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Hollywood Reporter - Comedy Actors Roundtable (part 2/3)02 Jul 2019
By Eva Araújo (Web correspondent)
Here is the second part of The Hollywood Reporter uncensored Comedy Actors Roundtable.
Sasha Baron Cohen grew up watching a few actors at this roundtable and asked Jim about his energic performances and what he felt when he was doing it:
"It's like a fugue state, like you wake up afterwards. But Ace Ventura was a way to rip down arrogance and the powers that be in any case and, uh, at the same time, it's pure love. There's so much love in it, in that mocking, except for the one I'm mocking necessarily. But even them, I just want to go, you know, this is bullshit, right? Yeah, no, you're full of it, you know but the performance is love. It's a dance for me and I loved actors who employed every bit of their instrument. You know? I mean, you look at James Dean, this is a man who was expressing everything with every, you know, he didn't just get emotional. He was, he was emotion. It was 'tearing him apart! You know, and it was, everything was in it and I love that kind of thing. So I always think of myself as a, it's a kind of painting, you know, and it's an abstract painting a lot of times. So I know the method, I know Stanislavski and I know Meisner and I know what's good from them for me is, I use it. And, at the same time I'm painting, so don't tell me the eyes can't be both on this side of the head."
"I had the most wonderful experience before Ace came out, I was in Chicago doing a live Gig. My manager's sat me down at a restaurant in Chicago and they said, we got kind of bad news, Siskel and Ebert killed you and, don't know what, what's next from here.
Three days before it came out they had the words on a page and I just looked and it said, the worst movie ever made worse actor, ever made. This is the end. It was so skating. I mean, I've been disappointed so many times in my career, have an automatic downshift. I go, well, okay, don't know how it's going to happen, but I'm gonna, I'm gonna have to break a basement window or something. And what happened to my, just absolute delight was that by the time I had done Truman show, Siskel and Ebert did an entire episode just about me and called it 'Jim Carrey Clown with Class' and I get emotional thinking about this… It was incredible. Like they just said we were wrong. And I've never seen a critic say that both of them said we were wrong. We didn't know what we were seeing. And that's just a wonderful thing."
About why he was now ready to play Jeff Pickles:
"The struggle to maintain your innocence, maintain that wonder and that divine spark in a world that's seemingly cruel and out of control. Also the grief aspect of it. How do you keep that together when you've been hit by a freight train and, you know, I have, and I know what that's like. I don't believe that any actor can really do a part unless that part finds them. You don't find parts. They find you when you're ready to do them and when you're informed. And, you have those feelings."
When Sasha also tells the behind the scenes dangers of making his show Jim understand very well:
"It's wonderful, but comedy is dangerous. It truly is. I mean there were many nights at the comedy store where I ended up on someone's table with a broken beer bottle. You know, I mean it got crazy. Drove the entire audience out because I stayed up too long when they hated me. I would go at them. It was not, it was not okay. There was one particular night in fact where I stayed up for two hours because the audience hated me. So I made an exercise on self punishment. I'm just anti-authority. I'm that way and I'd rather get hit then back down. One night I stayed up so long that chairs were flying through the air. It was like New Year's Eve. There was swizzle sticks and whatever and glass and things like that. It was a Saturday night in the main room, 250 people paying top dollar and whatever, and it became a war. (…) So I finally got off stage to huge applause just because I mentioned that I was going to leave the stage. Then I crawled through the audience. So hands and knees popped up behind the piano during the hosts part and uh, started banging on the keys and singing:' I hate you all. You gave me cancer' and it was an entire improvise song. They got up one at a time. I was just blaming them for the cancer cells formed. And so I, you know, I did that until the entire audience left, literally, the entire audience except for five people who stood around the piano. And when I was done in a sweat, they said this is the greatest thing we've ever seen in our lives. And then I got in the car and I cried all the way home because I don't want to make people unhappy. I'm here to make people happy. But I do have a rebellious nature. So sometimes that gets out of hand."
On why he does comedy:
"It's like being a surfer. You're in the water and there's a wave that's coming and it's an opportunity to be funny. And if you have that instinct, you're sitting there going, am I going to ride this wave? It's a bit dangerous, but am I going to ride it?
Well, maybe I'm kidding myself. But I always feel like, especially if you're saying something that's slightly dangerous, there's that cliffs of Acapulco moment, right, where the tide has come in. You either dive or you don't. And if you don't dive, it's gone forever. But you know, most of the time you got to go.
The comedy isn't always the end game. People like Bill Maher and Colbert and they're attacking this subject in a comedic way. But I do believe that when it comes down to it and the wolf is at the door, there ain't nothing funny about that. And, if you give them a joke about it, that's fine. It heals in that moment. But it also is an out for the audience and for the enemy. And the enemy goes, this is a joke. I want people to know how serious I am about the threat that faces us. You know? And if I make it a joke, I can, that's part of it. But if I make it a joke, it's not as I as serious. But I think there's a time to say things straight so they know what you mean."
Check part 3 of this interview in the next news article.
-- Source: The Hollywood Reporter. Click to comment this article.
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