Dana Carvey Said Mickey Rooney Was "The Craziest Person He's Ever Met"
Both actors starred on a short-lived flop of an '80s sitcom.
Few people remember the 1982 NBC sitcom One of the Boys. Starring one-time Hollywood veteran Mickey Rooney as a grandfather moves in with his grandson and roommate in their off-campus college apartment, the show debuted as a midseason replacement in January 1982 and aired for just 13 episodes. But Dana Carvey, who co-starred as Rooney's grandson alongside a young Nathan Lane and a pre-When Harry Met Sally Meg Ryan, hasn't forgotten what it was like to work with the Babes in Arms star. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel last year, the Saturday Night Live alumnus recalled some of Rooney's wild and often alarming antics, proclaiming, "Mickey was the craziest person I've ever met." Read on to learn more about how the old Hollywood star reportedly behaved on the sitcom's set.
Carvey claimed that Rooney brought a gun to the set.
In a 1981 publicity interview with NBC News, Carvey and Lane were asked what it was like to work with Rooney. Carvey described his co-star "a very charming and down-to-earth guy," but Lane said, "He pulled a knife on me," before dutifully calling Rooney "the ultimate professional and very easy to work with."
But during a 2022 episode of The Jimmy Kimmel Show more than 40 years later, Carvey shared some set stories that gave credence to Lane's initial comment, claiming that the Hollywood legend ranted about his days as Hollywood's biggest star non-stop and would frequently pull a firearm out around his coworkers. "I mean he was brilliant, but he had a .38 revolver and he'd wave it around," the Wayne's World actor said. Slipping into one of his signature impressions, Carvey imitated Rooney yelling, "They're not gonna get me. If they come for me, I'll plug 'em." He went on to add that Rooney would walk down the hallways, frequently raving, "I was the number one star in the world. You hear me? Bang. [Kissing noise.] The world!"
In a podcast with Theo Von last year, Carvey recalled more alleged .38-related antics. "He didn't like the script, he would bring it out and he'd throw the script—'This script is caca!'—and he's waving this .38 around," the actor said. He added that Rooney also claimed he had plans to track down the serial killer Juan Corona and "plug him full of holes."
He also said that Rooney would throw his fortune in his face.
The gun wasn't the only unusual thing Rooney kept on him, per Carvey. On an episode of Fly on the Wall, the podcast he co-hosts with David Spade, Carvey said that Rooney would taunt him with the huge wads of cash earned from his resurgence doing a musical revue on Broadway and then the sitcom. "He was doing Sugar Babies on Broadway getting $50,000 a week, and then the TV show, they were giving him $50,000 a week, and he'd been broke for decades," Carvey recalled. "So he always carried like, $5,000 with him in cash and he'd put it under my face and go, 'Think I can afford lunch?'"
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Rooney apparently loved Lane.
Speaking with Kimmel, Carvey shared that the one-time child star had a clear favorite among the two younger comedians on the show. "Mickey loved Nathan," he said. "Wasn't so sure about me." On Von's podcast, Carvey said that behind their relationship was a mistaken assumption on Rooney's part. "Mickey thought I was gay the whole time," Carvey said. "He would put his arm around Nathan and look at me and just go, 'I'm just glad we like girls.'" (Lane came out as gay in The Advocate in 1999.)
The careers of all its stars outlasted One of the Boys.
One of the Boys didn't land with viewers or critics and it was only on the air for about four months. Meanwhile, the careers of Carvey, Lane, and Rooney would all go on, relatively unscathed.
Rooney died of natural causes in 2014 at the age of 93. "Mickey was 62 when I worked with him, had an incredible amount of energy, and he was very, very bitter and he lived to 95," Carvey said in Fly on the Wall. (He was off by two years; Rooney actually died at age 93 in 2014). "So bitterness won't kill you."
Meanwhile, his time on the show would be an important stepping stone in Carvey's path to stardom on SNL and in the Wayne's World films.
"I ended up working in Rockefeller Center on the sixth floor and on the eighth floor was Saturday Night Live," he told Kimmel. "I would get up there on Thursdays and I would sit in the bleachers and I would watch Eddie Murphy and I would watch Joe Piscopo rehearse. I was thinking, 'I really, really want to get up there.' It took me six years and then I ended up there."