As one of the most celebrated comedians and impressionists to ever hit American stages, Dana Carvey has carved a unique niche in U.S. pop culture and remains one of the country's most beloved entertainers. Carvey was born on June 2, 1955, in Missoula, Mont., but was raised in San Carlos, Calif., in a typical middle-class environment. Carvey showcased a talent for humor from an early age, showcasing his skill for mimicking whomever he saw on TV from the age of 9 or 10, as well as showing a musical acumen for the drums and guitar. After majoring in communication arts at San Francisco State University, Carvey began performing in a number of Bay Area comedy venues with his own blend of stand up, and made his first move to pursue his Hollywood dreams in 1981 when he moved to Los Angeles.
After a short-lived development deal at NBC fell through and after playing a number of bit roles, Carvey scored the job that launched his career when he became a member of the repertory company on "Saturday Night Live" in 1986, after producer Lorne Michaels managed to check out his stand up act. From the start, Carvey played a major role in restoring the show's popularity, which had sunk during the 1980s. In addition to his amazing ability to lampoon politicians like George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot, Carvey mastered the art of imitating pop culture figures like Johnny Carson, Regis Philbin and Woody Allen, as well as his own characters like Hans from "Hans and Franz," the Church Lady, Garth from "Wayne's World" and many more. Over the course of his SNL career, Carvey was nominated six times for an Emmy Award, and finally won Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Musical Program in 1993.
While Carvey will forever be remembered for his work on the small screen, the comedian has also found huge success on the big screen. Both "Wayne's World" and "Wayne's World 2" were huge successes at the box office, but did little to help Carvey move past the looming shadow of his "Saturday Night Live" success. In 1996, Carvey got his big break with his own primetime variety show dubbed "The Dana Carvey Show" on ABC. The show had some serious potential and helped launch the careers of television and screen personalities like Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell, as well as debuting the long-running SNL short "The Ambiguously Gay Duo." Although the show received great reviews, it enjoyed only a short-lived run.
Carvey appeared in a variety of films over the course of the late '90s and early 2000s, including "Master of Disguise" and "Little Nicky," but his career has stayed relevant thanks to his standup acts and frequent reprisals of some of his past SNL characters and celebrity impressions. Carvey continues to tour yearly with his standup act, and his unique blend of wit, genuine personality and spot-on impressions will continue to keep him among the top comics working on the scene today.