Whoa. Jim Carrey, you guys. Who knew? Just kidding. Before he dated Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey got his start in sketch comedy, so it makes sense that when he hosts Saturday Night Live he leaves it all on the mat. Very intense! On the one hand, this makes for some pretty decent late night comedy television. It always helps for the writers to have someone they can actually write for. This guy DOESN’T know what I’m talking about. Half of the sketches on the show were the weird, experimental, and most importantly, funny type of late-in-show sketches they usually reserve for the last 10 minutes when most viewers have gone to sleep. That is a lot of percent to dedicate to off-beat experiments, but they could get away with it because Jim Carrey was willing to carry the whole thing on his shoulders. But OK, so, can we talk about those shoulders? And how spastic and for-real insane and cringingly needy they are? And can we talk about how those shoulders, along with the body and face that they were connected to, made us deeply uncomfortable as they embodied a “performer’s” raw NEED FOR ATTENTION at any cost. Yikes. There were a couple of times where you could tell that Jim Carrey was getting tired of having to just say his lines like a human being and so he would shout them in that rapid-fire staccato nightmare blast of his that is sometimes very funny and effective and sometimes, as in these random outbursts when it was not appropriate, is a horrifying glimpse into the damp, empty, sucking blackhole of his heart. Taking it all in. Never satisfied. So hungry. Then he would pelvic thrust the air and fall on the ground, his face locked out in a rictus of despair.
Also, the Black Keys performed.
So, at the top of the show, and therefore at the top of this post, there was the Black Swan parody. I am not sure how funny it is, to be honest, but it certainly set the tone for the evening and reminded everyone what Jim Carrey is like when you get him revved up. Dude spins and spins, right off the edge of the table.
When it comes to Jim Carrey’s gift for physical comedy, I personally preferred the amusement park ride sketch. I bet these guys were a lot of fun at bar mitzvah parties after all the relatives had been invited up to light candles on the cake and it was time to do the robot on the dancefloor.
There was some kind of sportsketball event on television Saturday night that ran long and pushed back all the other programming, so my DVR of SNL actually didn’t tape the last 15 minutes (fascinating story, I hope I get a book deal for this story) but I am assuming this “Taste of New York” sketch is what I missed out on (along with the second performance of the Black KEys. Seriously, if there are any editors reading this, I’d love to discuss how to turn this riveting personal experience into a collection of stupid essays). It’s another Fred Armisen musical showcase, kind of like the punk rock wedding party sketch from last year. And good for us. Because Fred Armisen musical showcases are great.
There was one sketch above all the others, though, that I think expresses the aforementioned dichotomy between the pleasure and pain of watching Jim Carrey really BRING IT, and that is the psychic medium sketch. It’s a very funny idea, and Jim Carrey does a great job performing it, and yet underneath all of that hard work there is the squirmy sadness of a human being’s perpetually unfulfilled need/desire/hunger for human warmth and affection. This is not specific to Jim Carrey, it’s more of a general showbiz thing, and probably a comedy thing in particular, but it’s certainly very evident in the work of Jim Carrey, and in particular in this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live and in particular particular this sketch.
It is almost 100% certain that I am reading way too much into this.
Also, the Black Keys performed.
Next week: Gwyneth Paltrow and Cee-Lo. Kind of can’t wait, to be honest.