Saturday Night Live: The Best Of Dana Carvey

The latest Saturday Night Live compilation spotlights perhaps the show's greatest impressionist. A small, slight blond in real life, Carvey does dead-on impersonations of celebrities via his gift of voice emulation. This disc opens with Carvey doing former U.S. Presidential candidate Ross Perot, delivering a rapid-fire barrage of political nonsense in a nasal twang like a parrot on speed. He perfectly captures Robin Williams' manic delivery in a sketch with Williams (inexplicably cut short). Carvey gets ambitious in the acidic "Carsenio Show" sketch, where he blends hip, black '90s talk show host Arsenio Hall with unhip, white talk show legend Johnny Carson. Ouch. Also included is the infamous remake of the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life, starring Carvey as a homicidal Jimmy Stewart that would have Frank Capra spinning in his grave. Besides impersonating celebrities, Carvey invented his own memorable characters — the smaller half of the Austrian bodybuilding morons Hans & Franz; Mike Myers' geeky sidekick Garth of Wayne's World; and most famously, the prudish Church Lady, with guest appearances by Sean Penn and Danny DeVito. Carvey's SNL sketches from 1986 to '93 run 61 hilarious minutes, while the extras span another 30, all of them solid. TV guest appearances on Leno and Conan O'Brien allow Carvey to run wild with impersonations, while the outtakes and an SNL dress rehearsal are fun. However, the real gem is the seven-minute audition tape where Carvey unveils nascent versions of SNL characters Derek Stevens (the talent-less English rock star) and Carvey's shy, real-life brother Brad, who would evolve into Garth. Plus: photo gallery. (Lions Gate)