What a show! What a time! What a joke! This remains a vital historical event in sketch show history; too bad, it is a tragedy.
Usually, I mention the creators of a show or a film at first, but this is a special case. The rarity of this show is that it doesn’t just stay within the boundaries of Dana Carvey and Robert Smigel, the creators. Not that they haven’t done a good job, in fact they have done an excellent work. But their premise is based on the fact that the boundaries lie on the horizon that you obviously will never catch. As a result, this outrageous satirical sketch show has to and does go out of boundary. And adding to that, the sensitivity is on a whole new level when these writers go unapologetically after politically incorrect substance- often consider as offensive comedy- and more importantly going consistently against the president of the country along with racial comments, government policies, headline of the news and musical parodies.
Stamping its doom within the first act of the pilot, the show never got an unbiased chance to be checked beyond its absurdity. And is probably the reason why more than two decades later, the show holds up and has grown as one of the raunchiest and smartest sketch shows of its time. The amalgamation of wittiest writers, that later went on excelled at their own field, like Louis CK, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Charlie Kauffman, Bob Odenkirk, Robert Carlock and Steve O’Donnell, each of their polishing the sketches in first, second and the last act, serves the purpose of jaw dropping humour that fills the room with long gasps as much as it does with rioting laughter.
Another reason why it communicated so powerfully with the audience is the performance of the cast which was of Saturday Night Live scale; of course, because most of them came from that very show. There came a lot of sketch shows besides SNL but one of the main reasons none worked to that scale is the cast and their commitment. And this cast going to this length is why The Dana Carvey Show remains this unique entity that floats in its own space, it is a universe worth exploring.