Dana Carvey had spent some years knocking around comedy clubs in the San Francisco area and had scored some minor TV and movie roles, including playing a mime in "This Is Spinal Tap."
Then in 1986, he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," and, along with fellow newcomers Phil Hartman and Kevin Nealon, pulled the show out of one of its least funny periods. Carvey's characters -- the Church Lady, Garth Algar and Hans among them -- and his astoundingly accurate impersonations of George H. W. Bush, Ross Perot and Regis Philbin quickly made him a star. (His Wikipedia entry lists more than 50 celebrities Carvey impersonates, from Woody Allen to Frank Zappa.)
He'll be bringing his comedy and his characterizations Friday to the Tampa Theatre.
His stint on "Saturday Night Live" ended more than 20 years ago, but that's probably what most people still remember him from. He's done a lot of television work since then, including his 1996 variety show "The Dana Carvey Show." He's appeared in more than a dozen movies in his post-'SNL' career, most of them undistinguished. He took almost a decade off from steady work to devote himself to his family.
Still, he's so funny on stage that he's listed on Comedy Central's "100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time." Carvey is number 90, just behind Kevin James and just ahead of Jim Breuer.
Details: 8 p.m. March 7, Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. Tickets: $ $52.50 and $72.50 plus service charge. Information: 813-274-8981, www.tampatheatre.org.
-- Marty Clear