Dana Carvey’s son inspiration for Fred Armisen’s ‘SNL’ ‘Californians’ character

Fred Armisen and Dana Carvey
Photo credit Getty Images

Fred Armisen owes Dana Carvey’s kid, big time.

Speaking on a recent episode of Carvey and David Spade’s podcast, “Fly on the Wall,” Armisen revealed it was one of Carvey’s sons that he based his popular “Californians” sketch from “SNL” on.

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Fred Armisen
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“I was with him (Carvey) and we did a stand up show in San Francisco – and Dana was telling me about his son. He’s like, ‘It’s hard to be mad at him,’ because, I think he got pulled over or something. He does this impression of his son and goes, ‘No, but, no, Dad, no, you don’t,’ you know? From that, as we were trying to do a California accent, as we’re writing the sketch, that kind of came up.”

Armisen said he made sure to clear all of this with Carvey before taking the accent to the screen.

“I send him an email before it aired, and I was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, we’re gonna do this sketch called ‘The Californians’ and it comes from your impression of your son.’”

Armisen also noted that while the accent came from Carvey’s impression of his child, it was based on a riff the cast would do after trips to Los Angeles in the show’s off-season.

“It was a bit we’d do at the table. You know that moment you’re actually reading the sketches?” Armisen said. “When we came back, we would just start talking like, ‘Where were you?’ ‘Oh, I was in L.A.’ ‘Did you go up Barham? Did you make a left on…’ and that sort of built up.”

The rest is comedy is history.

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