Long before he was an A-list actor, Jim Carrey was a touring comic trying to make it in the business. His biggest asset was his ability to throw himself — sometimes literally — into a bit.
But it was his impressions that first drew fans in. He had plenty, many of which he’d use to his advantage on In Living Color. However, on his first Late Night appearance in 1984, he gives his rubber face takes on Clint Eastwood, Michael Landon and James Dean.
He doesn’t speak a word, but he has the ability to contort his face to both mimic and reconstruct his target.
Fans weren’t sure how he was able to pull it off.
“You got some amazing talent,” one person commented. “How in heck do you do this?”
“Unique Jim!!! He can always make you laugh!!!” someone else posted.
“You’re the best funny Guy,” another person posted.
Carrey was able to parlay his stand-up into television and film work and has gave up his stand-up.
He still does the occasional comedy film, but he mostly moved on from his earlier work. And he rarely doesn’t impressions.
Jim Carrey As Later-Day Shaman and Artist
After winning immense success with comedies such as Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura, he turned his focus to more dramatic roles. He was a standout in The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
He still acts, he was in the recent Sonic the Hedgehog movie, but he mostly sticks to painting, passing out inspirational quotes, or discussing his liberal politics. He says he’s moved on from that former “character.”
“Don’t get me wrong, Jim is a great character, and I was lucky to get the part. But don’t think of that as me anymore,” he once said.
Part of his comedy came from a dark place, he said. He was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and he sought validation through comedy. Now medicated, he says he finds that joy in his artwork, he said.
“Making art, in general, is not really a choice, I’m being painted, and I’m being expressed, and I’m being created, and there’s little me involved,” he told W magazine.
But he’s still got it. In interviews and television appearances he can still turn on the charm and comedy like a switch. He still loves being funny, but just on his own terms.