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The Avatar of Jim Carrey


Trevor Noah spoke on the 23rd of July 2020 with performer Jim Carrey on his The Daily Show about how playing Andy Kaufman in ‘Man on the Moon‘ (2009) was revelatory to him and how it has put his acting in a new perspective.

Trevor Noah:
When did you get to the place where you were like: oh, I gotta break out a little bit out of what everyone thinks I am and then flex a little more of who I am?

Jim Carrey:
I think the moment of shifting was somewhere around when I was playing Andy Kaufman, and I got so deeply into that character I kinda lost myself as Andy and Tony and afterwards I found myself really struggling to remember again who Jim Carrey was, what his political beliefs are, what his choices are and his esthetics.
And it was really awakening to me, it gave me a point of view into the frailty of persona. If I can play someone else’s persona and get lost in it, and assume it, then who’s Jim Carrey, who is that guy?

Life becomes a kind of a two-step thing at that point where you start to go: Okay, this is a character I play with, I want it to represent itself right, I want it to be a good avatar. As you can see I have my tree where my avatar lives in, a picture of it right here and what’s that avatar going to do in this world, how is he gonna represent, what’s he gonna represent?
Is he gonna represent love? Is he gonna represent desperation and greed? Is he gonna represent compromise?
So those are the choices I’m making for that avatar every day, in everything I do.

And then there’s the absolute truth, which is: there’s nothing that I’m not, there’s nothing I can lose, there’s no family I don’t belong to, there’s no one suffering that isn’t a part of me, there’s no one excelling that isn’t a part of me. It goes beyond that even, it goes beyond this planet in my mind.
Those moments of freedom are moments when you connect with the everything, which is what we really truly are.

We’re never satisfied, no matter how we build our characters, no matter how tough and Teflon this thing we create is. We’re never satisfied, because it’s too small. No matter how big this Elvis in us gets, it’s too small to represent who you are. It can’t possibly represent who you are.
So I laugh when people say: why don’t you just be funny? And I go, funny? Let me find, hold on. It’s under this fingernail here. It’s a part of this wonderful wholeness.
It’s there for anybody, any time. Heaven is as close as your own hands and feet.