NBC executives hoped to get Carvey to take over the 12:30 a.m. (ET) weeknight spot in the network's lineup in 1993 when David Letterman left his show, Late Night with David Letterman, for an 11:30 p.m. (ET) show on CBS. A big Letterman fan, Carvey rejected the offer, causing embarrassment for the network, which had publicly floated his name. The 12:30 spot eventually went to Conan O'Brien.
In 1994, Carvey starred in the film Clean Slate. The following year, in 1995, Carvey filmed his first HBO stand-up special, Critic's Choice. The show featured Carvey doing many of his SNL impersonations, as well as making fun of the premium channel's name, pronouncing it "hobo."
He reprised many of his SNL characters in 1996 for The Dana Carvey Show, a short-lived prime-time variety show on ABC. The show was most notable for launching Robert Smigel's cartoon "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" as well as the careers of Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert.
In 2002, he returned to films in the spy comedy The Master of Disguise. Released a week after former colleague Mike Myers' successful (and similar) movie Austin Powers in Goldmember, most critics compared the movies and panned Carvey's effort. However the movie did manage about $40 million at the North American box office. In March 2007, aggregate review website Rotten Tomatoes ranked the movie as the 18th worst-reviewed movie of the 00's decade, with a 1% fresh rating. Comedian and former Mystery Science Theater 3000 host Michael J. Nelson named the film the third-worst comedy ever made. Carvey did not appear in a feature film again until Jack and Jill.
Carvey eventually withdrew from the limelight to focus on his family. He later said in an interview that he does not want to be in a career in which his kids would already be grown with him having neglected spending time with them.
At the January 2, 2007 funeral of Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush reminisced in his eulogy about how Ford took it in stride when SNL's Chevy Chase made Ford the object of impressions. Bush cited this as a valuable lesson in learning to laugh at one's self as a part of public life. "I'd tell you more about that," Bush continued, "but as Dana Carvey would say, [imitating Carvey imitating him] 'Not gonna do it! Wouldn't be prudent!'".
Carvey made an appearance at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, reprising his SNL character Garth Algar with host Mike Myers for a Wayne's World sketch. On June 14, 2008, Carvey filmed a second HBO stand-up special, the first in 13 years, entitledSquatting Monkeys Tell No Lies.
In 2010, Carvey appeared in the Funny or Die original comedy sketch, "Presidential Reunion." He played the role of President Bush alongside other current and former SNL president impersonators.
In early 2010, Carvey and comedian/writer Spike Feresten created and starred together in Spoof, a sketch comedy pilot for Fox. This included a sketch of a trailer for "Darwin", a mock movie in which he played the evolutionary biologist, as well as a spoof of the hit show Lost. Both of these sketches can be seen on the video website YouTube. On the animated TV series The Fairly OddParents, Carvey voiced Cosmo Cosma's con artist brother, Schnozmo.