Jim Carrey: From his first memories of doing impersonations to the last 10 minutes of his life (Conclusion) | Inquirer Entertainment
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Jim Carrey: From his first memories of doing impersonations to the last 10 minutes of his life (Conclusion)

By: - Columnist
/ 12:30 AM March 08, 2020

Jim Carrey (right) and Fil-Am actress Ginger Gonzaga in the comedy-drama series, “Kidding.” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF SHOWTIME

LOS ANGELES—At only 10 years old, Jim Carrey, already precocious and able to do impressions of “120 people,” wrote to “The Carol Burnett Show” and said that he’d like to be part of the po­pular TV series.

The boy, who lived in Ontario, Canada, at the time, got turned down, but the rejection letter “didn’t matter. I had gotten a letter from Hollywood.” That was enough to send him running through the streets, happily waving the letter from Hollywood.


The kid from Canada eventually made his way to Los Angeles, and became a star in the Hollywood that initially turned him down as a boy.


Here’s the continuation of excerpts from our chat with Jim:

In doing your “Kidding” TV series, what have you realized about the childlike qualities in all of us? And does being childlike help you in your other creative passion—painting?

It’s all painting to me. When you talk about childlike innocence, to me, the greatest works of art that have ever been created are the ones where people lost themselves and were completely present in the moment. There’s so much about this show that is creative and original. You aren’t just repeating what’s been done before.

You have Michel Gondry (one of the directors) and Dave Holstein (creator) who is a mad, creative genius. I am in the mix, too. We are pushing the edges all the time. We have already come up with some insane ideas that have never been seen on television.

How easy or hard is it for you to get out of your character in “Kidding”? And what do you do to keep your sanity after a day on the set?

You don’t keep your sanity, no. This is the thing about acting. It is a weird sacrifice that you make, to harness the most painful depths of grief, loneliness, anger, joy and all of those things. It’s a weird thing to do.


Often, you get to a point where you will be so touched by it that you can’t actually go on (laughs). You have to stop because it affects you in such a deep way. There are very deep and emotional undertones to the show, and it is difficult at times.

So, to me, it’s all pain­ting, it’s all sculpting and the difference is when I face a canvas, it’s me and God and the inspiration that comes through directly. And my subconscious mind—it has a lot to do with what happens on a canvas or sculpture. I often find out later on what my subconscious intended. I have a plan going in, then suddenly a year later, I go wow, there was a whole o­ther agenda there.

The difference is with something like “Kidding,” you get the benefit of a group of insanely creative people. This cast is just one that I feel incredibly lucky to be amongst. Not only that, the writers—they’re all playwrights, they are just geniuses. So, it needs room to breathe and grow. I’m very gratified to be a part of it. And also to have people like Ariana Grande jumping in because they love it and, oh my gosh who else, Dick Van Dyke (he voices one of the characters in the new season), who I pay tribute to in “Sonic.”



Do you remember the first impersonations that you did when you were very young?

When I was a kid, I used to imitate Dick Van Dyke. Jerry Lewis, I imitated a great deal. I had a psychic sense about Jerry Lewis. I was just in love with him. I think he’s done some of the greatest film clowning ever in history.

I also imitated a lot of the sketches on “The Carol Burnett Show.” I wanted to be on that show when I was 10 years old. I tried to get on the show and sent them letters. They rejected me, but I wrote, “I do 120 people, I do impressions of everybody and I can do Tim Conway and Harvey Korman.”

They replied, “We gene­rally hire through the agencies, but best of luck to you.” But it didn’t matter. I had gotten a letter from Hollywood. I just ran through the streets with my letter from Hollywood. It was a way of saying, oh, it’s on the same planet. I can get there.

Did you need to work hard on your comic talent, or some things just came naturally?

A lot of it happened naturally. A lot of it came from my father. My father was a very a­­nimated character. He didn’t just tell the story. He became the characters. So, I would sit back, look at him and go, wow, that’s really something to be.

Because everyone who came to our home was galvanized by my father when he told a story. They often left with pee stains (laughs) and saying, “Percy, you missed your calling.” Well, I became his calling.

If the world were to end soon, how would you prioritize your life?

I’m done.

You’ve done everything?

This is it. This is the moment, this room. Everything else is just for fun. Even the striving and the wanting, whatever it is that you want, that is something to sit and go, dream it up. I do it every night when I lay my head on the pillow. I go through a list of gratitude that I can’t get to the end of. It really is true.

Experience the end of the world—that’s actually the cover of my book. It was the end of the world for me. It’s the intention of the book to let go of this individual striving. What happened to me was that I was in Hawaii during the false missile attack (in 2018), and my assistant who was on the other side of the island called up crying. She said, “We have 10 minutes before the missiles land.”

At that moment, I was just struck by this feeling of, oh, wow, what a weird way for this to end. It was just more like that, just bemused. I went through eight minutes of gra­titude to everybody. She was saying, “Should we all get in the car, should we all try to get together?” I said, “I don’t want to die in my car.”

I couldn’t get my daughter on the phone. I couldn’t get off the island. They said, “Hide under the stairs” and whatever. I said, “I’m not going to die like a cockroach, either.” So, I just decided to sit there. I went, wow, look what I got, an amazing place.

So, to connect it to the book, what happened was, my assistant Linda was gripping the phone so hard when she told me on FaceTime that the world was about to end. She accidentally took a screen grab and that’s the cover of my book. The cover of my book is my face in what I thought was the last 10 minutes of my life.

I went home and painted it in the colors of tropical water, and then Chip Kidd, who is this incredible, beautiful graphic artist, put them together on the face of the book. You can see it. It’s online. It’s the last 10 minutes of my life as far as I knew.

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