Too Funny to Fail: The Rise and Fall of The Dana Carvey Show

(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Movie: Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show

Where You Can Stream It: Hulu

The Pitch: Fresh off a successful run on Saturday Night Live, comedian Dana Carvey was hired by ABC to create a new sketch show. Armed with a writers room that included a Murderer’s Row of up-and-coming talent such as Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K., Robert Smigel, Charlie Kaufman, and more, the show aimed to fly high on primetime. So how did The Dana Carvey Show crash and burn so spectacularly while still launching the careers of some of today’s most respective comedians? The documentary Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show will tell you everything you need to know.

Why It’s Essential Viewing: There are plenty of examples about miraculous showbiz success in Hollywood. But the more interesting stories often come from colossal failures. The Dana Carvey Show is perhaps the best example of falling upwards, and the chronicle of the show’s promising rise and frustrating fall is full of some of the best showbiz anecdotes I’ve ever heard. We’re talking about a show that premiered on ABC by having Dana Carvery as a breast-feeding Bill Clinton, complete with real-working nipples that actually dripped milk. That’s where the show started on a network that had just been purchased by The Walt Disney Company. Read More »

the week of trailer

Adam Sandler and Chris Rock have gotten together for a handful of comedies like Grown Ups and The Longest Yard, but they’ve never really shared a lot of screentime together. But in a new Netflix original film, they’ll be spending plenty of time getting on each others’ nerves.

The Week Of follows the Saturday Night Live veterans as two fathers who are coming together so their kids can be married. In the week leading up to the wedding, everything can and does go wrong, and these two are not making it any easier on anyone. Read More »

Too Funny to Fail Trailer

Dana Carvey was once one of the most popular cast members on Saturday Night Live. He star had risen so high that after leaving the late night sketch series that he launched his own self-titled primetime sketch comedy series on network television. So why did it fail?

A new Hulu documentary called Too Funny to Fail: The Life and Death of The Dana Carvey Show takes a deep dive into the creation of the short-lived sketch comedy series. Why is a canceled sketch comedy series of any interest? Well, The Dana Carvey Show featured the likes of Louis C.K., Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Robert Smigel, Jon Glaser, filmmaker Charlie Kaufman and 30 Rock executive producer Robert Carlock, all before they made it big. With so much talent in one place, why wasn’t this show a hit? Read More »

Hotel Transylvania 3

Last weekend, the animated sequel Hotel Transylvania 2 topped the box office, and it actually broke the record for biggest September opening. That basically makes Hotel Transylvania 3 inevitable, but it will be missing one key element from the first two movies.

Director Genndy Tartakovsky, the animation mastermind behind Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, has confirmed that he won’t return for Hotel Transylvania 3. However, he’s still very much interested in getting a Samurai Jack movie off the ground. Read More »

Triumph TV Show

Someone is getting a new TV series….FOR ME TO POOP ON. Yes, it’s true, Robert Smigel’s cult comedy puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, is getting his own TV show. It’ll be part of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, which will soon run from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. nightly.

Triumph’s show is currently untitled but will co-star 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer. Read about the plot of the Triumph TV show below. Read More »

With the likes of Chris O’Dowd, Lena Dunham, and Melissa McCarthy in supporting roles, Judd Apatow‘s This is 40 is positively overflowing with hot comedic talents. But the film features some more established comic players as well, including Robert Smigel.

During what must’ve been a slow day on set, Smigel decided to bring along his old pal Triumph the Insult Comic Dog to mingle with the cast and crew, specifically Apatow, Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd, John Lithgow, and Megan Fox. The results are predictably entertaining and just a little bit painful. Watch the video after the jump.

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A couple years ago Universal made a deal with Hasbro that put a whole bunch of board game films into development at the studio. The one result so far is Battleship, opening later this year, and in fact Universal has steadily shed most of the other projects: Ouija, Clue, Monopoly and now Candyland have all been cut loose to find new homes. The version of Candyland that was in development was the brainchild of writers Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger, who likened their approach to The Lord of the Rings with candy.

That incarnation of Candyland is apparently dead, and a new one, Candy Land, has stuck to Happy Madison and Columbia Pictures. Adam Sandler is now attached to star with Kevin Lima (Enchanted) directing and Sandler in talks to co-write with Robert Smigel. This collection of talent sounds like, if nothing else, one that will deliver a much more obvious film based on the sweet game. Read More »

When Judd Apatow announced his upcoming film, once tentatively titled This is Forty, we immediately wondered about the cast. That’s not just a result of Apatow’s fondness for a stable of comic actors that goes back to the Freaks & Geeks days, but a natural question given that the film is a spin-off from Apatow’s previous movie Knocked Up.

The story centers around Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann‘s characters from Knocked Up, so one obvious question concerned the participation of Seth Rogen. Would he show up? Now the actor says no. As a consolation prize, he announces that he and Evan Goldberg (left, above) will shoot Jay and Seth Vs the Apocalypse, a film they’ve talked about for a couple years, next February. Read More »

Three more have signed on for What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Kirk Jones‘ adaptation of the classic pregnancy manual. The comedy follows several different couples, Love Actually-style, as each experiences pregnancy and the miracle of childbirth. Bridesmaids actress Wendi McLendon-Covey will play a colleague and friend of Jennifer Lopez‘ character; True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello will be a single guy whose carefree, glamorous lifestyle is the envy of all the local dads; and Glee star Matthew Morrison has won the part of Evan, who teams up with Cameron Diaz‘ character on a celebrity dance show (really) and eventually gets her pregnant.

In addition to the actors named above, What to Expect will also feature Elizabeth Banks, Chris Rock, Brooklyn Decker, Anna Kendrick, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Rob Huebel, and McLendon-Covey‘s Bridesmaids co-star Rebel Wilson. The film will begin shooting this summer for a Mother’s Day 2012 release. [The Playlist, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]

More ensemble comedy news after the jump: Robert Smigel and Annie Mumolo board Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up spin-off, while Christina Hendricks, Sarah Hyland, and Dermot Mulroney sign up for Struck by Lightning.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Internet comic book lore tells a tale that Robert Smigel, the famous comedy writer who created The Ambiguously Gay Duo, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and more, once wrote a comedy screenplay for Green Lantern with Jack Black pegged to star. The hypothetical film is right up there with J.J. Abrams’ or Tim Burton’s Superman as projects that actually were developed but never got off the ground. With the new, serious Green Lantern currently the #1 movie in America, Vanity Fair took some time to sit down with Smigel to discuss some specifics about his mythic screenplay, its ideas, the process and, ultimately, its fate. Read More »