Too Funny to Fail – The Story of The Dana Carvey Show

Too Funny to Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show on Hulu is my new favorite comedy documentary!

Too Funny to Fail chronicles the rise and fall of The Dana Carvey Show, which aired for a brief seven episodes on ABC in 1996. The show employed comedy greats like Dana Carvey, Robert Smigel, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K., and more. But, seriously, with that kind of talent, what could go wrong? Everything… absolutely everything could go wrong.

Dana Carvey was hot off Saturday Night Live when he decided to try his hand at primetime sketch comedy. After working with Robert Smigel on SNL, Carvey joined forces with his friend again for a new project. Smigel and Carvey quickly hired two no-name comedians from Second City: Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. With an unknown Louis C.K. as the head writer, The Dana Carvey Show seemed like an unstoppable force of nature… which might have been the case if they had been on a network like HBO. But instead, the show landed on ABC, a network recently purchased by Disney, and scheduled to air right after the family-favorite sitcom Home Improvement.

Too Funny to Fail features interviews with Dana Carvey, Steve Carell, Robert Smigel, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Hader, among others. Hulu manages to bring the majority of the band back together for a documentary to explore what went wrong with such a promising endeavor; how could it fail? Watch the trailer below and a fantastic scene from the movie below:

It had all the makings of a huge television success: a white-hot comic at the helm, a coveted primetime slot, and a pantheon of future comedy legends in the cast and crew. So why did The Dana Carvey Show – with a writers’ room and cast including then unknowns Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Louis C.K., Robert Smigel, Charlie Kaufman, and more – crash and burn so spectacularly?