Saturday Night Live Wiki
Saturday Night Live Wiki

Dana Thomas Carvey (born June 2, 1955) was a cast member on SNL from 1986 to 1993.

Dana Carvey had a minor role in "Halloween II", and co-starred on "One of the Boys" in 1982 (a short-lived television sitcom that also starred Mickey Rooney, Nathan Lane, and Meg Ryan). In 1984, Carvey had a small role in Rob Reiner's film "This Is Spinal" (playing a mime) with fellow comedian and then SNL cast member Billy Crystal. He also starred in the short-lived movie-based action show "Blue Thunder".

Carvey became a household name, when he joined the SNL cast in 1986. Along with newcomers Phil Hartman, Kevin Nealon, Jan Hooks, and Victoria Jackson, he helped to reverse the show's declining popularity and made SNL "must-see" TV once again. His breakout character was The Church Lady, the uptight, smug, and pious host of "Church Chat." Carvey said he based the character on women he knew from his church while growing up, who would keep track of the attendance of other church-goers. He became so associated with the character that later cast members like Chris Farley referred to Carvey simply as "The Lady". Carvey's other original characters included Garth Algar, Hans (from Hans and Franz) and The Grumpy Old Man (from Weekend Update appearances).

Carvey did an impression of independent candidate Ross Perot, during the 1992 US presidential election campaign; In a prime-time special before the election, Carvey played both George H. W. Bush and Perot in a three-way debate with Bill Clinton. As Perot, Carvey declined to say the show's signature "Live from New York" opening line, telling Carvey-as-Bush "Why don't you do it, live-boy?".

Dana Carvey in the "Wayne's World" sketch.

In 1992, Carvey joined Mike Myers to bring their popular "Wayne's World" sketch to the silver screen with "Wayne's World, the movie". A sequel was filmed and released in 1993, titled "Wayne's World 2". Carvey left SNL the same year. He held the record for having said "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night!" most often, until Darrell Hammond surpassed him. Carvey's SNL work won him an Emmy in 1993 for "Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program" (he has a total of six Emmy nominations).

After Carvey left SNL, NBC executives hoped to get Carvey to take over the 12:30 a.m. (ET) weeknight spot in the network's lineup in 1993 when David Letterman left his show, "Late Night with David Letterman". A big Letterman fan, Carvey rejected the offer, causing embarrassment for the network, which had publicly floated his name. Eventually, the 12:30 spot went to Conan O'Brien. In 1994, Carvey starred in the film "Clean Slate". 1995, Carvey filmed his first HBO stand-up special, Critic's Choice. The show featured Carvey doing many of his SNL impersonations, as well as making fun of the premium station's name, pronouncing it "huhbo". In 1996, he reprised many of his SNL characters for the critically-acclaimed, but short-lived prime-time variety show on ABC, called "The Dana Carvey Show". The show was most notable for launching Robert Smigel's cartoon "The Ambiguously Gay Duo." In 1997, Carvey underwent open-heart surgery for a blocked artery, but the doctors operated on the wrong artery. Carvey later sued for medical malpractice and was awarded $7.5 million. He has had to undergo a total of five medical procedures (four angioplasties and one surgery) to correct his heart problems. Carvey stated in an interview with Larry King that he donated all the money awarded to him to charity. Carvey returned to films in 2002, starring in the comedy "Master of Disguise", which was panned by critics, but managed about $40 million at the North American box office.

Carvey eventually withdrew from the limelight to focus on his family. He later said in an interview that he does not want to be in a career, in which his kids would already be grown with him having neglected spending time with them. Carvey made an appearance at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, reprising his SNL character Garth Algar with host Mike Myers for a Wayne's World sketch. On June 14, 2008, Carvey filmed a second HBO stand-up special (the first in 13 years), "Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies".

Carvey is number 90 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time.




  • Brad
  • Buddy Precisely, manager of Celebrity Restaurant
  • Ching Chang
  • Chris, Pat's love interest
  • The Church Lady
  • Derek Stevens
  • One of the Elevator Fans
  • Garth Algar
  • The Grumpy Old Man
  • Hans (from Hans and Franz)
  • Lane Maxwell
  • Larry Roman
  • Lyle Billup the Effeminate Heterosexual
  • Lyle Clark, from Toonces the Driving Cat
  • Marco, one of The Kitchen Boys
  • Massive Headwound Harry
  • Mishu, from Miss Connie's Fable Nook
  • One of the Two Sammies

SNL Career[]

  • 1986-1993: Repertory Player
  • October 22, 1994: Host
  • October 26, 1996: Host
  • October 21, 2000: Host
  • February 5, 2011: Host