Never Really Gone

Just because we haven’t kept current with Dana Carvey doesn’t mean he hasn’t kept up with us.

You think he doesn’t know about that proposal to build a giant Michael Jackson statue in the desert?

“If you take away the sleeping with little boys, just remove that from the equation, the guy can sing. He liked to sleep with little boys, but that doesn’t make him not a dandy hoofer.”

Or the Strip’s resident comedians, who will be performing when Carvey returns to The Mirage for shows today and Saturday?

“Someday I’d like to have a show there and live there when my kids are grown up. That would be fun,” he says.

“I would just live in the hotel and let my toenails grow long and drink my own urine. I’d have the whole top floor and slowly go mad. I would like to do (a show) where it’s me, Carrot Top, Louie Anderson, George Wallace and Bobby Slayton. Kind of a quintet. Just call it, hmmm, ‘The Wacky Dudes.’

“We’ll open a casino called Sir Laughs A Lot and just do four shows nightly.”

The usual rules of publicity dictate that performers will be volunteered for interviews only when they have something to promote. Carvey, 52, hasn’t had anything to sell since his 2002 movie comedy, “Master of Disguise,” and he might be tired of people asking when he’s going to do another one.

“They never ask movie stars when they’re gonna do stand-up, but they always ask stand-up people, ‘When are you gonna do movies?’ ” he points out. “They never say to Meryl Streep, ‘Have you got 10 minutes, kid? Can you play the Vaseline Room in Atlantic City?’ “

But Carvey says he has an entirely new stand-up act, and performs it about 50 times a year. “That seems to be enough considering all the stuff I’m doing (at home). Have you ever tried to help a seventh-grader with algebra?”

And, yes, “I am a stand-up. Everything else has been peripheral,” he says of the range of “Saturday Night Live” characters that might prompt those movie questions.

“Stand-up’s the best for a dad. You just go (on the road), you do a couple of weeks, you come back. Either that or” — he shifts into a dramatic narrator’s voice — ” ‘And finally, the career took the toll on the marriage…’ “

Instead, Carvey says he spends a lot of time driving his two teenage sons to bike parks around Northern California.

But he has turned his stand-up act into a free-for-all that lets his impressions flow on a whim.

“I do kind of a combination; I do one-man sketches, basically. A one-man sketch, that’s a new way to put it.”

He demonstrates on the phone how he switches back and forth between his famous impression of the senior George Bush in a dialogue with George W. The voices of Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and Al Gore also enter the mix.

“I’m a radical moderate. I like to make fun of both sides,” he says. His friend Dennis Miller embraced the current administration because “he’s just into killing bad guys… Comedians are damaged. We do want to kick ass. So of course, we’d be like” — sliding right into Miller’s voice — “Car-vey. I want whichever candidate kills the most bad guys.”

Carvey’s impression of the senior Bush made it into the national lexicon, but he insists, “I’m not a very good impressionist… I get bored with accuracy. I just exaggerate it and that became the thing. (Bush) doesn’t really talk like that.”

A classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch in 2000 teamed Carvey as the older Bush with Will Ferrell, who did the show’s best George W. impression. Carvey says he suffered for his art in the now-classic skit.

“Will Ferrell is 6-4, 240 pounds and he’s gonna sit on my lap. I’m 5-8, 145 pounds. It almost killed me. I had 6-inch heels on, and I was still like a foot shorter than Will.”

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