Montana’s Link To La La Land…Featured This Week: Dana Carvey
This week’s edition of Montana’s Link To La La Land is all about funny man, Dana Carvey! The man behind the most impressive impersonations was born in the beautiful, hip town of Missoula, Montana in 1955! Carvey was three years old by the time his family moved to the San Francisco area. The good news is that they took young Carvey with them! According to the online website, The Famous People, Carvey is the second youngest of 5 siblings, whose parents worked as schoolteachers. That environment alone, probably provided enough comic material to get him started in the industry.
After graduating from high school in 1973, Dana worked as a stand-up comedian in the San Francisco Bay area. Four years later, after graduating from San Francisco State University in Communications, he made his mark in stand-up comedy by winning a Golden City based competition. By 1981, he MADE IT BIG with a cameo appearance in the movie Halloween II. Okay, truth be told, he barely had any screen time in the slasher pic, but the side angle of his flannel shirt and vest in the scene, were fabulous. He later appeared on the NBC sitcom ‘One of the Boys’, and by 1984 he had bit roles in ‘Racing with the Moon’, ‘This is Spinal Tap’ and then as a cop with mad computer skills in ABC’s ‘Blue Thunder’.
By 1986, Dana Carvey was well on his way when he became a cast member of ‘Saturday Night Live’! He created the character Hans, a bodybuilder who was, “…here, to pump you up!”, and as the oddly shy, Garth from Wayne’s World skits. Also, a big addition to his comic roster, was none other than Church Lady. As I recall, speculation across Big Sky Country keyed in on the thought that Carvey created Church Lady from an actual member of their family’s church during the time they lived in the Garden City.
The comedian with early ties to Montana, went on to team up with Mike Myers for the film version of ‘Wayne's World’ in 1992 and the sequel ‘Wayne's World 2’ in 1993. It was also at this time that he left ‘Saturday Night Live’ to pursue a movie career. Even though films such as ‘Clean Slate’ and ‘Trapped in Paradise’ did not fare well, he was able to reconnect to his audience while periodically appearing as himself on ‘The Larry Sanders Show’ through 1998.
The Dana Carvey Show was also in the making around this time. Although its racy contents were well received by critics, it was cancelled within a couple of months. Ironically, two staple performers from the show would later go on to hit it big. You might know them; Steve Carell of ‘The Office’, ‘The Morning Show’ and ‘The Patient’ to name a few, and Stephen Colbert of ‘The Daily Show’ and “Late Show” fame.
As for the focus of this article and our Montana link to La La Land, Dana Carvey went on to write ‘The Master of Disguise’ in 2002. The comedy was attacked by some critics, but younger audiences marveled at the many voice impressions Carvey mastered in the film. Hence, the Master of Disguise, both on and off the screen. Dana Carvey has since gone on to perform live stand-up comedy around the world and residencies in Las Vegas. He has wowed fans with his impressions of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Johnny Carson, Regis Philbin, Lorne Michaels, George Bush and countless others. So, when the chance arises, it’s fun for locals to brag how the talented Dana Carvey is from Montana!