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

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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 »

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 »

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The Dana Carvey Show is now on Hulu. What’s the big deal? Well, when the sketch comedy show premiered on ABC in the mid ’90s—following a family-safe block of programming—millions were in awe at the stuff it got away with. It was too good to be true, giving SNL an irreverent elbow. When Carvey spoofed President Bill Clinton by whipping out countless flabby breasts to proudly nurse babies and puppies, it was the beginning of the end. Ratings were steady but still used as a scapegoat, and it was axed after eight episodes. Parents and middle school teachers exhaled in unison.

Knowing that Robert Smigel‘s “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” debuted right after Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s stupid girl troubles on Home Improvement remains incredibly surreal and relevant in the current climate.

After the jump is a screen-shot that captures the show’s insane roster of writers: Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and Charlie Kaufman for starters…

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