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All right, let's do this, how are you, what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? Nix what's happening? I'm Marc Maron. This is my podcast, WTF. Welcome to it. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. How are you? How's your walk going? How are you doing with the dishes there. Is everything all right. Do you need help with that kid. That kid. All right.
Well, you can take well, just take a minute and calm them down. Calm that kid down. How's it going with the drive? All right, be careful where you fucking mask, where your fuckin mask where.
You're fucking mask. Hey, Google, what is the definition of eschatology? Here's the definition of eschatology, the part of theology concerned with death, judgment and the final destiny of the solen of humankind, the soul and of humankind.
She kind of saw that she saw and Google saw that a little bit, didn't it? Hey, Google was the definition of conspiracy.
Here's the definition of conspiracy. A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.
Oh, but that's not a conspiracy theory. That seems to be what dictates the behavior of stupid people.
The secret plan of a group of those are the people that actually are generating the conspiracy theories for the stupid people.
The creators of the stupid conspiracy theories are actually the conspiracy to make people more stupid, activate their anger and to vote against their fucking personal interests and the interests of humanity.
So we get to get on with this.
Eschaton today, by the way, I talked to Jim Carrey. Hey, Google, who is Jim Carrey?
According to Wikipedia, James Eugene Carey is a Canadian American actor, comedian, writer, producer, author and artist known for his energetic slapstick performances. Kerry first gained recognition in 1990 after landing a recurring role in the American sketch comedy television series In Living Color.
Holy shit, I thought we were going to have a full conversation. Yeah, Jim Carrey is here and it was not easy to to get him on the show. I would have talked to him any time, but it just never happened.
And now sometimes it's a little easier to get guest on with this new format.
He's got a book out. It's an odd book. It's an interesting book that he co-wrote with a guy. I'll tell you about that in a minute.
But think about Jim. Jim Carey, is that I don't know, he's one of those guys where, you know, I've watched him over the years and I always get this. I have you know, I have a father who's prone towards depression and I have a sensitivity to it. So when I when I see people, I talk to people who have that sensitivity to it, it kind of gets, you know, I have to have to put up some extra boundaries.
And it was an interesting conversation because he reminded me of something that that, you know, I don't think about a lot, but but it's a real thing.
You know, he's a comedy store guy.
And there was just a very conscious for me. When you start doing standup, I guess at some people, I don't know how they really think about standup when they started, you know, I'm going to tell some jokes. I've written some jokes, I'm going to tell them.
But, you know, for some of us, the idea of getting up on that stage and figuring out who you are up there and what part of you lives up there and how are you going to be defined up, there is a real journey, and that is the journey of the craft, the journey of the art, if you want to give it that.
And what was interesting to me in this interview, if it doesn't pop as much as as I think it should, because I found myself thinking about it afterwards, is that, you know, after Jim is is already a very successful entertainer, he was an impressionist and that's how he kind of got started. He goes back to the drawing board at the Comedy Store and he decides he's not going to do impressions anymore so he can figure out, you know, who he is up there.
And that's fucking bold, man. And that's what a lot of us did. You know, it's just like you keep going up. There's not so much to to figure out, you know, how to be funny, but it's to figure out what are you on that stage? Who lives up there, which part of you. But by going up there with nothing and bombing and sometimes killing, but just having, you know, moments where you're not sure what's going to happen over and over again, he got to the character that really sort of defined him as a comedic actor.
The the I don't give a shit about anything guy. The I don't care guy, which you see in a lot of the work that he did later. And that happened on the stand up stage.
And I just found that I just found that fascinating, really, that that's how he developed that.
It's also odd that, you know, having not done stand up in months now, I wasn't really missing it.
But I think there's some other part of me that that is that is missing it. You know, I feel like there's part of me that feels, you know, certainly. But this was happening before Lynn passed away that like, you know, is there more to do?
Is there do I have to do more standup work? I feel like my last two specials to real and end times fun sort of sum up. That's the big work, certainly for this period of history we were living in. And there was just this feeling I have is like, am I done or do I need to do any more?
And it's the same with acting. It's like, do I need to do more? Do I need to do more of other people's work?
Have I challenged myself enough? And now, oh, my potatoes are ready. My potatoes are ready. Hey, Google. How long do you cook a baked potato bake one hour or until skin feels crisp, but flesh beneath feels soft. OK, all right.
So what I was saying is that even before Lynn passed away, you know, I had this, you know, I was sort of blank sliding a little bit, which is some equivalent of creative flatlining.
And now I just don't know, you know, but but I'm starting to feel that the part of me that lives on a stand up stage is starved. And the other thing about, you know, being with with Lynn for the time we were together, she was a great audience. And I kept that. I kept that muscle working because she loved to laugh and I loved making her laugh.
So it was always engaged. And I don't even know I'm not sure what that muscle is like right now.
I guess the point being is I do feel like I've done everything that I set out to do.
I would have liked to have won one award. Do you know what I mean? Just one award of some kind.
I know they don't mean anything but one, you know, not like a big one, you know. Like, I would like to win a Grammy or a Peabody or an Emmy. It doesn't really fucking matter. It doesn't do anything. But I oh, that be nice. But I don't think I'm I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think that's going to happen for me. What's my big prize? A new kitten. Here's a new kitten.
So listen, people, Jim Carrey. Jim Carrey is a force. You know him, you all know him, everybody knows him. He was it. He was all of it. But he's co-wrote this interesting book, it's called The Memoirs and Misinformation, a novel it is. It's kind of a novel, but it has bits and pieces of real stuff in it. And this guy, Dana Vachon, is a you can turn of phrase, got some funny in him.
And Jim, you know, there's parts of Jim's story and parts of it are fictionalized, but you can get that wherever you get your books again, memoirs and misinformation and novel. And here's me and Jim coming right up.
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So wtf to make sure they know that our show sent you.
You know, it's a day to day fight against the sadness and anger, but I'm fine, yeah, I could offer you some help.
Actually, I think I could actually well later on could talk about supplements, OK, about tyrosine. We could talk Tiriac about. Yeah, I don't know that one.
Well, tyrosine is the chemical in your brain that's responsible for enthusiasm. Oh tyrosine. Yeah. Tyrosine hydroxide, tryptophan as well, which is what people who do ecstasy take on Sunday afternoon so they can kill themselves on Tuesday.
Oh I see. So I get it helps him ease out. That's right. It builds up the dopamine and serotonin again.
So those are well prepared, well prepared drug users. It's a full time job. Yeah. Oh no.
There are there are some people who are up and down medicating themselves through life completely. Oh.
How about the micro dosing people that don't realize they're just fucking tripping. Oh yeah.
Tripping all the time. All the people that are on Adderall, you know, they crush up the Adderall. Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, that's how the doctor prescribes it.
They get a ton of work done but it's all bad. Yeah. Nothing to it. Yeah. Nothing good.
So these are so your supplements are. I'm on, I'm on a very small supplement intake diet. I just take the liposomal vitamin C and a vitamin D right now I'm, I'm antitumor OK and I'm good.
I feel like I have heard your tumeric rant. It's wonderful. Yeah. I like your bitz also about the shortening, the distance, the time between you and I'm sorry.
Blowing up. Yeah. Fuck you. And I'm sorry. That's really funny man. Taken the walk, winning the argument and then looping back to apologize. It's beautiful. Yeah, very real. You know how that goes. You know how that goes. I do. I do. I have to apologize constantly.
Let's start with I can we can start with the book and then it backward from there. It's like, I mean I've, I've read about a third of it. I'm trying, you know, I'm yeah. I got my own schedule but I understand. I understand. I understand what's happening. No, it's got nothing to do with the book. It's just, you know, my brain's in a weird place, but I'm trying to do my homework.
It's an incredible kind of thing that we're facing these days. Everybody is multitasking and I never stop. It's just literally I took ten minutes to take a breath before I got on the air here.
Well, yeah, but I'm just overwhelmed all the time. And, you know, really, I my ability to compartmentalize is is limited.
So everything is changing so rapidly. It's unbelievable. We're in the midst of a convulsive, historic moment. Yes. In so many ways. At once. Yes. And it's just mind boggling.
Any of them good, Jim? Yes. Honestly, I honestly believe that we are it's the crowning of a new age. It's the crowning of the birth going to get. Yeah, it's a birth. It's a it's a painful labor. And and I think, you know, it's going to be a great new world, you know. OK, good.
Well, I'll hold on to that. So with the with the partnership in the book now, did you have an idea before to write a book and you were like, I imagine people have been pestering you to write a memoir for probably three decades.
I have no idea. I had no designs about it at all. Really all came from a moment in time where I stepped through the Truman door, you know, which I've done several times in my life, and try to kind of grow another branch that I could bring back to the tree. Yeah, I was spending time in New York, in the West Village and becoming an artist, you know, and trying to breathe life back into the West Village scene.
Yeah. And just rented myself a space there. And it was so much fun. And I was just, you know, big bay door open and painting and going wild with music at 4:00 in the morning and despatching drunks from the bar next door. And it was an incredible experience and I was really deep into that and a really terrible winter. And I wanted someone to give me kind of a perspective or like maybe do an essay around the work I was doing.
It was all fairly apocalyptic, the paintings of popular, horrible people.
No, not that that came later. That came that was a symptom of the the liar. Right. The cancer that we must remove.
The malignant was Higman. Yeah, the the melanoma. Yeah. That that belies a deeper sickness. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It's crazy.
Not an unfamiliar sickness though is it. No it isn't.
But it, it's, it's reached epic proportions. Yes. You know since Gordon Gekko said greed is good. Well you know, it's interesting.
I was trying to do a joke, Jim, about about the how he's the envy of all narcissists because he actually succeeded in making it all about him.
Actually, everything and everything. Everything. Well, yeah, there's a big danger. Are there so it's really tough not to concentrate on it. Sure, so you're aware of it. So this is before that a lot of energy into trying to get that out of there. But but before that, I was trying to meet a writer and maybe talk about an essay around the paintings and denervation who had no interest in that whatsoever.
Sure, it was a really serious writer who didn't want to do essays about paintings. Yeah. You know, he came in just under that under that guise to just meet me and say hello because he had been watching me online. And some of the ridiculous things I was doing were were appealing to him like something as simple as boying. I just got up one day and I, I tweeted out boying because I couldn't describe my joy in any other way.
Have you ever felt the boogeyman?
Sure, sure. I sometimes I get glimpses, glimpses of the boy.
I usually fight the bowing. I innately fight the bowing fight.
The bowing that be. Yeah. Yeah. Well that's is that because you have a need to keep the well. Feel the pain. Well for your art. I don't you know a lot of people believe that.
I mean I've heard that. But like I've never had to to, to work to keep that well full. I've got no easy thing. Well, you know, I just never it never dawned on me that people would do that on purpose. You know, when people say the rain gathers in the well gets fall.
Yeah, no, I'm just a joy.
Makes me nervous, Jim. That's all. Just makes me nervous. I don't know what to do with it. I don't know how to behave around it. I end up crying.
I know, especially in this time. But in this time it's like it's almost like you're afraid, you're afraid to step out and be joyful. You're afraid to kind of affirm the positive and stuff. But I'm telling you, it's a big moment in our history and and it's a wonderful time to be barely alive.
Yeah, I agree with you. It's an exciting five fingertips and so. OK, so so Dana says she doesn't want to write essays about your paintings, but he enjoys your single word, Joy tweets. And that's more that the romantic can meet me.
He came to meet me and we just struck up a friendship right away. And we kept talking and we had kind of an East Coast time, West Coast. We we had this Skype friendship happening. And and the conversations got so interesting. I was doing a lot of viewing. At a certain point, I was kind of hiding out from the world, was going through a lot of deep currents in my life and not surviving of like major traumatic relationships and things like that that happened.
So PTSD keeps me very selective at this point, you know, and the atmosphere, do you feel like do you feel like that you actually had PTSD from it?
Yeah, I definitely do. I've been through some things that that made me jump at the slightest sound. Absolutely. And or the slightest slightest hint of a relationship. I get a little terrified.
Yeah. Have you tried that MDR? Yes. Yes, I've done a little of that. I did a little of that. It was interesting, was interesting. It's a long process, though, going through every detail of a traumatic situation, you know, to find the hotspot area.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it's but I recommend it. It's pretty interesting anything that lets you know yourself a little better, you know, and I think that's working and that's great.
Yeah. Plus it's good material. It's all good material. Yeah. Yeah it can be.
So after you're, you're, you're in that kind of you're running from the the idea of, of a relationship.
I wanted to and I think what happened is Dana and I had the same desire and that was to, to study persona y what we're doing, why we're building these scaffolding. So, you know, kind of I call them, you know, abstract scaffoldings of who we are. You know, I'm a Canadian American and I'm this and I'm that and I'm Catholic and I'm that. And it's all abstract stuff. And when you drill down, there's no you left that get out of the abstract stuff.
Sure. So, OK, that's kind of what tripped us into the vein of Adornato, which is the the ancient Hindu structure of believing there's no two things, you know. Yeah. And and so I really seek freedom that way. And the book kind of hints at that as the the true identity is waiting for you when you claw your way out of the sarcophagus of the personality that you've created for yourself.
I used to say that most personalities are just a reaction from someone telling you you couldn't do something early on.
Yeah, yeah. Or reactions to fear. Yeah. Reactions to the ego saying you're not going to have. It's like the book is about the fear of erasure, which we all have. Right. Of course. Right.
And our obsession with relevance. We're not relevant.
That just makes you do all right in your life, the kind of relevance that lasts beyond your death to the end of the program, but don't you think that this is something, you know, specifically relative to artists or people that with power that, you know, I don't think anymore.
I don't think anymore. I think the Internet, the social media, everybody's begging a billion strangers to touch their subscribe button and open their notifications. And they're all trying to get to that place, which we got to. And but when we got there, we realized, OK, this isn't actually going to make me happy. You know, the transcendence of this at moments. I don't purport to be able to transcend this stuff and stay there. I don't believe anybody who who does say that.
Like, I'm just an enlightened being and I never feel anything but this enlightenment. You know, I get glimpses and, man, I'm free when the grasping stops.
But but don't you find having you found that, you know, blowing yourself through those walls like, you know, even being able to become egoless or to rid yourself in whatever meditative state of all these manifestations of of persona and false self that, you know, you do land on something that is authentically you.
I mean, you don't come to the bottom of that and you're there, but it's a bigger you, right?
Not and it's not it's not a relative you it's not a you that relates to other you's. Right. OK, yeah. Freedom comes in there only being one you. Yes. You know. Yeah. And it includes the table in the computer and the and the ocean and the, the trees and you try to breathe without them you know you can't.
That makes you tired to be that expansive. I just, I found that very exhausting to be carrying it in every once in a while.
Yeah. You know, yeah. It's for me it's just a moment of freedom whenever I remember it. Good. It's like to remember that you're this you're the space in which all of this is happening is just. Oh yeah, right.
Right. And ultimately you're just part of the frequency and you hang onto that for a minute.
Yeah. And then and then the, the, the illusion gets so compelling again and your individuality or else you just have to, you know, make coffee.
Yeah. I mean it's, it doesn't I mean it can be that simple. The illusion. Yeah. Like I got to eat something right.
It's time to eat time to feed the body and brain. Right. Exactly. But I feel like a fragment of myself. This body and brain I honestly think is a fragment of myself. So I'm being affected by all this stuff socially with all the needs of people in the protests and all that stuff at the same time. It's weird how this this book has been kind of prophetic in ways, you know, it's it's it's turned out to kind of express some of the things that that are going on, including the toppling of statues, you know?
Yeah, we did it in a silly way. We went to to Disney because it was the only place that we could topple a giant dwarf. And that just appeals to me in so many ways.
Yeah, no, I think the whole book reads very like from what the part I'm in it and I do intend on finishing it.
It's been very funny and it's I like the I like a good fuckin satire of of the business we're in and the culture we're in. Like I've read, I've read other ones. I always enjoy them.
I liked you know, I like Bruce Bruce Wagner stuff, Mark Lainer, stuff like.
But this stuff is like, you know, the fact that there is a there is a true story within it or is true is a story of your life could be in these different manifestations of Jim Carrey is within it, I think is an interesting added.
I definitely have the inside look for.
Yes. Well, I mean, what was the writing process with you and Dana? I mean, did you pitch him chunks and then he wrote things?
Yeah, we did that. We also toward the the last few years, we got in a room and just jam twelve hours a day and, you know, the magnificent prose writer, I learned a lot about that. And we filled in each other's gaps and it was was wonderful. So I love telling stories and making up things that don't exist and. Yeah. And and I have a lot of experience to share and and a well, that's pretty deep.
Did you ever live you never lived in Hamilton, did you. I lived in Burlington. Across the bay. Yeah. Before I came into comedy I had put my applications in at Stelco and the fiasco, it's I don't think it's it's not running anymore that mill is it?
I don't think so. One of them went out of business. I believe it's the old thing, man is the old thing. Yeah. If the industry moves, you know, you're Detroit, you know, and. Yeah. You got a deal.
Yeah. It was pretty in Michigan. It was pretty heavy. So so Burlington's across the water from there.
Burlington's right across the water across the the Bay Bridge. And that's where you grew up. That's right. That's where kind of my most mischievous years.
And it was like from 11 to maybe 14. Oh, really? And then my father lost his job the second time and he was too old to get another job that was in a corporate structure. We moved to Scarbro and we got a job as a family being security guards and janitors. So I got thrown into the middle of this factory, this steel truck, rim making factory, huge factory floor that I had to clean with sweepers and stuff like that and the and the bathrooms.
So I was in the middle of a very interesting situation.
There were like two factions of people that kind of didn't get along. And I was the center of the and they used to defecate in the sinks and stuff like that.
Is what which factions of people I don't want to say about there is just like different different religions clashing in the factory.
No kidding. And daggers and all kinds of things going on. Wow. And and I cleaned the place and so that, you know, you really, you know, haven't developed your character until you've had to clean urinals from factory worker bag scratch. You know, when they go in after a real hard shift and they stand there urinating and like scratching their bags and in in euphoria, you know, and and I'm the one that had to, you know, take the skin samples and collect them and the pubic hair.
Yeah, that was my job. Master pubic hair.
So you like. But where did you start your early life?
I was born in Newmarket, Ontario, which is about, I don't know, twenty five miles north of Toronto.
And you were like, how many kids? How many were you. I we had I had two sisters and a brother older and they're all older. And the last one I was the baby and I was the gifted child, I guess you'd call it. And it really was an imitation of my father. Who was this insanely, I don't know, joyful, incredibly funny animated character that just didn't tell a story. He became the characters and he was like this.
Everything I've done in my comedy career can be traced back to that origin. You love that and love that guy. Love that guy so much. And and I used to watch him as a little kid and we used to watch in Sullivan together, Rodney Dangerfield on Ed Sullivan. I had no idea what the jokes meant. I was just laughing because my father was laughing and people were laughing in the studio and it was just magnificent and ended up being with Rodney later on.
So how great is so wonderful, man. So wonderful. And I got a beautiful email from Joan Dangerfield's about the book because Rodney comes into the book and and I and he's treated in a kind of a really avant garde way.
And we get back to Rodney. But so you're growing up your dad's a guy that gave you your faces and and his charisma and his and my mom was the artist.
So I got the artist from her. She was a painter at the best. She was an artist. She used to get up in the middle of the night and make these beautiful murals and stuff for our rooms, really the only peaceful time she had. So, yeah, she used to do that. So it's weird. The first 40 years of my life, I was mining the the gold from the talent my father gave me. And then suddenly like that, like overnight I became an artist.
It was like I was spending time with my mother suddenly.
Isn't that wild how that stuff is carved into the neural pathways. So yeah it's incredible. Yeah.
So what now you say your dad lost his job twice. So you had rough times? A couple of times, yeah.
Yeah, we had rough times and I went from being an A student to not being able to hear the teacher, Charlie Brown. Oh really.
One problem like that. And I was so angry I blamed the world for messing with my father. So I was really kind of in a really angry state of mind. I just wanted to fight. Did it break them? It did.
It broke his heart, yeah. It definitely broke his heart. But then, you know, as I say in the book, at a certain point, you know, I made him laugh so hard one time that his dentures fell out of his mouth. Nice. And and from then on, he started dreaming through me and for me, you know, so he gave up his dream. You know, he was such a funny guy. Everybody said you could have been an even.
Rodney said Rodney was in love with Percy Carey. And he just like he would marvel at him and go, Who the fuck is this guy?
No, where the hell are you doing? Why aren't you in the Catskills man thing?
And he was just joke. Funny man joke.
That's so funny because I started that's. My dad was is a bipolar guy, and my mom used to say to me when I was in high school, she used to say, you know, why don't you go upstairs and make your father laugh? You're the only one who can.
And I was with my mother. Right. I get up there and my dad be like, I don't want to live anymore.
I'm like doing tough crowd, tough crowd, run around the room and make it sound like a genocide.
Yeah, it's crazy. Yeah. There's always a sick parent. You know, your mom was like a lot of my mother was not well, you know, she and she was on a lot of prescription medications. And in those days it was just like have some more candy. Yeah. You know what? It was really funny.
One time my mother was smoking. She smoked like a fiend and she had switched to menthol. Benson and Hedges. Right.
And I said, it smells weird, momma, what do you smoke? And she was like, they're menthol. The doctor said, they're better for me when I have a cold.
What he probably did say at that time said that she should she should smoke menthols.
So fucking nuts. Yeah. So not the dark ages.
We haven't we're not long from the Dark Ages. Well, we're not. I think we're reentering the actual Middle Ages. Yeah. They're trying to drag us back in there. Oh, my God. You know, these like that sort of. I don't want let's not digress into that. But but OK.
So so after the the second kind of when did you start doing the comedy, if you don't mind my asking?
Well, again, that was my father's urging. He, he, he, you know, I was ripping the house up every time company came over and I was known in school and everywhere else as the cut up. And the guy who was just always doing outrageous stuff. I used to do impressions of like Paul in choking on a piece of meat and stuff like that. They were all really Alkira things.
Yeah, but can you do that with a certain Pallan discuss the center square to block.
You know, I've done it for a while and I went back up and running was good and yeah. So I used to do that and at a certain point my father and I think we were just at the end of our ropes because we, we walked away from that factory job. Yeah. Because it was affecting us in a terrible negative way. I mean, there was a lot of like, you know, bigoted talk at the table, stuff like that.
It was like we were just turning into people that we were not monsters and monsters, hateful monsters. And I was just trying to imagine how to fix people's breaks and stuff at night. When I went to sleep and I had a baseball bat on my cleaning cart that was ready to go, you know, I was ready to go rough. And and at a certain point, we looked at each other and we just said, we got to go.
Yeah. And we had nothing to go to. We literally went camping for about six months into the winter and was that nice? So it was better than the terrible job that was turning us into monsters. OK, it literally was a step up. Would you have nothing?
Would you earn in the forest?
Well, my my the guy that would become my brother in law taught me about sex. Oh, that's good. You know, at night he would talk to me about what what to do to a lady. Yeah. And all of that. So the first time I ever had it, I tried everything he talked about. Yeah. How'd that go?
Yeah, it was good. Yeah, it was, it was it was a surprise. You know, it was a party and I met somebody and she lived upstairs and I went up there and I remember trying everything in the world. And and she really I don't I'm not sure if she noticed that I was a neophyte, but I remember it very well. And that sticks. Grand Illusion album was Oh, lady, it's a grand illusion.
Deep inside we're all the same.
Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun team. Sadly, we Seven-Eleven open us. They were huge. Yeah, yeah.
Come to that. It's fantastic. Oh great.
Great. So you did good.
Oh I exploded. Sorry.
Yes I did all right. I think I did all right. But but there was also just this thing. We got to a point where my father said I just heard about these places called comedy clubs. Yeah.
And. Would you like to go down to yuckiness in Toronto and my mother suggested I wear my best polyester suit, nice and color, and I was white polyester suit, I was way ahead of the Steve Martin curve.
Nice. And and I went down with my dad. And the big the big routine I did at that point was imitating the Carol Burnett Show. I was doing all Tim Conway's character.
How funny was that guy? Jesus. Now, he was so fast on his feet, man. Right. The last time I met him, he was he was getting up there and man, the guy was quick.
Still very funny. So you're doing the Bernet riff? Yeah. And at Yuk's, they had this thing where if somebody wasn't going over well or wasn't, you know, at that certain level of hipness. Yeah. They would start playing the theme to Jesus Christ superstar.
They get to crucify him, crucify him, crucify him. And Mark Breslin would get on the mike back stage and say, totally boring. Oh, totally fine. Totally boring. That guy having that 15 years old. Oh, my God. And I didn't go back for two years. I left there that night and I didn't go back for two years. And then I went back and killed it. You know, it was good for me and it's good.
Those those tanks you do are really good for you, I guess.
But what you do for the two years prepared. Oh, so you were doing open mics elsewhere?
No, I was just coming up with stuff. No shows coming up with stuff. And I watch the other comics and I and I watched the audience and what they're looking for. And, you know, at first I guess you just try to fit in and try to fill that.
Let me ask you something, though, around this stuff about like, you know, the new realizations versus the life that you lived before the realizations is that, you know, how do you frame, you know, what you may have once viewed as mental illness?
You know, I'm assuming that currently you have a different take on it than you might have had a decade ago. And I guess the deeper question is, when you started doing comedy, like for those two years, were you was your heart heavy?
No, it was always for me. I created out of a place of joy and then out of a place of wanting to free people from concern. Oh, my mother really was born out of that. So, you know, to make her feel bad, she was when she was in pain, I'd get up on her bed, my underwear, and be the praying mantis and drive driver crazy until she was laughing hysterically and holding her belly and going, It hurts, right?
Yeah. Yeah. And and so at a certain point I realized, oh, I could actually do this for the world. I could actually do this for large groups of people.
What point was that? Freedom from concerned. Oh right. OK, ok, that's so that's really where it came from.
It's a ministry. Yeah. Huh. So it was never self medicating.
I think it, it became partly that, you know, art always becomes a way to express those deeper feelings. But I but I honestly think it's born and it's still is born out of trying to free people free from concern, even if it's taking them, you know, head on into the concern. Yeah. So that it dissipates the intensity of it. Yeah.
So when you when you went back to Yakushkin, you killed. That was the beginning of a career then. Yeah.
And then I became a featured player at Yakuts, featured player in the theater of the absurd.
And when did you when did you like come to L.A., came to L.A. and met a guy named David Hallworth who was managing Howie Mandel and Canadian guy.
Yeah, Canadian guy. Yeah. And he was one of those few guys back then that could see the next level they could see to the next stage. Yes. And there were a lot of people that didn't really see where things could go. And, you know, now you can you can stay in Toronto and do just fine, you know.
And but but but I mean, I get that. But I mean, you know, you're going to be like some people can do, all right. And that just means, you know, you get to do all the yuckier twice a year.
Yeah, but I mean, there's CTV, you know, there's sure kids in the hall. There's some great stuff. I don't know, of course.
But I mean, as a stand up, though, like at the beginning, were you really thinking that, like, standup was the thing?
I didn't know I had a dream about being being an artist that could do a lot of things, you know, and not having boundaries. And I've always I've always kind of believed that there's a there's no limit to the areas I could kind of sneak into.
Well, I mean, it's clear, like the style the way that you sort of did what you do early on. Was sort of like you definitely somehow pushed the envelope, even with familiar things, you know, even with impressions there, your approach to them was sort of, you know, kind of got pretty out there.
Yeah, I was the man of a thousand faces. Sure. I was the rubber face.
But you're always able to even when you did characters, you create a different time zone for everybody.
Sure. Yeah. Well, that's you know, that's the key. It's the basis to one of my my most serious beliefs, my strongest beliefs and that involvement and immersion in someone else. Yes. And in fact, in your own work. Yeah. Heaven. You know, I mean, I was I was in my studio painting in New York one time and I walked I took a walk for a couple of blocks and I found this wonderful little park where these guys were playing soccer.
And I felt so free from the painting because it involves your heart, your head in your hands. It takes everything. Right, right.
And and I always wondered why I was so free and felt so good and euphoric doing it. And then I watched these guys play soccer. What's this guy chasing the ball?
And I went, that's it.
I, I was compelled by that guy who was so involved with getting the ball. And that's why all of sports work, you know, all art works on the same level. And that is presence. You know, presence is addictive, man. And when someone is fully present, like Michael Jordan is in the zone. Yeah, it's like it's addictive. And you cannot you know, Meisner, one of his one of the tenets of his technique is that if you are actually interested in what you're doing, you'll be interesting to watch, you know, and that's why we watch babies, because they discover things for the first time.
Sure. You know, and that's why we watch it, Art. That's why what's happening when you look at the Vincey, you're seeing his presence on the canvas. Yeah. You know. Right. And it's addictive. You can't not be compelled by it. Yeah.
And I think that's also something about that's part of the addiction to live performance as well. Yes.
In the moment. Yes. When you have the sense that somebody I mean, we all have plans, you know, but when you have the sense that somebody is like kind of discovering their own material as they speak the best.
I was just watching, like, you know, I've been like I've been home, you know, and I and I can't go out and do the work, you know? So I've been watching you guys. I watched this documentary, oddly on Rodney the other night, which was great.
But I turned on that that that first prior special last night, I haven't watched in a year or two live in concert and so beautiful.
Oh, it's did you ever notice that he comes out on a fantastic time capsule. Yeah. But he comes out on stage and they're not even back from intermission yet. Like he walks out on stage in Long Beach and there's like a hundred people looking for their seats. They don't even know he came out.
And I'm like, wow, doesn't care. He's not about that. He wasn't about show biz. It wasn't about the glitz. He was about let's connect. Yeah, I'm going to connect. Yeah, I'm going to connect with myself. Right, right minute. I'm going to play these characters like they're just they're happening in front of you right now. The best actors do that, you know, they have to rediscover the part every time they do it.
If you do ten takes, you have to rediscover it every time. That's the job in the moment. In a way, yes, the job. So. All right.
So when do you come? So the guy who manages Howay says, I'm going to make your star kid or what?
He says, you know, we should go to L.A. and do that. And I have been to L.A. once with. Demi Thompson and Ron Scrivner were the couple of guys that were managing me very early on and and then I came back, I had a bad experience in L.A. I was supposed to do The Tonight Show, and they set up this huge showcase at the Improv when I and it was two days before I was supposed to do The Tonight Show and Jim McCauley was there.
Everybody was very excited about this new kid from Canada that had been talked about. And I had a lukewarm night.
It was just there were too many industry people for it to be a good night that I don't think that room was good.
I had some good times in that room. Yeah, but just one of those nights, I get it. Yeah, flimflams one of those nights where it was just a little flat and I walked away and I felt it all going away. And everybody patted me on the back, the good buzzi coming out and saying, like, that was great. I was like, oh, God, it was the kindness. Kindness was killing the compliments.
They erased themselves as they're coming out of their mouths.
Oh, that was good. It was no good. Wow. You really have something there. You got the meetings. Yeah.
That's what makes it was simply just don't cook it so long as if they're answering you just saying like that I suck.
Absolutely. Yeah. And sure enough, like a day later I got the call that Jim McCauley didn't think I was ready for that he had I lost The Tonight Show. And, you know, I mean, that is created that's that's caused suicide before, I mean, know killed themselves.
Yeah. I didn't do it over that, though.
No, you couldn't hit spots. And and but it wasn't that he lost The Tonight Show. It was that without the Comedy Store, you couldn't get The Tonight Show. You couldn't go to the next level.
When did you get to the store? I got there to stay. I went there in nineteen seventy nine and I auditioned for Mizzi and I stayed at that Saharan motel, which is a character in the book. Yeah, I saw that. Yeah. And yeah. And, and I remember walking in and having a hooker come up to me and say, Do you want a date. And I thought wow, Sadie Hawkins day. I didn't know what was going on.
And you know, and and I walked in there, I, I, I this it looked like something from a cop show to me and like I had walking up the stairs to the booth, I was in the Rockford Files, I was in Baretta or whatever.
It was a new world for me. And I was reading The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey. It was purporting to to have absolute knowledge and surety that the world was going to end very soon and there were biblical references and everything in there. So I wanted to check them. I went and asked manager who was wearing a Stetson and and smoking a stogie by the pool if he had any extra Bibles, because I wanted to check the the Bible references the hotel.
And he started howling with laughter.
And he threw his hat down and said, boy, they in a Bible and I love Hollywood.
And I knew where I was. And but I auditioned for they went on that trip and she. I never got to see her, I never got to. She was sitting at the back of the room and I again had a kind of a weird night where the mic fell apart in my hands.
Why can't they think like, oh, good God damn, we need one thing to do our job. One thing. Yeah. And but I think it was just it was just one of those nights where I wasn't in the right spot. So I didn't wait. I blew past her so fast and went back to Canada for two years. That's what I do. I screw up the first time. Then I regroup. I came back in eighty one to stay in Los Angeles and she let in and she yeah.
Right away it was, it was on and I was a regular and it was a fantastic moment. Man what a what a door to open. And Bud was always cool with me too you know spots at the Improv for some reason I never experienced that. You're not supposed to play one club or the other. I just it never happened for me that way.
By the eighties, though, that, you know, that shit was you know, if you were big enough, they were burning each other's clubs down now and those days were over.
But who were the who were your contemporaries at the store in that in that year? Robin.
Robin, you know, it was me. It was Kinnison. It was Robin. It was Eddie Murphy was coming in to try stuff out. Richard Pryor was there all the time. Right. Richard Pryor was going through a really weird period where I think he had done he had done the first thing and he had Byrd up. Yeah. Yeah. He was questioning his abilities because he was doing it straight. And he when it went in and out, I found myself in the parking lot one night.
Twenty one years old and standing.
Everybody else left. And suddenly I found myself standing with Richard Pryor. Yeah. Which is enough to for any comic to just let his pain. Yeah. You know, and. We passed a joint back and forth. And he said, be careful with this stuff. And he said, I don't remember 40 years of my life, huh? And I said, what? And I was dumbfounded. He said, what? And he said, I'm not sure it was me.
And it was like a harpoon going through me, like the greatest of all time was having those kind of doubts. Yeah. You know, of course it was him, right? Of course it was everything he'd ever lived. Right. But at that moment, he was having real, real serious doubts about whether it was him who was inspired to do it or it was the drugs.
But you've had that feeling. Yeah, sure.
I call my father a night after I smoked a joint and I went on stage and I eviscerated the room. And Kinnison even was at the back of the room and he started messing with me just to see what I was nado right. And and I just annihilated him that night. And it was amazing. And I was I was leading man. And it was just coming is like, yeah, man, yeah. I needed the rim. Yeah. You know, and I was a comedy priest and I said, good man, it's good when you can nail the boy in the back of the room.
Oh my God. But he was just he was just testing testing me and and and I did fantastic. And I came offstage and he came up and everybody came up and they said, holy crap, man, you were just off the hook. You were you were transcendent, man.
And I went I was high, you know, and I I went home immediately and I called my father, who was a jazz musician. And I said because I started thinking, well, maybe should I do it this way? Right. And I called him up and I said, you know, you must have run in being in the jazz game. You must have run into a lot of musicians that were using and heroine stuff and things like that.
And he said, yeah, I knew a lot of guys and a lot of guys that were getting there that way. And I, I never did because I figured if I made it that way, I could never own it. Right, right. Right. That's exactly, in fact, what Richard was going through. Right. Right. Whether he could wondering whether he could own this greatness that everybody interesting. Yeah.
So you chose against it?
I chose against it. I can't do it if I can't take credit for it. What the hell is it worth, man.
But that's interesting that people would look a look at it like that. I mean, there was so many dudes. I certainly did my share of drugs.
Yeah, me too, man. I mean, I'm no I'm no I'm no choirboy. Right. But you never I never created relied on it to create.
Well yeah. There were cats that couldn't couldn't get on stage without it. No. Yeah. Like you know, I knew a lot of those guys. Yeah. Yeah.
Steve Kravitz used to walk around the halls at the Comedy Store going was Johnette.
Oh that's great.
So what's the Kinnison story.
Oh well you know, when we met he was working the door and he had started doing late night spots about the last one know one forty five in the morning. Right. And that's all he could get at that time. And he came up to me and at that point I was already a regular and I was playing in the main room and I was getting standing ovations every night. And he came up to me and he said, Man, I'm just such a fan.
I love what you do. And I go on really late at night. I go on the last spot in the original room and would you hang out and watch me? And I said, Yeah, sure. So I hung out that night and and I watched him. Yeah. Makes me cry to think about it. I sat at the back of the room, man, and I watched the world change. Yeah. You know, and. And I was crying with laughter, yeah, and it's the first time I had ever seen somebody, Mary, you know, comics are usually intellectualising things.
You know, they they go above the emotion to intellectualize something and say to the world, here's how you deal with it without having to come apart.
But he was the first one that was immersed in his emotions. Yeah. And his anger. Yeah. And expressing that at the same time as there were these brilliant routines that I had never heard anything like. Yeah. And I felt like I was watching Bird. I was watching Charlie Parker watching early Miles Davis. I was like I was seeing something really extraordinary. And he came off stage and came up to me, what do you think? And I said, What I think.
I think you're it. Yeah. You know. Yeah.
And good luck to you because that's going to be difficult.
Yeah. Plus plus, he picked me. I knew that he had picked a character and persona as we speak about the book and the person as we create that sometimes we can't live up to.
The Beast created a persona that he couldn't get out of basic work with. Yeah. Every time he got sober, people came up and screamed in his face. Yeah. And needed him to be the beast, you know. So that was a very hard thing to get out of. We used that. We drove to Tulsa together and he was he was going to train me how to preach and we were going to go on the road because he wasn't known yet.
We were going to go on the road is Pentecostal preachers. And he was going to call me Lightning Boy Jim. And I was going to do the thing. We never got to do it, but I got to listen to him preach in the garage with brother Marty in the family.
Some energy, right? It was the energy, incredible, incredible energy. And I it was it was kind of wild to see because he hit so hard, you know, at a certain point that he got kind of carried away and frozen in the image of himself. And so you notice, like the second album in the second or third, Letterman isn't as tight and isn't as it's more about who he's become.
It's about he had to say it became you know, it became sort of like, I can do this this fucked up.
But it also became like a rock star. He became a star and every rock star in the world was fawning all over him.
So it was tough. It's a tough ego thing. Then when you're faced with that kind of, you know, reverence coming at you, you know, I don't think he was able to handle it.
Yeah, but the guitar thing, you know, my feelings about him are complicated, you know, but but it just seemed to me that, you know, the clarity of that first record or the night you saw him or the night that you were hanging out with vision.
Yeah. Yeah, it's a vision.
And like, you know, a lot of people don't realize, like when you walked into the room and he was doing that shit from that first record, the you know, he changed this, you know, the energy in the fucking room.
It was crazy. It was menacing, dude.
It was like, whoa, to those who became offended enough to leave because then he was ripping you apart. It was the guy had his dick in her purse. And I hope you find a lump. And I mean, my God, he would go to places that people were just what did he say?
But, you know, you also were able to create a sort of different energy because of the intensity you brought to it. And you you became a star before him. So I'm imagining you're looking at him going through his paces. And I don't know how close you guys were made, you know, during that time or if you were at all or you or he used to hide himself from you at that point.
But I mean, there was a time when we got when we got when we split. Yes. He was going down that direction of the outlaw. Yeah. And I you know, I hung for a long time with him and we got in some scraps and together. And, you know, there was some it got pretty hairy around Sam. You know, it is pretty hairy. So I just know myself and I know that I wasn't meant to be.
I have I have a rebellious streak, but I'm not an outlaw, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, me too. Me too. And I there came a time where we had to sit down that did not turn out well. Right. Because he wanted me to come on the road with him. And I said I just can't say I'm sorry. You know, I just I'd like to think, yeah, I'm clinging to this thing called life.
That was always the feeling I got. Someone's going to go down. It's probably going to be able to be me. Yeah, exactly. I mean, that's what's meant for him. Exactly. That's right.
But, you know, it seems like Rodney was equally as important in his life as he was in yours.
Rodney was important to so many young comics, man. He just opened a door for a ton of people. All these people that had personal experiences with Rodney. I mean, the first time he ever hired me, he looked at me and he started laughing and he said, Kid, if you ever been in love. And he was tickled by the fact that I just had not had any human experience whatsoever. Right now, it's just pure love coming at it.
Yeah. And and we had just this wonderful, magical relationship. And I still quote him to young comics and people that I know. You know, there's there's a bit of it in the book, you know, where, you know, he would say to me, you know, kid, you got to make the tank so strong, no boneheaded motherfucker can fucking stop it. You know, no bonehead can get in your way because it takes too strong.
Yeah. He's a real warrior comic. That guy.
He was man and a surgeon. A surgeon. Yeah. If you look at those old old shows of Rodney Dangerfield with Johnny Carson. Oh yeah. I mean Johnny was like, oh yeah. And then what happened. Yeah. Well that must be funny. He's just literally just marking the space between the jokes with sounds.
It was the best thing that happened is when one of them doesn't work as well as he wanted to really just stay out of my way, you know what I mean?
But when a joke flops, I love when he's sort of like, oh, you should try that one again at the club or whatever. You know, he's got those moments where you're going to work on that or we tell you and, you know, we had we have such a beautiful relationship. And he was always my friend and he loved my father. And he he he stuck with me when I was experimenting and the audience had no clue what I was doing, whereas other people jumped ship, which bit I was I was in Vegas doing.
I called it performance art because it just wasn't funny. Right at that point. I was just exploring. I would spend like fifteen minutes being a cockroach, escaping from a vacuum cleaner, you know, and that would be the substance of it.
Or I'd be the guy, the snake, the guy that wanted the deal right there on stage or whatever. And they just I was an alien from another planet.
Rodney, what did he say? See, trying some stuff, a kid. Yeah, know, that's good, that's good. Keep it fresh.
Keep it fresh, you know, and in the end, he was he was just a big supporter and a big fan. And and then when he passed, John gave me this lovely box with leather bound box with Rodney's favorite shirt and his pot pipe. So if you know Rodney, you know that that's pretty much the grill. Yeah. You know. Right. The pot pie. Yeah.
Kusumi Creative mind, you know what I mean? Yeah. It was that beautiful link to the past that was so important. And then I got to meet Pryor and all these guys and Robin Williams, who was just, you know, the fastest gun in the West, just absolutely incredible, you know. So I just I can't even tell you how how lucky I feel. I don't know how you feel about your era. Did you feel that for your era at the Comedy Store?
I mean, I got when I was there was mostly Sam, you know, and I got kind of caught up with that. And Dyce was also breaking. But I I saw Richard come in a couple of times and he was beaten up again. You know, he was trying to get back on the horse again. He wasn't sick.
He would literally be at the microphone saying, I'm not funny. Yeah. Yeah. And the audience would go, no, you are wrong now.
I'm really not. I don't I don't feel funny. Right.
And in terms of like guys, my generation who were there, like when I was at the store, it was it was a little dark period and not people didn't really love to come around. They're like even industry people were a little wary of the place. And, you know, but all those cats that you were there with were still around you, like Joey jokingly Saturday Night Live, isn't it?
It's like it's like it goes through those phases where that's the yeah.
There is a kind of a down period where nothing but the same period was very dark because he would bring in when he was running the place, Sam, it was all the porn stars and the weirdos and the drug fiends and the Satanists. It was a crazy dark time. And then you got people like Joey came in and Jan Habour doing sets and Karen Halfbrick and Mystic and tennis balls in his mouth.
Exactly. You know, in the midst of this chaos. And I was giving up a crystal and Sam would party up there jugulars. Yeah. And Bekker would say Bekker would call us the Manson family because we were up there just as pretty decadent.
It was it was an important period in my life, but I had to run away being chased by things only I saw. I got myself into a psychotic drug induced state.
Then I had to really? Yeah, I got into a fight with Sam and I lost my mind on cocaine and I had to go regroup.
And it took a couple of years after you called your second grade teacher and said, why do we never get together? Yeah. Yeah. What's happening? Are you available? How old are you? Are you doing tonight? Yeah, yeah.
I went back to New Mexico and I kind of pulled my brain back together and restarted my career in Boston, starting because it was OK for you.
I'm so happy for you, man. I honestly, I think you're great and I really I really love it because you're an honest guy and you share that in a really cool way.
It's always been about the stand up, you know, at the beginning.
Yeah, it's great. It's wonderful to watch. I enjoy stand up so much watching it, you know, I don't know if I'll ever go back to do it. It could happen, but but I love it.
Was there a point where you were like, I you know, I've got to go a different route here. Like there's a mention in the book where you like it seem like, you know, when you were in Vegas, you kind of saw that life. And it did seem like that was the life you wanted.
I could not die there. No, I don't. But you knew it was a possibility. I do not trust white tigers. Yeah. And and I cannot know the whole atmosphere. I can go to Vegas for a night, but the controlled atmosphere is in the rooms and stuff like that and trying to whatever there's nothing on the television set. It just compels you to go down and spend your money. Last time I was playing at the Comedy Store at the Dunes, I was with Dice actually.
And he was in the room going, don't let me blow this last hundred bucks, man. Yeah. Like that and go, what do you mean. He goes like I'm serious. I got one hundred bucks left, I've lost everything and you can't let me blow this last hundred bucks. I got my go. OK, I'll try to keep an eye on you like that. My win in the bathroom to go pee and I came out and he was gone.
Yeah. In the eyes of God.
Yeah that was the dunes and I she had the store there right at the store there and I was playing there as a feature player at the store. The the techs were impossible. Can I have a stool stool. It's stool yourself man to that comic, whatever. And it was just brutal. And I remember being in my room one night and I had I was going through a phase where I was listening to positive affirmation tapes.
And were you depressed? No, I was just trying to motivate myself and move the universe a secret before the secret ever. Yeah, right. I was always doing that. So I put those headphones on and I laid back on my bed in my tidy whities and and I fell asleep while I was listening to you are a winner and everything comes easily to you kill the seagulls, you know.
And yeah. And I was listening to that and I fell asleep and I was blissed out sleeping. And suddenly I sensed something or heard something. And I kind of like slowly blinked my eyes off and I saw a light coming in from the hallway and I went, oh, I must have left left a light on. And then I looked to the other side of my bed right beside me at the nightstand. I saw something moving. And initially I thought, is that a cat on the table?
And then I the depth perception kicked in and I realized I was staring at a human face about two feet away from mine.
It was a woman with long hair going through my wallet on the nightstand, what's going through my wallet.
And I leapt out of bed and grabbed her and she got up and she was about six foot four white. And she kept saying she was acting like she was a prostitute, saying, I thought you were frank.
They sent me up for Frank like that. And I grabbed her and I threw her out into the hallway. The door was fully open. Yeah. And apparently I hadn't put the bolt on. Right. And she came with the with the Do Not Disturb sign and just flicked it open. Get out of here. And yeah. And I then she ran to the elevator where there was a guy holding the elevator for her and I was so freaked out and I called down to security and I went down to the security office which was like, you know, the police station in Beverly Hills cop.
I mean, it was huge. This police station inside the casino.
I looked at mug shots and I found her and they said, oh, yeah, her she's she works all the hotels.
Do you have your deadbolt? Really listening to motivational tapes?
Are you coming? Yeah. Yeah. She saw you coming, buddy. So that was just bizarre.
That was Vegas. That was you are a winner.
So that was Vegas. And when I saw the dunes go down, when I saw the demolition of the dunes, which is in Casino by the way. Yeah. It marked a moment in my life that I was very happy about. I was glad to see that go.
I bet so.
So how does the transition I mean, obviously we I'm trying to go through everything, but I mean, was there like any when when I know you did a few movies and you're obviously a known quantity, but when living color happens, was there any part of you that was sort of like, oh, I'm a stand up, I don't know if I'm going to know.
I was always up for new directions and new experiences.
But Damon, your new Damon and Kenan Freeman was at the comedy scene with me and we did.
Earth girls are easy together. How great was he to watch? He was fantastic, right?
So funny, so edgy man. So incredibly dark.
And he crafted unbelievable and and just courageous beyond belief. Yeah, for sure. It's beyond belief. He had the sickest routine. Some of them I remember one in particular where I don't know if your listeners aren't going to see this, but. But his sister got beat up by her boyfriend and he went to visit her in the hospital. She was really messed up. And he said, why are you going out with that dude? What what is it?
What is it? What why are you doing that to yourself? Yeah. And she says, I know there are still a lot of that sounds like.
Oh man, it's so. Yeah.
And he's the one that invited me to do it to audition for in Living Color and God and being like, did you guys have any idea, you know, what that was going to be like, I mean, in conception or is it just a sketch?
I mean, what was the pitch? Because it was Kenan because Kenan was doing stand up to a bit, right?
Yeah. Nobody had done the sketch stuff. Yeah. I mean, you know, when I got on the show, Damon said to me, you're going to have to come up with some characters. I'd never done characters before. Right? Oh, really? So I just kind of opened up my perception and started looking for people in character. Yeah. And the first one was Vieira de Mello. She presented herself to me at Gold's Gym in Santa Monica.
I was getting a smoothie and she came up to the counter and said, Ah, can I have a baby, please?
You know, and it was this wonderfully human Arculus woman.
And and I went, well, there's one. Yeah. And then started evolving into characters, fire marshal. Bill was born out of a sketch that Adam Smalls and Facts Bar and I created called the Death Wish Foundation. And it was a sketch about, you know, kids who are passing away and and their posthumus, which is what we were concentrating on, right.
So they would make Posthumus, which is my Posthumus wish, is this sick kid was to go to an amusement park after I die. And so it would be me on the rides, flopping around in the seats on the roller coaster and stuff like Weekend at Bernie's and the and that didn't get on. But the character stuck to the character became Fire Marshall Bill.
Oh, my guy's a nice dark back story. Crazy, right?
We had the that grouping of people and I wrote a lot with Steve Odenkirk, who is also responsible for a lot of my early success and just did incredible, incredible work. And when people went to see Ace Ventura, they were going because of Fire Marshall Bill. Right. Sure. They were going to see what this lunatic is going to do next. Yeah, basically. And they and they were happy with what they saw. So it was really wonderful.
And but Steve Odenkirk and I wrote I wrote that late night after we'd written sketches for for In Living the first Ace Ventura, first Ace Ventura.
We rewrote the original script and I didn't know if I was actually going to do the movie or not. I had a trap door. I didn't have to do it if I didn't like it. But we got so pregnant with it that it was just we were just out of our minds with laughter or this thing. And it was a freedom that everybody should operate under the idea that it's never going to get done. So just go crazy.
But then then it was like crazy because then, like, you basically defined the movie comedy business, you know, for like years. Dude, I mean, that 94 freedom man is freedom.
It's the idea of freedom. If you get out of the way of a ZAKK Eiseman, if you get out of the way of the of the inspiration, you have the courage to do what's in your head, what you think is funny, you know, then then you hit a nerve, then you hit the back row after Ace Ventura, you could do whatever you wanted.
I was very fortunate with the Mask and Dumb and Dumber right after that. But each time I was going, OK, don't get safe, don't get safe, don't get sick. Yeah. You know, so when the when Dumb and Dumber came along and I got my first big payday. I knocked my feeling out of my tooth that my bonding out of my tooth, out of rebellion against Manin, you know, I didn't want to become a man and I wanted to be an artist always.
So you were you were against the greed monster. You I showed up with the bowl cut in my tooth. I was really knocked out. Yeah, I have a bonding, OK, so you just chill whenever I went back to do any Dumb and Dumber or anything, I have to. And the first time I just took a big lighter and I went and I knocked it off. Right. And I showed up like that. And it was just Bobby.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yes. Lloyd, Illinois. You know, and it was it was a reaction to becoming popular. I wanted to fly in the face of it and all the way along, like the stand up into the living color sketch stuff, into the movies and now into the to the book and into the art, the. The economics, the political cartoons, it's I think I have this disease that will not allow me to become really entrenched in people's minds in one place.
Well, yeah, I mean, I think as as time will tell, you're you're entrenched in people's minds in a lot of different ways. Everyone has got a different Jim Carrey in their mind. I would think most people.
Yeah, but that's because I take the chance and I and I, I challenge my audience a lot, you know, I ask a lot from them, a lot of understanding from them. I think I'm going to go off now and not do anything that you like and I'm going to develop a new thing and then I'm going to bring it back and, you know, glue it onto the thing.
You're like, right. And also you take you take chances. And you talk about that in the book that, you know, part of that, you know, those chances are, you know, the battle of seeing yourself as a failure.
Yeah. Yeah. This idea that, you know, that, you know, when you do take a chance and it doesn't pay off, even though you're artistically were were new, you were taking that chance are still is, you know, the public's opinion of it or the critical opinion of it versus, you know, what you feel. And that's a hard place to be sometimes.
Yeah, but you can't you can't step in the direction of appeasing. You can't pander. Right. You know, sure. You can't pander and create at the same time. It's just not conducive. You know, it really is. You can hope that they will like it, that it will hit a nerve. But you can't pander because they even if they don't know what on the surface, they know it inside, they they instinctually know.
What do you think was the biggest risk you ever took, really, in films? I mean, there's so many things, but but, you know, like Philip Morris, they got a lot of resistance about. Yeah. Especially the the. Sexy, but fucking see. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I had my people went fucking mad and so did the film company and and they were just out of their minds over that thing. And I said, you know what?
You're the guys that would take the horse's head out of The Godfather. Stop trying to file down the fucking edges. And I fought and I fought and I fought and I threatened not to promote it, and I did everything that an artist can do to say, you fuck with this, I'm gone, you know? And that was an interesting day because that was that gentleman's first day as an actor.
He was a very precarious position to be on your first day.
But with these more serious movies, the ones that, you know, you really kind of, you know, you know, challenged, I guess you would consider challenging your fans expectations by doing, you know, roles in, you know, I don't know, eternal sunshine. I think, you know, was your greatest dramatic role really for me.
Yeah. Didn't you and Truman Show? I think the magic of Truman Show was was that the concept was so original and prophetic. Yeah, absolutely. As it turns out, everybody has their their bubble, their living and now know everybody's Truman. Now, that's for sure. You know, like I get asked a lot. What do you think happens to Truman when he leaves the the stage and goes through the door and I say he has to watch everybody go back in to the stage and try to seek what he had.
Right. You know. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And so he's alone again. Yeah.
I always pictured you like there were periods where I'd hear about you, like, you know, we don't really have too many common friends. I guess I just made assumptions that, you know, I'd see you publicly go through these different relationships and have these hard times.
And then I read an article about, you know, you had this scared straight the Jim Carey story. Yeah. Yeah.
The Butler, the I thought was fascinating. I just picture you and your butler there in the house. Just you sitting there.
You really just can't call it a butler now. It's like a house manager. Oh, yeah. It's the house from falling apart from becoming, you know, great expectations, like you sitting as a Citizen Kane sized table eating dinner by yourself.
Right. But it's right. But putting up with some beautiful woman, putting a puzzle together angrily.
Yeah. Wishing she would go out the field feeling unrealized.
But what did you take did you study acting at some point? Yeah, I did. I went down when I quit the store and doing standup.
You actively quit standup. You just said quit on stand up.
I, I know I went, I can't do this. It's leading to Vegas, which is the impressionist act. So I knew I couldn't pursue that any longer. So I just walked away for a while and I studied Meisner instead of Lafsky and I did acting classes and started auditioning for acting roles. And then two years later, I got the bug again and I went, OK, now I think I think I can come back to it. Yeah.
With a different perspective and actually create my own persona, you know, and that's what I was after. And I struggled man for a long time, people yelling at me to do Golden Pond and do the crowd pleaser. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And even Mizzi at one point in Vegas said to me, Irakere and then Kamay impression and sweaty and going like that.
And I said, you know, they freaked out when Bob Dylan went electric. Yeah. Yeah. I mean what you say I need a grace period.
Okay. I never like that. And then she still supported me. She still supported me. And and then I slowly started to develop. I did six months. Where I challenged myself by not allowing myself to repeat a word that I said the night before. OK, so I would go up unarmed completely and bleed in front of the crowd and where as I saw Robin doing his thing and I knew he had bits and I knew he would branch off in the moment.
I figured if I trained, it's like training with weights on, if I didn't have anything to go to and I just either sink or swim, I would come out the other side a stronger artist. So I did that for six months, man. And I bled before I went on stage every night like I was starting off and showing off again. It was horrifying. And Sam came up to me at a certain point and he said, Man, I see what you're doing, man.
You've got giant balls, got giant balls and everybody's watching, you know, and in comics were back there. If you're not going to use that bit, man, I heard what you're doing. If you're not using shit, I'm doing right. You know, whatever. And a couple of, you know, entertainer type comics gobbled up my old impressionist act and went to Vegas with a really? Yeah. I used to have people coming up to me and saying, I like your act is killing in Vegas.
Did you let them have it? Yeah, yeah, so you come out the other side, you know, I came out the other side one night in my bed, I used to literally go to bed at night going, what do they need? What do they need? What do they need? What is it? What's my thing, you know, going to be? And and one night I just shot up in bed and. And said out loud, they need to be free from concerned.
It's the old thing I've been doing my whole life. They need to be free from concern. Yeah, and and it was like a revelation that I would become the guy. My persona would be the guy that was free from concern. Right. And doing so, you know, they would, through osmosis, get that feeling for themselves. Yeah, right. And then the next night I went to the Comedy Store and I said, good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
And how are you this evening? All righty, then. And they realized I don't give a damn how they are and I'm not concerned. And I you know, and I'm really not going to wait for an answer. And and and that it created my stage show and my persona. It also created a of the attitude of Ace Ventura, Wild Man and the end of your standup.
But it comes always from the belief and you know, the book touches on this a lot that fear the razor thing and that causes everything from, you know, ego tyrants to to racists. Sure. You know, yeah. People are afraid to be replaced, you know, and it's and it's the weakest thing that you can put out into the universe. I've always believed that, that I don't know how I'm going to find a place for myself. But, you know, the front door has been blocked.
But I can go through the basement window. I know there will be an opening. There will be something presenting itself. So I've had that undying belief my whole life.
Yeah, it's what drives you. So after this tremendous expansion, both ego wise, fame wise, money wise, you know, you know, women wise in everything else, was your point where you came up empty and that's where you crashed.
Yeah, yeah, there were many crashes, there's still crashes, but what do you attribute that to? How do you feel about your mental attribute to.
I believe that no one gets through this life, it's too challenging and there's too much stuff coming at us, we don't have the bandwidth to handle it. We have to find ways to escape it. We have to turn the gadgets off. We have to find moments of in nature. Meditation is helpful, really helpful. Breathing techniques. You there's a lot of that I, I get up and I walk and I do cold plunges and I, you know, I do give my body every chance that it can, can get no more medicine.
Be healthy. I have very little supplementation in my life and just a little little handful of pills and supplements I take with dinner, and that's about it. But no, I still get into spirals of thought and, you know, just eruptions of of anger and disappointment in humanity, you know, in the human species, in the narrowness of someone's perceptions, but no existential sadness.
I don't think so. That's good. Oh, good for you. Really not. No, it's not it's not a just a general depression good anymore at all. Great. It's been at times, but no, I don't have that. I know when I'm not happy, I'm not in the place I should be. Right. Yeah. I'm I'm I'm indulging in what I call time travel. Yeah. You know, the ego doesn't ever allow you to stay in this moment.
It tries to ruin this moment. Yeah. You know, you and I are the only thing in the world to me right now. Right. You know. Yeah. And the trees outside that are kind of sure. You know, particularly since, you know, there as soon as you lose that you're caught in ego, your time traveling, you're going back to regret or you're going forward to fear.
Yeah. Or yeah. Your brain just making shit up for you to react to. Yeah. Yeah.
And half the time it's stuff that has never happened. You're having a fight and then some kind of crazy oration with somebody that you've never even thought you're reacting to, presuming that they're going to hate you.
They're not real. It's not real. Not real.
So much of what we go through is not real stuff, so much of who we are. So it's not real stuff. I get that. That's where they're where the book takes you. And you get in touch with me and let me know if it takes you there, because that's what I my intention was, is to do to read through this absurdism, you know, and this hotto fiction to get to a place where I can actually give people a glimpse or a feeling of freedom from grasping.
Well, I'm excited about it. I'm sorry that I didn't finish it before I talk to you. It's OK, man, but I will on the slowest reader in the world. Yeah. And because I'm enjoying it and I didn't know if I would, but I like it. I'm going to finish it and I will. You know, Griffin Dunne called me yesterday and said that he had read it in two sittings and he's dyslexic. Yeah, you guys are kind of.
So you guys have things in common, I feel. I think so. He's he's he's a heavy cat, you know, he's a heavy cat man.
An incredible family. What a family. Yeah. Yeah. Just genius family. So I'm reading I'm reading Joan Didion right now.
I just finished Joan Didion The Year of Magical think the year of Magical Thinking.
Yes. So heartbreakingly beautiful. Yes. Yes. Incredible. Yeah. Well, I love talking to you.
I mean, I'm glad you too, man. And we'll do it again. We'll do it again. I'm sorry we haven't hung before this, Nana. It's just it's a great opportunity to to kind of connect. We and I admire I love it.
Any time when we get when we're able to talk again, you can come over. Is it still your Garreth if the new garage. Yeah, new garage.
I mean, I'm in and you've gone Jay Leno. You have twenty cars now. It's like a hundred car.
No, but I had to make it into a little house. I got no I got no I got one car and this garage is now like a little house next to my house and very slow find myself man and stuff does not turn me on.
I don't, I don't know. At one point I got the Mercedes McLaren and I just got tired of getting flipped off by people.
Yeah. Yeah, I got, I got, I got what I thought was a nice car. I got a Toyota Avalon.
I'm like this a little too nice for me, but it's been fantastic talking to you, man. Really lovely.
Great work with the book. And let's talk again soon. Thank you. Okay. Bye bye. That was interesting. I think I did all right. He called me after we had a nice chat stand up guy that Jim Carrey and again, the book co-written by Dana Bash on which Jim is Memoirs and Misinformation, a novel. You can get that wherever you get your books. And that's what's happening, man. That's what's happening. OK, congratulations, everybody.
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