18th Sep2017

Culture Dump #9: Beyond the Great: Is Jim Carrey Kaufman-ing Us?

by Simon Bland


Andy did you hear about this one? The one where megastar comedian Jim Carrey appeared at New York Fashion Week and raised eyebrows during an out-there stint on the red carpet? No, it wasn’t due to his Grizzly Adams style beard (He ditched that a few weeks ago) and nope, he didn’t bend over and talk through his bum cheeks, Ace Ventura-style. Although, talking was to blame for all the news stories that popped up this week in the wake of his bizarre antics.

“There’s no meaning to any of this,” he tells E! News reporter Catt Sadler, once he’s stopped circling her. He glances distractedly into the distance, then continues, “I believe we are a field of energy dancing for itself. We don’t matter,” he says, “that’s the good news.” The whole interview was strange. Strange but not entirely unexpected. Especially if you’ve been paying attention to Carrey in recent years. If you haven’t, here’s a quick refresher: It started with talk of introspection and enlightenment at public events a few years back. Then he grew a massive beard, something which shouldn’t be weird but in today’s easily freaked out society, was instantly deemed to be pretty weird.

Then things took a darker turn. An ex took her own life and her grieving family appeared convinced that Carrey influenced her decision making towards the end. Whilst quietly dealing with the legal proceedings he shied away from the limelight, shunning movies and instead focusing on painting and himself. Carrey’s recent red-carpet shenanigans mark his first major return to the limelight since the release of 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To.

Which brings us to a crucial point – the reason we’re talking about Jim Carrey at all lately is because he’s promoting a new documentary, one with a right mouthful of a title. Andy and Jim: The Great Beyond – With a Very Special, Contractually Obliged Mention of Tony Clifton looks at Carrey’s ultra-method experiences bringing Andy Kaufman back to life for 1999’s Man on the Moon. As a comedian shrouded in a mist of ‘Is it real? Is it fake?’ controversy, what better way to promote a documentary about Kaufman than by blurring the lines and making audiences question whether the focal point of the feature is indeed losing it or just playing a character.

Kaufman was the master of keeping audiences in the palm of his hand and with the help of Carrey, he’s still doing it over thirty years later. Or maybe not – perhaps the boundless trappings of fame and fortune have truly made Carrey crave some higher purpose in life, resulting in the unusual behaviour we’ve seen lately. It’s believable enough. Where do you go once you’ve reached the top, peeked behind the curtain and still find yourself unhappy? Right now, Jim Carrey may only exist as an existential notion but hopefully he won’t be gone for long. In the meantime, the spirit of Andy Kaufman appears very much alive and well.

What do you think Jim Carrey is up to? Let me know in the comments below!


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