The Dana Carvey way fail your way into blockbuster fundraising success
Remember the Dana Carvey Show from the mid-1990s?
Or, at least, I didn’t remember until I came across a documentary on Hulu that someone made about it.
If you’ve never heard of Dana Carvey, he was a long-time Saturday Night Live cast member in the 80s/90s back when the show actually cast funny people with more than a spec of talent.
As I watched the doc, it brought back memories reminding me just what a disaster it was.
The audience HATED it.
The network bosses HATED it.
The critics HATED it.
One critic was so bitter about it he called it an “artistic Chernobyle.”
From the show’s premiere (which featured Carvey impersonating Bill Clinton breastfeeding a baby as the title sketch) onward, it was a rolling disaster.
And after just 8 measly episodes, the show was canceled by ABC.
Now, 9 times outta 10, such a universally-panned TV project would be a huge black mark that even the best entertainers would have trouble recovering from.
But then there’s 1 time that something really incredible happens.
Because while Dana Carvey’s star never really shined that bright afterward, many of the people on the show, who were previously complete and utter “nobodys,” went on to huge success.
All of these guys went on to be massively successful comedians and stars.
Another show where something similar happened was the show “Freaks & Geeks.”
The show lasted only a couple seasons, but was the first big break for the previously-unheard of James Franco and Seth Rogan.
Moral of the story:
ALWAYS GO BIG WITH YOUR FUNDRAISING COPY!
Sure, there’s a big chance your crazy idea will probably crash and burn in the split test, but you could also stumble on the biggest winner your client has ever seen, and revolutionize your career in the process.
Also, as the great A-list copywriter John Carleton says, it’s always easier to tone down copy that’s a little too over-the-top than it is to breathe life into decrepit, bloodless, flabby copy.