TCA: Jim Carrey on Kidding

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 02, “Pusillanimous”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: KIDDING_102_6466.DNG

Showtime presented a panel on their new series Kidding for the Television Critics Association. Jim Carrey returns to television in the role of Jeff Pickles, host of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time who entertains kids but is grieving the death of his own son. He wants to do shows addressing such profound themes in a kid friendly way, but when his producer resists, Pickles starts to crack.

Carrey already produces I’m Dying Up Here for Showtime. Kidding also reunites him with his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry. Kidding premieres tonight at 10PM on Showtime, and here are a few things Carrey said on the TCA panel.

Jim Carrey on becoming a producer:

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 01, “Green Means Go”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME

“I just want as much involvement with as many wonderful artists and to be as creative as humanly possible, so that stands to reason I would want to produce some things and I would want to set up situations where I can enjoy other people’s talents and mix it up with them. Right now there’s just a lot of creative things happening in a lot of different directions, and this, to me, is a jewel that came my way and was presented to me at a perfect time when I am well-schooled and experienced enough to do this part, and I’m really glad because I’m thrown into this piece with an incredible collection of artists, and this cast is staggeringly talented, and everybody involved is amazing. So I hope it culminates into something that really touches people and gives them a little bit of hope. It’s all just creation to me. To me, it’s creation. It’s expanding in every direction, but it’s just still creation. It’s still what do you want to do with this moment or how is this scene going to play out. Do you have an idea? What do you want to do? What do I want to do? It’s just creating.”

Jim Carrey on his first TV show, The Duck Factory:

Catherine Keener as Deirdre and Jim Carrey as Jeff (AKA Mr. Pickles) in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 04, “Bye Mom”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME –

“We are canceled? What? I mean, my memories of The Duck Factory, I was here for a year in town, and I got a television show, and it was just, like, incredible. He was a very innocent character as well. He came from Duluth, Minnesota, and he was kind of green behind the ears and stuff. They had no idea what I did before I did that part. So they had all 13 episodes had been written already. So there was no tailoring going on whatsoever to my character in that. It’s hard to compare experiences. They just all are their own thing, and to me, it’s, like, every day I start over again. So I don’t feel like a professional except that I can do stuff. I know what I’m doing, but I’ve never lost that feeling of showing up and going, ‘I just started in the business. Like, how am I going to approach this? What’s the experiment going to be this time?’”

Jim Carrey on the puppets of Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time:

Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 02, “Pusillanimous”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME – Photo: KIDDING_102_7225.dng

“We’ve all been very creative as far as the creation of the puppets and things like that are concerned. Oops was an idea that came to me when I was thinking how am I going to  how could I personify on this show, some kind of character that gives people the excuse to be flawed, you know. How would he give children an excuse to make mistakes? And my idea was that the Oops shows up in everyone’s life. So we’ve had this wonderful creative process developing the puppets together. We have the most unbelievable puppet team, just incredible people, and it really is that type of children’s show vibe on the set when we get working with the puppeteers because they just bring with them this beautiful  I don’t know  appreciation of that simplistic, simple communication with children. There’s a vibe about these people. They are willing to do anything. It’s all fun to them. They want to jump in and be creative, and so it’s just such a wonderful feeling to go from super serious, whatever, to go be surrounded by a bunch of people that create these illusions for a living. They are lovely people. I don’t know if that answers your question, but I’m making sound, and that’s the important thing.”

Jim Carrey on convincing people he could do more than one thing:

Judy Greer as Jill and Jim Carrey as Jeff Pickles in KIDDING (Season 1, Episode 02, “Pusillanimous”). – Photo: Erica Parise/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: KIDDING_102_651.dng

“You always have to talk everybody and yourself into the next step, whatever it is. I mean, it’s just, you know, human beings, when something works, their instinct is to grab onto it and don’t change a thing and stay with it as long as you can. I’ve never felt comfortable with that.”

Jim Carrey on the appeal of Kidding:

“I think the idea of identity, the search for identity, what it is, who we are, what’s an authentic person is a theme that’s always been attractive to me, and I think that there are  there’s definitely something in this piece that calls me as far as the idea of being hit by a freight train in life and trying to hang on to the idea of yourself that you had before it happened that’s really attractive. That’s an incredible concept to me.”

Jim Carrey on Jeff Pickles’ struggles:

“They’ve created an identity through this show, so that’s the family identity. The fact is, any changes freak people out when they’ve got something successful that they’ve been doing. There’s a change in the makeup, somehow the chemistry of the show. First of all, what happens is so challenging that I would think that everyone would assume that there will be a nervous breakdown. And it might not even be that. It might be them who is having a nervous breakdown. That’s the wonderful thing about this show. I think we’re going to be on a journey to find out that everyone is going through the same change and they’re being forced to by circumstances.”

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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