Too Funny To Fail – Review

The documentary Too Funny To Fail is available October 21st, only on Hulu.

“In retrospect, it’s kind of remarkable that we got so many people to do the same thing all over the country at exactly the same time,” a comedy writer quips towards the end of Too Funny To Fail. He isn’t referencing a positive act though. He’s referring to all of America collectively sighing and changing the channel.

How did The Dana Carvey Show flop so spectacularly? The sketch comedy program had everything going for it: A superstar name in Dana Carvey, an all-star staff including Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Louis C.K., and the best slot in prime time following Home Improvement. All this, and yet the show only filmed eight episodes. (And only seven were aired!)

They say hindsight is 20/20, and in this new documentary, everyone involved in The Dana Carvey Show‘s crash and burn is interviewed, as they reminisce about the good times they had, and what they did wrong.

The filmmakers really cover everything in the 90-minute runtime. Viewers will get behind-the-scenes looks at sketches from the show that have since become cult sensations, like “Grandma the Clown”. Even comedy nerds will learn a thing or two by watching Too Funny To Fail. Not many people know that Carvey turned down the hosting gig for NBC’s Late Night, or how much debating there was between ABC executives over The Dana Carvey Show‘s first ever sketch: a lactating Bill Clinton.

Once ratings plummeted, head writer Robert Smigel decided that if the show was going down no matter what, it was best to continue the “counterculture” vibe of the program. The documentary shows how that inspired a new generation of comedians, like SNL‘s Bill Hader.

Honestly, the doc is worth watching for Colbert and Carell’s bromance alone. If you’re a fan of them, it’s awesome to see how their friendship began back in Chicago with improv comedy and continued through The Dana Carvey Show, all the way to post-Daily Show fame.

I give Too Funny To Fail an A.