Dana Carvey Explains Why Robin Williams Wasn’t Allowed in Famous ‘SNL’ Church Lady Sketch

Dana Carvey

Dana Carvey explains why he didn’t want Robin Williams to appear in his famous “Church Lady” sketch on Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Carvey, in a recent podcast episode with David Spade, revealed that he was concerned Williams’ energy would overshadow his own character in the sketch.

The “Church Lady” character, played by Carvey, made its debut in 1986 during his early days on SNL. Carvey continued to portray the character throughout his time on the show and even returned for guest appearances after leaving in 1993.

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In the sketch, the Church Lady, named Enid Strict, hosted a talk show called “Church Chat” where she would interview guests, often the host of that week’s SNL episode. However, the true purpose of the sketch was to satirize and call out celebrities for their supposed sins.

Carvey recalled a time when Williams, who was a close friend, called him one Saturday morning and expressed his desire to be a part of the sketch. However, Carvey made the difficult decision to decline Williams’ request.

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Carvey explained that during those early days on SNL, his character was precious to him, and he wanted to maintain its authenticity. He was concerned that Williams’ larger-than-life personality might overshadow his own comedic presence in the sketch.

Although it was a heartbreaking decision, Carvey and Williams remained friends, and they moved past the situation.

Williams, an acclaimed actor who won an Oscar, hosted SNL twice, in 1986 and 1988. Despite not appearing in the “Church Lady” sketch, Carvey and Williams continued to support and appreciate each other’s work.

The podcast episode delved into the challenges of breaking into SNL and shed light on Carvey’s careful approach to preserving the uniqueness of his character during his time on the show.

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