December 30, 2012

A Familiar "Dana Carvey Show" Sketch

Last night, we watched the complete series of The Dana Carvey Show on DVD for the first time.  The 1996 sketch comedy show starred Dana Carvey shortly after he left SNL, and featured a supporting cast that included Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert before either were a household name.  The show also featured an impressive writing staff that included Louis C.K. (Louie), Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation), and Robert Smigel (SNL's TV Funhouse cartoons).  I had seen a few sketches online before, but never actually watched whole episodes.  The show only lasted 7 episodes before it was canceled, but the DVD set includes an 8th episode that never aired.  I got the DVD set for Chanukkah this year, so I was very excited to watch it.  

Unfortunately, the show hasn't aged very well, with lots of topical sketches about Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, Ross Perot, OJ Simpson, and other old news stories to which we  didn't even get the references. Some sketches were kind of funny, but the show overall was rather disappointing, especially considering the all-star cast of actors and writers on the show.  Nevertheless, there was one sketch that really stood out to us.  The sketch featured a deleted scene from The Wizard of Oz which included the deleted character of "Dennis Blanchard", who wanted to see the wizard because he wanted a, well, I'll let you see for yourself:  (BTW, Steve Carell plays the Tinman and Stephen Colbert is the Scarecrow!)

The sketch stood out to us for a few reasons.  First, it aged much better than the others since it wasn't spoofing the forgotten headlines of 1996.  Second, it was actually pretty funny.  And third, it very closely resembled a recent Saturday Night Live sketch, which also featured a deleted character from The Wizard of Oz!  See for yourself:

Obviously the deleted character from both sketches are quite different, but still, the premise of a sketch about a deleted character from The Wizard of Oz is oddly specific.  Were the SNL writers inspired by the old Dana Carvey sketch?  Or did they both happen to thing of the same random idea?  We'll probably never know, but still, it's hard not to wonder...

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