For reasons I’m sure everyone can understand, I think Jim Carrey is amazing. His comedies way back when like The Mask and Dumb and Dumber are two personal favorites of mine. I remember watching these movies repeatedly growing up and laughing my ass off. And while we all love Carrey for his erratic antics, his serious performances in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are nothing to shrug off either. I even used The Truman Show as the basis for a massive final research paper in my senior film class in college. So yeah, I’m excited for Carrey’s third hosting gig. The fact that its for Dumb and Dumber To, a movie I think looks funny despite what anyone else says, is simply the icing on the cake.
As for Iggy Azalea, talk about having a banner year. After her hit single “Fancy” completely blew up Top 40 radio in February, she’s been all over the place. I’d say her success this year rivals that of Ariana Grande who also used 2014 to propel into massive stardom. It’s not a shock at all for her to be here on music duty. Her music’s catchy too so I’m looking forward to it.
Carrey has played a lot of crazy roles in his lifetime. Carrey Family Reunion took the daunting task of exploring the full gamut of his roles and it actually worked really well. Sure, we all love doing our own Jim Carrey impressions, but there’s something really special about watching this cast bring Carrey’s characters back in their own special way. Beck Bennett and Vanessa Bayer were Ace Venturas, Bobby Moynihan was The Mask, and Taran Killam was your basic Carrey. Even Jeff Daniels came by to play Lloyd Christmas to make a few jokes about Dumb and Dumber To. Basically, this skit would only work if you’re a fan of Carrey’s body of work. Seeing as I obviously am, I loved this.
One of Carrey’s most recognizable qualities is how freely he throws himself into completely ridiculous skits for comedy. Half his entire persona is his explosive body language after all. Last night, we got a bit entirely dedicated to that where Carrey and Kate McKinnon danced around Studio 8H in skin colored leotards to Sia’s “Chandelier.” The set up for this was an office costume party that had a few funny moments, including Aidy Bryant’s only lines of the night, but those paled in comparison to the hyperactive moves of Carrey and McKinnon. I don’t know what’s more impressive. That at 52 Carrey still has the moves that made him famous over twenty years ago, or that McKinnon was able to keep up with this living Tasmanian Devil. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Carrey’s classic physical comedy.
Speaking of physical comedy, you can’t go through a Carrey hosting without letting the man exercise his face muscles that are seemingly made of rubber. Is it surprising that this was done by having Carrey played a possessed Halloween store owner? Not at all. I’m more surprised that it took an entire show to get there. A lot of this night focused on what’s made Carrey the comedic star he is, so letting him go a little wild was a wise way to end it all. I enjoyed it.
The Cold Open really didn’t start the show off on the best foot. It was more of a social commentary than actual humor, which is disappointing for a show that frequently can straddle both sides. Taran Killam as Ron Klain, the “Ebola Czar,” should be a good setup for some comedy, but the writers instead used it as a vehicle to discuss Klain’s lack of credentials. It was all a bit too serious, especially for a show that is both a Halloween special and featuring a comedian best known for not being serious (though he dabbles). Kenan Thompson’s Al Sharpton was a breath of fresh, humorous air, but that only left me thinking of what this skit could have been with a bit more laughs.
Speaking of this episode being billed as the Halloween show, there were plenty of horror themed bits. The best for me was the possessed Halloween store owner with Carrey’s gospel monologue as Helvis in a close second. The definite worst was the Zombie Apocalypse bit with Carrey pretending his son (Pete Davidson) isn’t a zombie to get into shelter. Man, talk about a generally unfunny several minutes. The audience was dead silent. I can’t blame them either. The skit was wholly without direction and primarily resorted to Carrey hitting Davidson with a foam bat for laughs. When that happened for what felt like the 50th time, and it wasn’t that funny to begin with, I lost interest. The only highlight was zombie Davidson communicating with zombie Jay Pharoah. There should have been more of that.
The Secret Billionaire failed to reach the comedic heights it should have hit too. It followed the typical formula of putting a small group of normal people together with one person who’s completely insane. In this instance, the normal people were Bobby Moynihan, Beck Bennett, and Pharoah, with Carrey as a crazed old guy in a wheelchair with a metal hand. It’s obvious from the start that Carrey was the main comedic focus, but the entire skit completely lacked a cohesive feel, namely any response. Carrey would go off on crazy tangents and everyone would just respond with indifference. The only person we actually saw physically respond to the absurdity was Pharoah, once, and that’s when I laughed the most. If this skit was crafted into a whole package as opposed to Carrey essentially ranting into a void, it would’ve been so much better.
Perhaps I’m a bit biased on the matter, but Carrey absolutely didn’t disappoint last night. It was amazing watching this guy return to his comedic roots and do exactly what made him famous from the start. That’s oddly fitting when you consider that he’s here to promote the official sequel to one of his biggest movies ever. We basically got vintage Carrey in all of his glory. It was also pretty clear that Killam and Carrey were essentially best friends throughout the night as well. The two men are very similar comedically so the pairing really works.
The rest was a bit “meh.” Very few cast members really stood out and the only home run for me was when everyone was pretending to be Carrey. Last night marked Leslie Jones’s first time as an official cast member too and even that left a little to be desired. Her loud and in your face attitude was great when she was an occasional guest on Weekend Update, but now that she’s out with the rest of them, I want to see her hit some other beats. She clearly is a very funny woman who was versatile enough to move from the writer’s room onto the stage. Now I want to see why that was worthwhile, not what we got before. On the plus side, Drunk Uncle did come back in one of his better segments. He’s always a good fallback when the Update isn’t too special.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.