Jim Carrey is one of the most popular and successful comedic actors of the past 30 years. He first broke out as a cast member on the hit sketch comedy show In Living Color in the early 1990s, which helped launch his movie career. In this article, we’ll take a look back at Jim Carrey’s history with In Living Color – how he got his big break on the show, some of his most memorable sketches and characters, and his eventual departure to pursue a film career.
Jim Carrey’s Background Before In Living Color
Before joining the cast of In Living Color in 1990, Jim Carrey had been steadily building up his comedy resume in the 1980s. Here are some key facts about his career in the years leading up to his big break:
|Started stand-up comedy in Toronto, Canada after dropping out of high school
|Appeared on stand-up TV shows like The Tonight Show and An Evening at the Improv
|Cast member on the sketch comedy show The Duck Factory
|Landed recurring role on sitcom The Ellen Burstyn Show
|Played supporting role in first major film Once Bitten
So while Carrey was gaining experience in television and film in the 80s, he was still searching for his big breakout opportunity. That chance would come from the new sketch series In Living Color.
Jim Carrey Joins In Living Color
In Living Color was created by Keenen Ivory Wayans and debuted on the new Fox network in 1990. It was a bold, innovative sketch show featuring a multi-ethnic cast of young, up-and-coming performers. Jim Carrey was brought on as one of the core cast members for the first season.
|Carrey officially joins cast of In Living Color for Season 1
|Appears in 136 episodes over all 5 seasons
|Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in Variety or Music
Carrey immediately stood out for his incredible physical comedy skills and outrageous characters. His elastic facial expressions and slapstick style were perfectly suited for skits on a show like In Living Color. Some of his most iconic sketches involved talking out of his rear end and extreme facial contortions.
Jim Carrey’s Most Memorable In Living Color Characters & Sketches
Throughout his 5 seasons on In Living Color, Jim Carrey created dozens of hilarious and bizarre recurring characters that became his signature. Here are some of his most legendary skits from the show:
- Fire Marshall Bill – A reckless and destructive fire marshal who wreaked havoc.
- Vera de Milo – A gesticulating female bodybuilder with a strange Eastern European accent.
- Female Impersonations – He convincingly impersonated female celebrities like Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, and Cher.
- The Un-funny Aardvark – A sarcastic aardvark puppet who insulted glove puppet Stewart.
- Queen Shenequa – An absurd queen who consults her magic mirror.
Some of his other memorable one-off skits included “Braco D’Onofrio – Positivity Speaker,” “The Prayer Partners,” and various celebrity impressions of figures like William Shatner and Jesse Jackson. Carrey’s chameleon-like comedic skills shone through brightly in every sketch he did.
Departure from In Living Color and Movie Stardom
As Carrey became more famous from his work on In Living Color, Hollywood took notice. He started landing supporting roles in films like The Dead Pool and Earth Girls Are Easy. In 1994, the same year he left In Living Color, Carrey starred in his first major hit movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. This was followed in quick succession by The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
|Last credited appearance on In Living Color
|Breakout lead role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
|Stars in hits The Mask and Dumb and Dumber
Carrey went from TV sketch comic to one of the biggest comedic movie stars in Hollywood thanks to his fame generated from In Living Color. The show served as the perfect platform to showcase his talents to a wider audience. Though he moved on to a hugely successful film career, he’ll always be remembered fondly for those classic characters and sketches from the heyday of In Living Color.
In Living Color was the ideal launching pad for Jim Carrey’s unique brand of physical comedy. His zany impersonations and outrageous characters made him one of the standout stars of the iconic 1990s sketch series. Though he left the show in 1994 to pursue his booming movie career, those early seasons of In Living Color were crucial for allowing Carrey to break out as a comedian and for giving him the exposure necessary to become a major Hollywood sensation. His tenure on In Living Color will always be looked back on as the time when he honed his skills and developed the funny, elastic on-screen persona that fans love to this day.