Dana Carvey: Straight White Male, 60 Plot Summary:
SNL legend Dana Carvey returns to the stage in his Netflix comedy special, “Straight White Male, 60.” Famous for such characters as the Church Lady, Garth Algar and his wide range of impressions (most notably George H.W. Bush), Carvey touches on such topics as this year’s election, being a dad, and millennials.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Dana Carvey (side note: we share the same birthday). Aside from Chris Farley, he may be my favorite SNL cast member of all time. And yes, I am going to be the old man waving his cane who bemoans “Back in my day, Saturday Night Live was actually funny.” Discussion for another day. Aside from his iconic impressions, Carvey may be responsible for my favorite on-screen comedic performance as Garth Algar in Wayne’s World. I love that character. Carvey created many characters. This isn’t the greatest comedy special of all time by any means, but it’s a damn good one. To put it simply, this is watching a vintage comedian work his magic. He’s not snarky. He’s not mean spirited. He’s not angry. He’s just flat out hilarious.
Carvey practically dives into Donald Trump as he walks on stage. The audience cheers don’t even die down yet and he’s already Trumping it up. Carvey’s trademark were always his impressions and voices. I’m not going to say this is the greatest Trump impression of all time, but the content is amazing. It’s not so much the voice, but the physical attributes that absolutely slayed me. He nails it. With the election nearly over, this is another opportunity to soak in Donald Trump before it’s more than likely all over.
The political assault continues, as Carvey even brings in a little George W. Bush, which was hilarious. One of the best lines of the special is Carvey’s Bush impression knocking Trump’s haircut. I lost it. Some of the other impressions were hit or miss. His Hillary Clinton was pretty good, but not nearly enough. Obama was kind of a miss. He even does some Hitler jokes, but they went on too long. Eh. He does bring it back though with Bernie Sanders. While not as dead on as Larry David, the lines were better. From Bernie, he goes into this whole diatribe about comparing socialism to the DMV, and capitalism to the Apple Store. I won’t spoil much more, but it was awesome.
Moving on from the political shenanigans, Carvey gets into what it was like raising teenagers. He creates a very generic catchphrase out of this, but Carvey delivers it so well, it doesn’t matter. Only a truly great comedian could have made such a whatever line that funny. Carvey also gets into slamming millennials. There’s never a bad time for that (I’m technically a millennial, so get off my back). He also gets into how divorce rates have skyrocketed for couples in their fifties, and has a pretty hilarious, but poignant line about why that is. That was brilliant.
One of the funniest bits that really had the audience in stitches was this whole take on Chinese documentaries. This alone makes the special worth watching. The subtleties he nails is just perfect. What’s also funny about this bit is Carvey legitimately didn’t think people would respond to it, but they sure as hell did.
Some of the other highlights include gut-busting stuff on pharmacies, the Kardashians and you even get a little Garth/Church Lady. What’s great about that is they are intertwined with great stories. It’s not like he just starts doing Garth and the Church Lady. There’s also a brilliant little anecdote about Richard Pryor.
While the special never got bad, there’s a few lulls. A lot of the religion cracks didn’t hit for me, and he also goes into this long-winded Irish airline bit. I suppose if you have Irish blood, or have been to Ireland it will speak to you, but it fell flat for me. We obviously get some Cosby in there, which was just okay. There’s also an Al Pacino Scarface impression that was funny, but the set up left a lot to be desired. Even the worst stuff in the special is half-way decent.
If you’re a fan of Dana Carvey or ’90s SNL era humor, you need to watch this. If you like comedy, then you should probably still watch it. The best parts are also at the end. He does a Michael Caine impression that had my chest hurting. The end will also put a big fat smile on your face. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say it’s a conversation between two musical legends.
News Flash: Dana Carvey is still really funny.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)