What the Hell Happened to Jim Carrey?
In the 1990’s, Jim Carrey was the king of comedy. He made headlines when he cashed a $20 million dollar paycheck for The Cable Guy after an impressive string of box office successes. For a while, he seemed poised to make the transition from comedy to drama with movies like The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. There was even talk that Ace Ventura could one day win an Oscar. But eventually, Carrey’s winning streak ended. The dramatic roles dried up and Carrey was reduced to being a supporting player or starring in bland children’s movies.
What the hell happened?
Carrey came from humble beginnings. He was the youngest of four kids in a French Canadian Catholic family. His father was a musician who took on a regular job to care for his kids. His mother was chronically ill. Things went from bad to worse when Carrey’s dad lost his job. The entire family was forced to work full time in order to pay the bills. Carrey dropped out of school at the age of 15 and worked with the rest of his family in janitorial jobs. They lived out of a van. He has said he was an angry teen who carried a baseball bat so he could work out his anger.
With the support of his dad, Carrey began experimenting with stand-up comedy. His early performances (which consisted mostly of impressions) did not go over well and Carrey considered quitting. But when his family’s financial situation improved, Carrey decided to continue pursuing comedy. Eventually, he caught the eye of Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield was well-known for taking young comedians under his wing. He made Carrey his opening act during his touring shows and eventually brought Carrey to Las Vegas.
Carrey turned his attention towards TV and movies. He auditioned for the 1980-81 season of Saturday Night Live. But Carrey was not cast. In 1982, he started appearing on TV shows like An Evening at the Improv. In 1983, he lived every comedian’s dream of appearing on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.
Carrey began popping in up all kinds of low-budget movies in 1983. The Sex and Violence Family Hour was a sketch comedy:
In Rubberface, Carrey played a struggling stand-up comic. It was originally titled Introducing Janet, but the title was changed to Rubberface for the video release after Carrey’s success.
Carrey also appeared in the Canadian film, All in Good Taste. It was filmed in 1981 but not shown in theaters until 1983. Despite his prominence on the cover of the video, Carrey’s role is small and he has no lines.
Carrey starred opposite future talk show host and Growing Pains dad, Alan Thicke, in the teen sex comedy, Copper Mountain. Half of the movie consists of musical performances by artists such as Rita Coolidge and the other half is essentially an infomercial about the now-closed Club Med village at the U.S. ski resort at Copper Mountain, Colorado.
In 1984, Carrey did a Jerry Lewis impersonation on the Dabney Coleman show, Buffalo Bill:
Posted on July 21, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged ace ventura, Batman, Batman Forever, bruce almighty, dumb and dumber, entertainment, in living color, Jim Carrey, kick ass, liar liar, movies, the cable guy, the grinch, the mask, the truman show. Bookmark the permalink. 253 Comments.