Two of the most successful Saturday Night Live cast members ever are Mike Myers and Dana Carvey, who had a huge hit movie in Wayne’s World (and its sequel) and years of success on the show. Today, however, both have faded considerably from the limelight. Myers resurfaced last year to promote a documentary he directed (and to talk about nearly quitting Wayne’s World because the studio demanded he replace “Bohemian Rhapsody.”) Meanwhile, both Carvey and Myers were at the SNL 40 anniversary, but — aside from some Hans and Franz commercials — we still don’t hear that much from Carvey?
Why? Where did he go? What happened to the career of one of the best all-time members of SNL?
He was on the Pete Holmes podcast a few months ago, and he spoke at length about his career on SNL and after. It’s a nearly three-hour podcast (which is why I’m only just now getting around to it), and it’s definitely worth listening to in its entirety, if you have three hours to spare and you want to hear Carvey talk about his process and his philosophy in comedy. If you don’t have the time, however, here were the highlights, including details about why he left show business.
— He talked about his friendship with Phil Hartman, Their families lives close by, and they spent a lot of time together. Carvey says that he still has dreams about Hartman.
— He talked, at length, about the surreal experience of staying in Lorne Michaels house for weeks and meeting Paul McCartney, who would come over for five or six hour dinners. McCartney and Carvey bonded and became friends at those dinners.
— When he was 42, Carvey had to have a bypass surgery on his heart. Unfortunately, the doctor bypassed the wrong artery. Carvey sued him, not because of the money (he donated the $7.5 million settlement to charity), but because he felt it was necessary so that the doctor would admit he was wrong so that he couldn’t hurt anyone else. Carvey says that he’s still giving the money away. “I built a city in Tanzania, basically.”
— In a strange twist of fate, for his bypass surgery, Carvey was in the same hospital on the same day that Frank Sinatra died. Sinatra died just down the hall from where Carvey was.
— He said that on SNL, though he didn’t know it at the time, Lorne Michaels worked very hard to “protect him.” Michaels always ensured that Carvey appeared frequently during SNL episodes, which did create some resentment with other cast members.