Dana Carvey does stand-up at the Paramount

Dana Carvey performs at the Paramount in Huntington

Dana Carvey performs at the Paramount in Huntington on May 3, 2013. (2012) (Credit: Handout)

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Before the Church Lady, "Wayne's World" or Hans & Franz, Dana Carvey was a stand-up comedian. The "Saturday Night Live" alum is getting back to his roots when he goes behind the mic at the Paramount tonight.

Here are 10 things you might not have known about Carvey, 57, along with comments from the comic:

1 He turned down taking over "Late Night" from David Letterman.

When Letterman moved to CBS at 11:30 p.m. in 1993, NBC's "Late Night" was up for grabs. Before Conan O'Brien was considered, Carvey was offered the spot but he declined.

"I wasn't sure how I would have managed five hours of TV. Maybe I could have done it if I was single, did the show and just slept."

2 "The Dana Carvey Show" was ahead of its time.

The 1996 variety sketch show featuring Carvey, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel and Stephen Colbert with Louis C.K. as head writer seemed like a dream team. But it didn't take off.

"Doing a variety show in prime time is a tough nut to crack. Having it on ABC perhaps wasn't the best choice. We almost went to HBO."

3 President George H.W. Bush loved Carvey's impression of him.

The 41st president got a real kick out of Carvey and the two would send letters to each other and attend benefits together. Bush even invited him to stay at the White House.

"He's become almost a father figure to me. He always said , 'Ya never hit below the belt. Never went downtown ... in that nether area.'"

4 Garth from "Wayne's World" is based on his brother.

The character Garth Algar's verbal manner and his tech nerd background stem from Carvey's older brother, Brad.

"I took the cadence of my brother's voice and exaggerated it. I actually enjoy talking like that. There's something about that weird rhythm."

5 He was supposed to star in "Bad Boys."

Michael Bay's "Bad Boys," originally titled, "Bulletproof Hearts," was supposed to feature Carvey and Jon Lovitz instead of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Being a new father, Carvey was overwhelmed and had to pull out.

"I had a half-a-million dollar guarantee that I had to give back. When you get into a corporate movie and they back up a Brinks truck, you are just lost and untethered."

6 He's not fond of "Clean Slate" or "Trapped in Paradise."

Because of the poor quality of these films he dropped out of the industry for six years.

"I thought they were horrible and I gave up within a week of shooting. They were two quick, stupid mistakes but I stopped there."

7 He had a botched heart surgery.

Carvey went in for bypass surgery for a blocked coronary artery in 1997 and the doctor operated on the wrong artery. After a $7.5-million medical malpractice lawsuit, they got the right one.

"It was very bizarre to have a bypass on the wrong artery. My cholesterol was 450 all throughout my 30s. I was a ticking time bomb. Luckily, I'm fine and have no damage from it."

8 A Hans & Franz movie was written but never made.

Carvey and Kevin Nealon developed "Hans & Franz: the Girly-Man Dilemma," but when they pitched it to Arnold Schwarzenegger, he passed.

"The script was hilarious on an Austin Powers level. We integrated Arnold so much into it that the project ran out of steam when he turned it down."

9 The Church Lady is a state of mind.

The character of the Church Lady is not so much about religion as it is attitude.

"The put-down kind of thing is electric. It is about complete confidence and superiority. I feel like she was the forerunner for Simon Cowell and Judge Judy."

10 He was in the next room when Frank Sinatra died.

Carvey was on the floor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on May 14, 1998, when Frank Sinatra breathed his last breath.

"Frank Sinatra died six feet from me. When I was getting my final angioplasty, they put him in the room next to me."

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