Dana Carvey is getting into full political mode. During an interview he rattles off more impressions than can be kept track of: the Clintons, Ted Cruz, even a little old-school Arnold Schwarzenegger. (“He’s doing ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ you know, and I can’t wait to hear him say ‘Get to the choppa’ every week.”)
Carvey has said, “I’m not saying I want Donald Trump to be president, but I never want to live in a world where Donald Trump is not running for president.”
“I’m doing a lot more Trump now. I do Bernie with that staccato delivery. Ted Cruz is easy,” he says, and adds a quick “the blood of the lamb” in full evangelical flourish. “Hillary was easier lately when her voice got tired and hoarse, so I did Bill with the earpiece – ‘Slow down, baby.’ ”
Carvey comes into the Atlantis in Reno for Memorial Day weekend. (“I love Reno. You can see hills and stuff.”) He first played a casino, the Sahara Tahoe, 30 years ago, fresh off his success on “Saturday Night Live” where he created the Church Lady, Garth Algar and Hans, characters that have entered the pantheon of comedy. He also perfected his political impressions then, particularly of George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.
Whether any of those pop up in his shows is unpredictable.
He has a special that coming out on Netflix in the fall (“I try to keep my political stuff evergreen”). “We’ve got six and a half hours of ‘First Impressions,’ the competition show Freddie Prinze Jr. and I do for USA, and I do a lot of different things in different places. You never know.”
Carvey, 60, has two sons and both have wanted to enter stand-up. (One or both may open for him this weekend.) “I’m pleased they have a passion. It’s a different business out there for them than it was for me.”
Carvey plays at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, May 27-28. ($65-$100; atlantiscasino.com)
Memorial Day has traditionally kicked off the summer season at Lake Tahoe. This year starts with Thompson Square, the rapidly rising duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson, purveyors of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” They play the MontBleu Saturday. (8 p.m.; $45-$55; Ticketmaster)
Playing next door is one of the bigger tribute shows out there, Zoso, the “ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience,” at Harrah’s Tahoe. (7:30 p.m. $16 general admission, $22 seated; Ticketmaster)