SUNDAY UPDATE: Click over for a full recap of SNL with Jim Carrey and Iggy Azalea
ORIGINAL POST: All righty then.
Sorry—I know that reference is as painfully dated as this Austin Powers costume. But it’s tough not to think about Jim Carrey’s best-known roles as we consider the actor’s third SNL outing—and, to be honest, to consider how long it’s been since he last made a great comedy.
2013’s Kick-Ass 2 was a dismal flop. That same year, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone tanked as well. The most charitable thing you can call 2011’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins is “inoffensive.” 2009’s I Love You Phillip Morris was well-reviewed but didn’t make much of an impact. A Christmas Carol (2009), Yes Man (2008), Horton Hears a Who! (2008), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005), A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004): meh. 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a fantastic movie, but not really a laugh-out-loud kind of flick. 2003’s Bruce Almighty made a ton of money but hasn’t proven itself to have legs. (Quick, try to quote it. See?)
Unless we’re counting The Number 23 (and we absolutely should, because I maintain that it’s among the greatest unintentionally funny movies ever made), Carrey’s last unequivocal comic triumph came via either Man on the Moon or The Truman Show. And while both are great, they’re each also nearly old enough to vote. I’m certainly not trying to imply that Carrey isn’t funny anymore—but it’s been awhile since he lived up to the promise he once showed as In Living Color’s standout player.
What’s more, as Carrey’s dominance has faded, his particular brand of comedy—antic face-pulling, broad mugging, screaming in silly voices—has grown to seem dated at best. Just watch the second set of promos for this week’s shows—the scenery-chewing! The noises! The crazy eyes and frozen smile!—and you’ll see what I mean. The only bit that works is when Carrey finally drops his act and displays a bit of humanity, thanks to unintentional grillz malfunction.
So yeah: Given his recent track record and the fact that he’s promoting Dumb and Dumber To—a sequel being released about 15 years too late—I’ve got some real trepidation about Carrey’s return to SNL. Then again, he’s had several shining moments on the show in the past—Jacuzzi Lifeguard, the first Night at the Roxbury sketch, Black Swan (which wasn’t really my jam, but I know other people like it)—and even though it’s been decades since his own turn on a televised sketch show, Carrey clearly has a lot of experience in this arena. Maybe tonight will mark the first step of a triumphant comeback. Maybe Chris Kattan will show up for another run at the Roxbury Guys and it won’t make anybody sad.
Aside from Carrey, tonight’s show offers two more attractions: musical guest Iggy Azalea, whose SNL debut serves as the coda for the summer she spent ruling the radio waves, and new official cast member Leslie Jones, who will likely get a chance to celebrate her promotion during a guest spot on Weekend Update. It’s interesting to see the show boost a comedian whose comedy centers on her identity as a black woman the very same week that it welcomes a white rapper who’s often been criticized for appropriating black culture. There’s probably not much else to say on the subject than that, but I bet that won’t stop people from chatting about it come Sunday.
Are you looking forward to Jim Carrey’s return to SNL—or do you agree that he’s got an uphill battle to climb? What are you hoping to see from Azalea on the show—or Jones, for that matter? How long do you think the episode will run before somebody mentions ebola? (I’m gonna guess five seconds, tops.) And finally, do you think this week’s ratings will improve, thanks to the one-two punch of Carrey and Azalea? They’ve certainly got more name recognition than Bill Hader and Hozier, who had the distinction of starring in one of the lowest-rated SNL episodes ever.
Discuss below, and check in the morning for a full recap.