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You are here: Home > Recent > News > Jim Carrey's SNL History
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Jim Carrey's SNL History
25 Oct 2014    

By Eva Araújo (Web correspondent)

"God writes straight with crocked lines"- A saying from Portugal that suits Jim Carrey to a tee.

Today we will be able to see Jim Carrey make his third appearance as host on Saturday Night Live but what people may not know is that once he auditioned to be part of the show. He never got the job but a few years later he was able to be part of the show In Living Color and start a very amazing career as a mesmerizing actor and hilarious comedian.

Jim auditioned for SNL in the 1980s and even though he didn't get it, we do wonder what would have happen if he did or if someone involved in SNL at that time has some regrets today.

Recently an article was published about Jim's auditions and in this JCO article we will paraphrase it.

So let's go back and time into the Studio 8H:

"The 1980-1981 Season:
There's no denying that the 1980-1981 season was an epic failure for Saturday Night Live following the departure of producer Lorne Michaels and the entire season 5 cast. New producer Jean Doumanian made some mistakes in the casting process when she tried to replace Bill Murray and Gilda Radner with the likes of Charles Rocket and Ann Risley, but if you're looking at Carrey as though he would have been some great untapped savior, think again."

Around this time Jim was 18 years old and new in the stand up world. He was doing impressions an though many loved his act it wasn't enough to convince the producers of the show. Even to get Eddie Murphy was a "I-will-quit-if-you-don't-hire-this-kid" situation at that time.

Due to the fact that many got fired after that season, there's a change Jim would have been too.

"The 1985-1986 Season:
I personally think Dick Ebersol did a pretty good job in his time at the helm, specifically with the 1984-1985 season that was anchored by Billy Crystal and Martin Short, but the accepted narrative is that Michaels returned as an infallible savior following his lengthy absence. The trouble is, Michaels did more harm than good in his first year back thanks to a trendy but comedy-averse cast of young Hollywood actors like Anthony Michael Hall, Randy Quaid, Joan Cusack, and Robert Downey Jr."

In this season Jim tried out again. He had more experience and he would have been more ready that the previous audition but for the second time he didn't make the cut.

When Lorne Michaels was asked about why he reject Jim, he denied any direct responsibility when he spoke to James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales for Live From New York:

"Jim Carrey never auditioned for me personally. There is an audition tape which we almost played on the twenty-fifth-anniversary show - if he had come that night, we would have. We have all the audition tapes. Carrey, I think, auditioned for Al Franken the year I was executive producer and Tom Davis and Al were the producers along with Jim Downey. In '85 when Brandon got me to come back, his whole argument was I had to learn how to delegate. Dick had run it successfully that way, and so Tom, Al, and Jim did their stuff and I sort of approved things. But later that season, when Brandon was again thinking about cancelling the show, he told me, "You have to completely take charge of everything again."

That's when Michaels fired almost everyone from the years cast, leaving only Jon Lovitz, Dennis Miller, and Nora Dunn. Lorne then started to prepare a new ensemble and Jim would get another shot at the role…

"The 1986-1987 Season
This audition doesn't get mentioned as freely as the 1980 audition (which boggles my mind considering Carrey's age and inexperience at the time) or the 1985 one, but we're taking Dana Carvey's word for it.

"My second audition was at a studio, probably in Burbank, where you had to go out in front of Lorne and a few cast members that had been left over from '85 - Dennis Miller, Jon Lovitz and Nora Dunn. It was very painful. There's no laughs, and I think at one point a fire alarm went off, and then I stopped, and then I did something, and then Lorne said: "Do you have anything else? We've sort of seen it." Phil Hartman was there, and Jim Carrey was there, auditioning as well. He just stood on his pinkie, and his whole body was straight in the air, and he put his foot over his head."

I thought, "Oh, you're going to get it, Jim." We were in some kind of holding room, and I remember Phil saying to Jim: "Well, you'll get it. Or at least a featured player."

Phil Hartman was wrong since Jim didn't got the job yet a third time but that year Jim was starting his debut in movies starring in Once Bitten with Lauren Hutton in 1985. Roles in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and Earth Girls Are Easy (1988) and followed. But his break was yet to come.

Sometimes people look at things like a racing horse wearing blinders: only what's in front of you. But there are correct ways and wrong ways to use it. It's good to be focus on an objective but if you only see what's in front of you there's a lot of amazing stuff around you that you will miss.

What we call an actor's "break" is that moment they are seen and appreciated for what they can do, by a wide audience. In the entertainment industry, people could have been afraid of what Jim could or not do. Can he be more that just a funny guy or an impressionist…? For those of you who know Jim's work, you already know that the answer is yes. For those who are yet to discover that, just watch Jim's standup comedy especial "Unnatural Act" to find out the same thing.

"Carrey absolutely loses himself as he moves from character to character. He was telling stories at that point, not just grasping for easy laughs as he jumped from stock celebrity impression to stock celebrity impression without taking the time to set up his jokes or really explore these characters. Apparently this transformation didn't occur organically, though, it was willed into existence by a talent that recognized that he had to make a change."

Jim said himself in a interview with Roger Ebert in 1994:

"I did impressions at the beginning, but I got to the point where I saw where I realized you gotta be an original. You gotta be something different.

Read the rest of this article on our forum, click below.

-- Source: UPROXX. Click to comment this article.

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