Dana Carvey, the comedian known for his iconic characters on Saturday Night Live (SNL), recently revealed why he chose not to allow the late Robin Williams to make an appearance in one of his most popular sketches. Carvey’s character, Enid Strict, better known as the “Church Lady,” made her debut in 1986, and Carvey continued to play the character when he returned to SNL as a guest host. During a recent episode of his Fly on the Wall podcast, Carvey explained that he declined Williams’ offer to appear on his “Church Chat” segment because he was afraid Williams’ energy would take away from his signature character in the sketch.
“He was a really good friend, but he really wanted to do ‘Church Chat,'” Carvey said during the podcast, which he co-hosts with David Spade. “And this was in the early days, this was my golden ticket, and I was very careful. I thought if Robin got so excited … I was just afraid of it.”
In the “Church Chat” sketch, Enid Strict hosts her own talk show and interviews guests, typically the current week’s host. But the sketch is merely a guise for Enid to call out the celebrities for their supposed sins and criticize them for their behavior. Carvey revealed that Williams had called him one Saturday morning, asking to be included in the sketch when he was hosting SNL. However, Carvey declined the offer, which was challenging for him.
“It was heartbreaking, but you know we got past that, and we were [friends],” Carvey said. “But in those days, your thing [character] was very precious. I wanted to keep it quasi-real, in a sense.”
Carvey’s decision ultimately paid off, as the “Church Lady” became one of his most iconic characters during his time on SNL. Carvey’s ability to bring the character to life with a mix of satire, humor, and impeccable timing has left a lasting impression on audiences.
Although Carvey has not been a part of SNL since leaving as a cast member in 1993, he has returned to reprise his role as the “Church Lady” several times over the years. Carvey’s satirical take on the character is still relevant today, as Enid Strict continues to call out hypocrites and “Satanic panic” while showing her own faults along the way.
Carvey’s decision to protect his signature character from outside interference is a testament to his dedication to his craft. While it may have been difficult to turn down Williams’ offer at the time, Carvey’s decision ultimately helped preserve the integrity of the “Church Lady.”
The iconic character remains one of Carvey’s most beloved creations and continues to influence comedians to this day. The success of the “Church Chat” sketch is a testament to Carvey’s humor and willingness to take risks in creating dynamic characters that resonate with audiences long after they leave the stage.
In conclusion, Carvey’s recent revelation about why he chose not to include Williams in his “Church Chat” segment highlights his commitment to protecting his signature character and preserving comedic integrity. The decision may have been difficult at the time, but it ultimately helped solidify the “Church Lady” as one of SNL’s most iconic characters and Carvey as one of the best comedians of his generation.