a little strange to watch a documentary whose running time is more than half of the TV series that it covers.