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During his Saturday Night Live run in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Dana Carvey created a lot of characters. He did impeccable celebrity impressions of Johnny Carson, George H.W. Bush, Ross Perot, and more. He created several recurring characters that became pop culture phenomena. 

'Saturday Night Live': Dana Carvey sings 'choppin' broccoli' to Phil Hartman and Kevin Nealon
L-R: Kevin Nealon, Phil Hartman, and Dana Carvey | Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Carvey had too many roles on Saturday Night Live to list them all. But, here are our six favorites, including his most famous and some of his delightfully obscure ones. 

Buddy Precisely had catch phrases you’ll remember 

Dana Carvey had so many Saturday Night Live characters, Buddy Precisely may not be one many people immediately remember. But you knew him when he showed up for a sketch. The maitre’d of an exclusive restaurant, Buddy would only seat the biggest stars.

If you weren’t famous enough, he told you to “wait at the bar, wait at the bar.” And if you complained you’d have to “take it outside, take it outside.”

Dana Carvey should have done Massive Headwound Harry on more ‘Saturday Night Live’ episodes 

Carvey only did this character once, but it killed. So it’s a surprise he never did it again. Maybe the head prosthetic was too complicated. But, Harry had a gaping head wound. He attended a party and got his blood all over everything. 

Robert Englund tells a great story about watching this sketch with Wes Craven. Craven, normally quiet, nearly fell over laughing during this sketch. When the dog started licking Harry’s head wound, maybe there was nowhere else to go from there. 

Garth was the only Dana Carvey ‘Saturday Night Live’ character to get his own movie

Probably Carvey’s most famous character was Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers)’ friend and co-host Garth. They made two Wayne’s World movies, but the sketch was frequent on the show. Garth was the shier of the two but the yin to Wayne’s yang.

Hans pumped up the laughs 

The sketch “Pumping Up with Hans and Franz” was essentially one joke, but it was one that only got funnier the more you repeated it. Hans and Franz were Austrian bodybuilders who talked in thick Arnold Schwarzenegger accents. 

Really, it didn’t matter which was which because they were both the same character, but Carvey was Hans for the record. Their complaints about girlie men and ridiculous posing were a joy to behold every time they appeared on Saturday Night Live.

The Church Lady may be Dana Carvey’s most famous ‘Saturday Night Live’ character

They never made a Church Lady movie, but she was probably the character Carvey will always be most known for. It wasn’t just that Carvey dressed up as a woman. He played the devout television host as a scathingly militant moralist reprimanding her guests. 

You couldn’t go anywhere in the ‘80s without somebody repeating Church Lady’s catchphrase, “Isn’t that special?” She blamed most of the world’s foibles on SATAN with a heavy echo. With all the scandals in the news, Church Lady could be topical, with SNL performers playing Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, or guest host Rob Lowe mocking himself. 

Derek Stevens is the stealth best Dana Carvey character on ‘Saturday Night Live’

You probably don’t recognize the name Derek Stevens, but you’d recognize his song. Stevens was a singer/songwriter who made up the song “The Lady I Know” on the spot. The song’s memorable chorus was “choppin’ broccoli” sung with overwrought intensity. 

Stevens appeared four times on SNL but was already part of Carvey’s standup act. If you’re lucky, you can hear Carvey sing “choppin’ broccoli” live, or at least see the reprise in his 1995 standup special, Critics Choice.