When it comes to my personality, two of my biggest influences are: Jim Carrey, and Andy Kaufman! These two stars in the comedy business were not afraid to be themselves, no matter how controversial (or offensive) their antics were! Weird in both their own way. It was quite a perfect decision for Director Milos Forman to cast Carrey as the always quirky comedian in ‘Man on the Moon’; and Carrey adopted Kaufman’s persona — almost too literally!
In Netflix’s newest documentary, ‘Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton’, Carrey reveals to us how he took on the role of Kaufman, and how that affected the production. Some moments felt almost as if he was channeling the dead comedian; (It led to feuds between him and wrestler Jerry Lawler, which coincidentally happened between both Lawler and Kaufman in real life.) but there was also another passenger on board the S.S. Carrey: Kaufman’s persona Tony Clifton; a 70’s performer with a hairdo, shades, snarky attitude, and an “O.K. babe.” style voice, who would smoke cigarettes and constantly berate anybody; becoming an annoyance to anyone near.
While channeling these two characters seemed to be a problem, it was also a healing process for those who knew him in real life: his family, which included his mother Janice, father Stanley, partner Lynne Margulies, (who was portrayed in ‘Man on the Moon’ by Courtney Love.) and a daughter who never got to meet him before his untimely death of lung cancer. (which many thought was a practical joke at the time)
It is quite insightful to see how an actor takes on the role of a real life icon. There are some method actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Dustin Hoffman, and Marlon Brando who go to the limit to reach their potential in the roles they were given; yet it looks like Carrey’s case was a bit too real, to the point where it seems unreal. Sounds ironic, yet do not take it from me. Just watch ‘Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond’ and see what the madness is about.