Well, isn't that special?
Too special for Robin Williams, apparently! On the latest episode of Fly on the Wall with Dana Carvey and David Spade, Dana Carvey revealed that he once prevented the legendary comedian and Oscar-winning actor from appearing in his signature "Church Chat" sketch on Saturday Night Live.
Carvey, who broke out with the character of the Church Lady on the long-running NBC comedy show, was afraid that Williams and his wacky energy might pull focus from his own character. "He was a really good friend, but he really wanted to do 'Church Chat,'" Carvey recounted. "In the early days, this was my golden ticket and I was very careful. I thought if Robin got so excited... I was just afraid of it."
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty; Stephen Shugerman/Getty Dana Carvey and Robin Williams
The Church Lady, officially named Enid Strict, made her debut during Carvey's first season on SNL. On her own talk show, Strict would welcome celebrity guests (often that week's host) to her couch as a guise to call them out and chastise them for their supposed sins. It became one of Carvey's most recognizable and recurring sketches.
Carvey also shared that Williams even personally asked to appear in the sketch while hosting an episode and Carvey declined. "He even called me Saturday morning at like 10 a.m. [wanting to be a guest in the sketch]," said Carvey, impersonating Williams saying, "'Oh, I'd really like to play.'"
It was difficult for Carvey to deny his friend, but he says he was hyper-protective of the sketch and the more realistic, natural space he tried to play in with the character of Enid Strict. "It was heartbreaking, but you know we got past that and we were [friends]," he reflected. "But in those days, your thing was very precious. I wanted to keep it quasi-real, in a sense."
Carvey was a cast member on SNL from 1986 to 1993, and in the years since has reprised some of his most famous characters, including the Church Lady, numerous times.
Williams, who hosted SNL in both 1986 and 1988 during Carvey's tenure, was already a household name thanks to Mork and Mindy and his stand-up comedy. At the time he hosted SNL, he was beginning to draw attention as a dramatic actor in film as well.
Listen to the full episode below.