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Live from Huntington, it's Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey comes to The Paramount in Huntington

Dana Carvey comes to The Paramount in Huntington on Sept. 11 with his "Humans Are Fantastic" tour. Credit: Getty Images for SLS Las Vegas/Ethan Miller

“Fun Machine” is the expression comedian Jerry Seinfeld recently used to sum up fellow comic Dana Carvey. Whether he’s playing Canadian teenage rock fan Garth Algar in “Wayne’s World” or the sassy Church Lady on “Saturday Night Live,” Carvey always delivers with sheer zest and boundless energy.

Carvey, 63, will bring his “Humans Are Fantastic” stand-up comedy show to The Paramount in Huntington on Sept. 11.


His stand-up approach is much like a jazz musician. No set is ever the same, and Carvey likes to work in the moment.

“Repetition is kind of hard on my brain,” he says. “I really aim to just amuse myself at this point. I’m totally free now and enjoying comedy more than ever.”

Growing up on a steady diet of watching Andy Kaufman, Jonathan Winters, Steve Martin and comedy troupe Monty Python, Carvey fell in love with comic rhythm.

“I love nonsensical things that just keep going. I enjoy extending these rhythms further and further,” Carvey says. “Nothing is funnier to me than when I’m really going out there and I’ll see someone in the audience just staring at me with a blank expression.”

Carvey will even get interactive with the crowd by having them pick the themes he discusses on stage.

“A lot of times I’ll have yellow pieces of paper with notes and I’ll hand them to the audience. I’ll say, ‘What do you like?’ They can pick a topic,” Carvey says. “It keeps me alive and off-kilter. I want it messy.”


Carvey is known for his impressions of President George H.W. Bush, former daytime TV host Regis Philbin, broadcast journalist Ted Koppel, Beatle Paul McCartney and former late night TV host Johnny Carson. He doesn’t tackle his impressions head-on but instead presents a cartoonish essence of his subject.

“I don’t know if it’s boredom or lack of expertise, but tossing off the essence is really what it’s about for me,” Carvey says. “Accuracy is not as important as this rhythm that speaks to the person. I want it to affect the audience viscerally to a point where you are not sure why you are laughing.”


If things get out of control, don’t be surprised to see Carvey reprimand the crowd as the Church Lady.

“Well, well, well . . . we’re not laughing too hard are we? We like to drink al-co-hol, don’t we?” Carvey snaps in character. “It’s a nice device to use with hecklers.”

His signature phrase, “Isn’t that special?” instantly became part of pop culture and remains in the public vernacular today.

“I look at a lot of these things as songs. ‘Isn’t that special?’ is not a punchline, but it got a huge laugh,” Carvey explains. “It’s a musical hook, and underneath it is a complete dismissal of someone else’s opinion. It’s a funny rhythm that’s so condescending at the same time.”


As a bonus for the crowd, Carvey’s 20-something sons, Dex and Tom, will open the show as a new millennial comedy team.

“They were two single stand-ups that became a duo because neither one wanted to be the brother that didn’t make it,” Carvey says. “Sometimes they come out and go, ‘Take it in . . . that’s right. Two people have to go through life looking like weird versions of Garth.’ They have a real chemistry with each other. I think it will be fun for the audience.”


Carvey is in the process of putting together his own podcast, which is set to launch in the fall with sidekick Chris Rios.

“It’s kind of like shooting the rehearsal. When I was doing ‘SNL,’ Kevin Nealon and I would riff as Hanz and Franz for hours and some of the best stuff would develop,” Carvey says. “It’s a way to bring out the purest form of the bit.”

Dana Carvey’s ‘Humans Are Fantastic’

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m., Sept. 11, The Paramount, Huntington

INFO $49.50-$180; 631-673-7300,

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