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DID YOU READ

The 10 Funniest Sketches from The Dana Carvey Show

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Comedian Louis CK appeared on The Tonight Show this week and revealed to host Jimmy Fallon that he actively campaigned to not have Fallon as a cast member of the short-lived sketch program The Dana Carvey Show. Find out why here:

Unless you were one of the lucky few who caught it during its initial post-Home Improvement airing on ABC, chances are you weren’t aware that Dana Carvey ever had a primetime sketch series. Debuting in the spring of 1996 and canceled soon thereafter, the show was comprised of a powerhouse team of future household names and talent virtually unrivaled in the industry. Other than Carvey and CK, the cast and writers included Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos, Jon Glaser, Spike Feresten, Robert Carlock, and Charlie Freakin’ Kaufman! Despite this amazing pedigree, the TV-viewing audiences of 1996 weren’t ready for the show’s sublimely absurd content and surreal characters.

We, however, can look back fondly on The Dana Carvey Show and offer up this list of its 10 best sketches.

10. President Bill Clinton: Mother and Father to the Nation

Unsuspecting families who had just finished watching Tim Allen “Ar! Ar! Ar!” his way through another mishap stayed tuned to the premiere episode of a sketch comedy show starring that funny fellow who does that Church Lady character. What they got, instead, was Carvey as President Clinton cheerfully breastfeeding babies, puppies, and kittens. Tame by today’s standards, primetime audiences in 1996 weren’t ready for such a horrific sight, and the show was doomed to die on the vine. Looking back, however, it’s pretty damn funny.


9. World Leaders and Their Baths

Dana Carvey writer and cast member Robert Smigel welcomed us to his private bathtime as a playful and fun-loving King Hussein of Jordan. Basically doing the voice of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Smigel expounds on the joy of covering himself with bubbles and pretending he is a bubble creature, attacking the many toy army men and tanks that he brings to the tub. His smile and enthusiasm are nothing but infectious.


8. Stupid Pranksters

The Dana Carvey Show was parodying the glut of YouTube pranksters at least a decade before their welcome was way overstayed. As two of the very few recurring characters on the short-lived show, Carvey and Carell play two snickering jokesters who haven’t quite got the whole scam concept down. Despite coming out of each situation short a few bucks or down a couple hours of manual labor, they celebrate in their car after making a hasty getaway.


7. Germans Who Say Nice Things

The stern Teutonic inflection doesn’t easily lend itself to kind words and affirmations. Yet, Carvey and Carell do sound sincere while shrieking pleasantries and dressed in blazers, turtlenecks, and flaxen-haired wigs. Although their tone reminds us of ruthless gestapos and brutal despots, it’s heartwarming to know that it was a pleasure babysitting Kevin.


6. The Cutting Room Floor Remembers If I Only Had an Ass

In one of The Dana Carvey Show‘s more epic-length skits (roughly five minutes), Smigel as a lisping Gene Shalit looks at one of the key figures in The Wizard of Oz who was unfortunately left on the cutting room floor. Carvey plays Dennis Blanchard, a man without an ass, who sings his troubles before a stunned and silent Oz group. Topped off with a throwaway gag of impersonated movie critics, this sketch exemplifies the insanity The Dana Carvey Show writers routinely brought to the table.

5. Waiters Who Are Nauseated by Food

A fantastic performance in just two minutes, Colbert and Carell are restaurant servers struggling to power through the specials of the day without emptying the contents of their stomachs in front of the customer. Between Colbert’s cleansing breaths and Carell’s dry heaves, the chemistry and rhythm the two had was evident even before their killer segments on The Daily Show.


4. Skinheads From Maine

The quaint, down-home charm of America’s northern New Englanders seems to bring a certain rural hospitality to staunch racism and brutal discrimination. Bald-capped and bedecked in flannel, Carvey and Colbert lounge on the porch in their rocking chairs, whittling and spitballing their future suckerpunch and hate-stick targets — in between casual comments on the weather and early lilac blooms.


3. Grandma the Clown

There’s nothing funnier (or more watchable) than seeing a young child filled with existential dread, and this deteriorated and garishly painted senior citizen clown supplies it in spades. As a solemn and humbled group of children watch in horror, Grandma the Clown creaks and groans into each slapstick schtick with a grimace on her lips and a word of advice to hang onto your fleeting youth.


2. Famous First Ladies as Dogs

A surreal display of comedic talent, Heather Morgan does dead-on impressions of the notable women behind our commander-in-chiefs…had they been dogs. The sketch doesn’t overload the concept with extra characters or even dialogue — beyond a few barks and howls. It’s just Morgan in various pantsuits and church hats, fully committing to the canine personas of our first ladies, and it’s phenomenal.


1. Tom Brokaw Anticipates the Death of Gerald Ford

It’s one of the greatest sketches ever aired on Saturday Night Live, but it comes directly from an unaired episode of The Dana Carvey Show. Same concept, same jokes. (It even includes a Carvey cast member — Robert Smigel plays the offscreen news director.) Dana plays Tom Brokaw on the verge of a vacation reporting all the possible deaths that former president Gerald Ford could suffer while he’s gone. Absolutely absurd and conceptually brilliant, it leaves us to wonder if The Dana Carvey Show would’ve lasted longer had this sketch aired in its intended program.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…