I hadn’t talked to Dana Carvey in so long, I forgot how much he makes me laugh on the phone. We began by reviewing our health.
“Can you touch your toes easily in the morning when you get out of the bed?” he asked. (I said “Yes.”) “Hmm, you’re kind of a health freak. ... How long can you hang from a bar?”
Carvey, 58, performing Friday and Saturday at The Orleans, told me why he doesn’t come to Vegas for pleasure often.
“I just don’t partake,” he said. “Go to the Palms to the bikini club and get a private booth? I don’t know. I’m packed in ice after the show. I just sleep 13 hours, and then they thaw me out.”
We got to talking about “Wayne’s World,” of course, and he surprised me with this little revelation.
“I never watched it for like five years. I was so distraught by how some of my things turned out. Then I thought it was pretty good.
“I think two idiots that are happier than anyone else in the town is kind of the charm of it. I think that’s perennial. I mean, they had an AMC Pacer, and they lived with their parents, and they had nothing, but they were incredibly happy. There’s something in that.”
A few weeks ago, I asked David Spade what to ask Carvey. Spade said I should ask Carvey how it is that he always kills on stage.
“Oh, that’s the people-pleaser side of me,” Carvey said. “That’s kind of a dysfunction. I’m empathetic to the audience, like, they’re seeing me, so I tend to go all out. But I don’t kill every time.
“It’s probably a bad sign” to kill consistently, he said. “It means I’m not taking chances.”
But he is taking some chances. He will bring a lot of new material to The Orleans. And lately, Carvey has been conducting 15-minute Q&A sessions with fans after shows.
“People bring up old bits or old characters or ask questions. It’s really fun to do,” he said.
“And sometimes, I’ll just try out bits that I have in embryonic stages, if someone leads me to the topic. Sometimes, you write on stage. Because of the adrenalin, you’ll come up with an angle.”
He is doing an impression of President Barack Obama because he always has done politicians regardless of party.
“Yeah, anyone in power, we have to tear them down and satirize them. It’s the American way, whoever’s in there.
“I look at running for president as you’re in the landing craft with Tom Hanks in ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ That’s when you’re running for president. When you get elected president, you’re on the beach with Tom Hanks in ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ ”
Obama wouldn’t mind, we think.
“No. And (George) Bush Sr., who I saw recently, he just saw it came with the turf,” Carvey said. “He didn’t like stuff that was super bitter or intentionally hyper-cruel, but as far as really making fun of him, he still loves it when I do it.”
FYI: If I screwed up any of Carvey’s quotes today, he can tell me later because he was recording our chat.
“I have 11 meetings for animations, voice work this week,” he said. “I was thinking of patterning one of the voices after your voice, so I’m recording just for that purpose.”
That, my friends, is how you keep a journalist on his toes while he’s talking to you.
Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.