Jim Carrey is an actor that made the big time because of his varied ways of making people laugh. Some call them too green and below the belt but while censors are flying, Carrey is going places. This is what best typifies his rise to fame and the evolution of comedy flicks. Starting out in TV, his big breaks from such hit movies as The Mask and Ace Ventura Pet Detective helped a lot in making him a household name and a niche towards other aspiring comedians who want to hit the big screen. To this day he is still widely in demand and it is not hard to see why.
In 1995, Carrey appeared as the Riddler in Batman Forever and reprised his role as Ace Ventura in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Both films were successful at the box office and earned Carrey multi-million-dollar paychecks.
Carrey made headlines when he earned twenty million dollars for his next film, The Cable Guy, a record sum for a comedy actor. The attention drawn to the paycheck, coupled with some negative reviews, and the film’s dark sensibility, all contributed to the film’s mediocre earnings. Carrey quickly rebounded with the successful Liar Liar, a return to his trademark comedy style.
The Truman Show (1998), Peter Weir’s eerie comedy drama about the perils of all-consuming media manipulation. Critical respect in hand, Carrey returned to comedy of a different sort with the lead role in Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon (1999), a much-anticipated biopic of the legendary comic Andy Kaufman.
Although the film boasted a powerhouse performance from Carrey, it earned less than stellar reviews and did poor business at the box office. Such was the strength of the actor’s portrayal, however, that his exclusion from the Best Actor nominations at that year’s Academy Awards was a source of protest for a number of industry members.
Carrey returned to straight comedy the following year with the Farrelly Brothers’ Me, Myself & Irene, in which he starred as a cop with a split personality, both of whom are in love with the same woman (Renee Zellweger). Though that film fared the least successful of the Farrellys’ efforts to that point, Carrey’s anarchic persona was given seemingly free range and the result was his most unhinged role since The Mask.
Jim Carrey is maybe two years from becoming a punch line. But he’s cool with that. “Everyone gets to be the big joke for a year. That’s this business,” he says. “Last year it was Tom Cruise. I could be the next Kathie Lee Gifford.
That’s the thing you have to admire about Carrey even as you cringe at what he’s saying: he’s not afraid. He’s not afraid of getting made fun of, he’s not afraid of change, and he’s not afraid of his audience flying away. In fact, every time he’s become successful at something, he’s stopped doing it. As soon as he became famous as an impressionist, he stopped doing characters. After he got traction as a stand-up, he retired his act, going onstage without any material, often being overtly hostile to his audience.