Dana Carvey was with Saturday Night Live during its second Golden Age (1986-1993) after Lorne Michaels returned and his plans on making celebrities of his new "Not Ready For Primetime" cast (the 1985-1986 season) fell through and nearly got the show cancelled, resulting in the cast overhaul that would bring the show back from the dead. Carvey's characters on SNL included the Church Lady ("Isn't that special?"), Garth of Wayne's World, President George H. W. Bush ("Wouldn't be prudent"), and numerous other celebrity impersonations.
After he left SNL, he starred in both Wayne's World films and The Master of Disguise with Jennifer Esposito. In 1996, he hosted The Dana Carvey Show, a Variety Show which was critically liked but had poor ratings. It also had among its writing staff future comedy stars Louis C.K., Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and (almost) Jimmy Fallon. He also appeared in the film Little Nicky with SNL castmate Adam Sandler.
His impersonations and their tropes:
- George H. W. Bush: Carvey's Cloud Cuckoolander was a sort of Trope Codifier for other impersonators. This also ended up being a big case of the Impersonation Paradox.
- He's impersonated almost every presidential candidate from the past thirty years. Of the ones in that video, his George HW Bush and Ross Perot were used on SNL.
- "A Grumpy Old Man": A... well.. Grumpy Old Man who reminisced about A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching and When I Was Your Age... with the tag line "...and we liked it!"
- Lyle The Effeminate Heterosexual: essentially a highly Justified Mistaken for Gay.
- The Church Lady: a takeoff on fundamentalist Christians — she runs a talk show — that was quite successful despite (or because of) invocations of Poe's Law. She also drums.
- Garth Algar of "Wayne's World": a nerdy metalhead.
- Whitey Duvall in Little Nicky: A basketball referee character made by Adam Sandler.
- Hans of "Hans and Franz" ("Ve vant to pump [clap] you up!")
- John McLaughlin of The McLaughlin Group: WRONG!
His works include:
- Halloween II (1981): His first film.
- This Is Spın̈al Tap
- Saturday Night Live: From which many of his characters come.
- Wayne's World: A recurring skit on SNL and two movies — he played Garth.
- Dana Carvey: Critic's Choice Carvey's first full-length stand-up special.
- The Dana Carvey Show: The Eponymous Show. The show also had a different sponsor each week with their name forced in as an homage to the shows of old e.g. The Taco Bell Dana Carvey Show.
- The Master of Disguise: Clearly trying to take advantage of Carvey's loads and loads of impersonations.
- Little Nicky: As Whitey Duvall.
- Dana Carvey: Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies, Carvey's second full-length stand-up special.
- The Secret Life of Pets as Pops, the resident Grumpy Old Dog