It doesn't quite carry the legend of Richard Pryor's short-lived, too-dangerous-for-TV NBC show from 1977.
But Dana Carvey's 1996 ABC sketch show has proven nearly as memorable as an incubator of innovation, talent and outright silliness during its seven-episode run.
Every show sported a different sponsor (“The Szechuan Dynasty Dana Carvey Show” was the best), presaging product-placement humor a decade before Tina Fey's first Snapple gag on "30 Rock."
The Carvey program provided the first major forum for the likes of Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and surreal comic screenwriter Charlie Kaufman ("Being John Malkovich"), among others. And the show offered a stage for Carvey's inspired, goofy mimicry, which he early honed as a "Saturday Night Live" player in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The welcome news that Carvey is developing a new sketch show for Fox slipped by in January without much notice. Since then, he's been busy, most notably appearing in Ron Howard's March Funny or Die video reuniting all the living "SNL" vets who played presidents on the show.
On Monday, Carvey returned to Funny or Die with a taste of what we can expect from his new show, to be called “Spoof.” The online video – produced with his comedy partner Spike Federsen, the talk show host and former “SNL” and "Seinfeld" writer (he penned the “Soup Nazi” episode) – is a timely "Lost" takeoff.
But while "Lost" is on its way out, Carvey, who bounced back strong from heart surgery a dozen years ago, continues to display resilience.
It's notable, if perhaps only coincidental, that Carvey's video hit the web as the "MacGruber" movie is headed for theaters, with news stories containing the obligatory paragraph about how the best "SNL"-spinoff flicks were "The Blues Brothers" and "Wayne's World."
Dana Carvey is years past playing Wayne's sidekick Garth, but he's ready to return as the star of his own show, in new characters yet to be inhabited. Check out the "Lost" parody below for the latest preview of the Carvey comeback:
U.S. & World
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NY City News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.