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Dana Carvey Is Sorry He Made Sharon Stone Undress For Laughs

By Andrew Sanford | TV | March 22, 2024 |

By Andrew Sanford | TV | March 22, 2024 |


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Nothing ages worse than comedy. Sometimes you get lucky. There are premises simple enough to stand the test of time. Just look at the physical comedy of someone like Buster Keaton or Steve Martin. Someone moving or contorting their body funnily will (hopefully) never go out of style. It’s when jokes get into cultural “norms” that things get dicey. Cultures and societies change. What is accepted in, say, 1992, may not fly the same today.
That was the topic of conversation on a recent episode of Fly On the Wall, Dana Carvey, and David Spade’s podcast about SNL.

SNL has a record of aging poorly. Most of the time, it’s because of racial stereotyping that, even at the time, was a bad choice. Jimmy Fallon once impersonated Chris Rock in blackface. If you want to hear Chevy Chase say the n-word but don’t have time to visit him at his home, don’t worry, SNL has you covered!

Dana Carvey and David Spade recently had Sharon Stone on their podcast. At one point, they discuss an Airport Security Sketch in which Carvey, playing an Indian man using, you guessed it, brownface, makes Stone’s character undress at security. I watched the sketch this morning, and trust me, you don’t have to. It is one joke stretched over six minutes. It reminded me how stacked the cast was, and how you can have an all-star cast and still do something painfully unfunny.

Spade does his best to make amends for the sketch. “I want to apologize publicly for the security check sketch where I played an Indian man, and we’re convincing Sharon, her character, or whatever, to take her clothes off to go through the security thing,” he said to Stone. “It’s so 1992, you know, it’s from another era.” He’s not wrong. It was a different era, and Stone, for her part, understands that.

“I know the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony,” the actress said. “And I think that we were all committing misdemeanors [back then] because we didn’t think there was something wrong then. We didn’t have this sense. I had much bigger problems than that, you know what I mean? That was funny to me, I didn’t care. I was fine being the butt of the joke.” It’s nice that no one is digging their heels in here. Even Carvey didn’t try to defend his use of brownface in the sketch.

“When I was doing the Indian character … there was no malice in it,” the comedian said. “It was really me rhythmically trying to get laughs. So I just want to say that watching it — comedy needs a straight person and you were perfect in it. You were completely sincere and you made us funny.” This is a low bar to clear. However, when we are faced with older comedian after older comedian screaming, “You can’t say anything anymore,” in stadiums full of people, I’ll take a frank discussion and apology with glee.