The Dana Carvey Show is a sketch comedy show which debuted on ABC in 1996. Although it got high ratings—due largely to the fact that it was sandwiched in between Home Improvement and NYPD Blue, both of which were hits—it was cancelled after seven episodes. Co-creator and head writer Robert Smigel would later fault himself for not having understood the family-oriented Home Improvement lead-in and ABC for not having issued a parental advisory as per his and Carvey's warnings.
Of the seven episodes which aired, six had sponsors in the style of such old variety shows as The Texaco Star Theater or The Colgate Comedy Hour. Five of these sponsors were Pepsico properties, the sixth was a local Chinese restaurant in Manhattan. Due to this sponsorship and the show's tendency to lambast its own "sponsors" (in one episode, Carvey hints to Smigel that a glass of sponsor Mountain Dew resembles a glass of urine), urban folklore would arise that the show was cancelled because it angered the sponsors. In fact, Carvey later claimed there was no official corporate sponsorship of the show by Pepsico nor anyone else, and that had been one of many jokes the show was playing on its audience. Rather, ABC apparently cancelled the show because it received numerous complaints from viewers unprepared for Smigel & Co.'s raw, unapologetic brand of comedy in a sketch show on network primetime.
In the decade after the demise of the show, it would become legendary due to the subsequent work of its cast and writing staff. Such future superstars as Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Louis C.K. and Charlie Kaufman were staff writers and/or cast members throughout its brief run. It would also feature the first appearance of Smigel's "The Ambiguously Gay Duo", a superhero cartoon parody voiced by Colbert and Carell which became the most famous and most popular recurring sketch in Smigel's "TV Funhouse" on Saturday Night Live later that year.
| Season One
|| March 12, 1996
|| April 30, 1996