|1996||20th Birthday of the Comedy Store|
|1992||Comic Relief V
This album is a compilation, featuring multiple comics.
|1992||Comic Relief V
Benefit show that features multiple comics.
|1991||Jim Carrey: The Un-Natural Act
Aired on Showtime
No books by or about this comedian.
Overpoweringly zany, Jim Carrey was the “class clown” who made nightclub audiences howl and TV viewers roar. Then he graduated to the big time with a pair of relentlessly silly and breakneck-paced movies that won over most critics as well. His lowbrow antics in “Ace Ventura, Pet Detective” caused high hilarity, and he was legitimately praised as a “human cartoon” for his tour-de-force comic fantasy, “The Mask.”
Jim was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada in 1962. The family name was originally the French-Candian “Carré.” An ambitious class clown, at 15 he was already searching for a bigger audience. He began gigging at Yuk Yuk’s, a Toronto comedy club.
Jim’s father was out of work and the young high-schooler pitched in by working as a janitor. Eventually he dropped both janitorial work and high school, devoting all his impressive energy to a show business career.
Driven to succeed, he arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 19 and began to work out at The Comedy Store. Carrey’s inner rages fueled his over-the-top comedy and he became known as one of the “anything for a laugh” comics who’d contort his face and body if the verbal gags weren’t working. Like Robin Williams, he had just enough good lucks and youthful naivete to make his frantic assaults amusing rather than alarming.
One of his first TV roles was as a Jerry Lewis impersonator in an episode of “Buffalo Bill” in 1984. At the time he was beginning to star in a few low-budget movies.
In 1987, he married for the first time (Melissa Womer) and soon was the father of a young daughter. On stage he still seemed like a teenager and his edgy energy won him a role on a teen-oriented sketch comedy series, “In Living Color.” The show featured Carrey’s frighteningly overboard character “Fire Marshal Bill,” who literally went to blazes. There was a controversy over whether the Fire Marshal was someone that kids should imitate, but there were plenty more characters where that one came from.
Carrey quickly developed a reputation for being “rubber faced,” and he erased a lot of criticism with his exhausting abilities to truly stretch his mouth, eyes, and almost everything else to ridiculous dimensions. Writers keyed into Carrey’s aggressive persona, and rather than turning into an antic Jerry Lewis or a younger Robin Williams, Carrey found roles that complimented and gave purpose to his twisted energy. First of these was the driven Ace Ventura, he of the taffy-twist hairstyle and manic, teeth-gritted grin.
Carrey’s fiendish catch-phrase was “alllll-righty then!” It was, like Popeye’s munching of spinach, the warning sign of fierce comic slapstick ahead.
All of Carrey’s succesful films (and even his heroic failures) would play on the unusual conflict of a fairly good-looking man with an almost lethal brand of cartoonish energy. He was a truly mad Riddler in “Batman Forever,” and showed a bit of his frightening side in “The Cable Guy.” In his private life, he divorced, married Lauren Holly, and divorced again—now considered something of a Hollywood loverboy and not just a goofy cut-up.
Eventually Carrey mellowed and matured enough to balance his insane comedy style with believability, and scored with the domestic gimmick-comedy “Liar Liar.” The film solidified his reputation and signaled that his career was not simply rooted in “Ace Ventura” and slapstick. His salary zoomed to 20 million dollars a picture. He continues to veer madly between experimental movies and ones that are more comfortably rooted in his still-fresh brand of zaniness.