Fred Armisen Says He Based Beloved ‘SNL’ Characters On Dana Carvey’s Son

Fred Armisen looked to the progeny of a fellow “Saturday Night Live” star when creating a group of classic characters for the long-running comedy series.

The actor and comedian revealed Wednesday that a son of “SNL” veteran Dana Carvey inspired the West Coast dialect used by him and his castmates in “The Californians,” a recurring series of sketches that premiered in 2012.

“I had seen Dana — I was with him and we did a stand-up show in San Francisco — and Dana was telling me about his son,” Armisen said in an appearance on the “Fly on the Wall” podcast, co-hosted by Carvey and additional “SNL” alum David Spade.

“And he’s just 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 he goes, ‘No, but no, Dad, no, you don’t,’ you know? And from that, as we were trying to do a California accent as we’re writing the sketch, that kind of came up.”

A soap opera parody, “The Californians” revolved around a group of Angelenos ― including Stuart (played by Armisen), Devin (Bill Hader), Karina (Kristen Wiig) and Trey (Kenan Thompson) ― and zinged many California tropes like “surfer talk” and freeway traffic.

Watch clips of “The Californians” below.

Celebrities like Christina Applegate, Justin Bieber and Mick Jagger all made appearances in “The Californians” through 2018, when its most recent installment aired. During the 40th anniversary celebration of “SNL” in 2015, Taylor Swift and Betty White were among those featured in the sketch.

Armisen notably didn’t specify which of Carvey’s children he was impersonating in “The Californians.” Carvey and his wife, Paula Zwagerman, have two sons: 31-year-old Dex and 29-year-old Thomas Carvey.

Elsewhere in his “Fly on the Wall” appearance, Armisen said he and his castmates began developing “The Californians” after a series of visits to Los Angeles when “SNL” was on hiatus. And while the dialect’s origins may have been unknown to the public until this point, Armisen said he had made sure to get Carvey’s approval ahead of the first sketch’s premiere.

“I sent him an email before it aired,” Armisen said.