Eric Gagne as an Allegory for the Death of Mid-90’s Comedy

Justin October 14, 2008 4

Why does Jim Carrey hate America?

The nation is currently at a crossroads, both Politically and Economically. People are terrified that their life savings will vanish into thin air, as banks collapse and mortgages go unpaid.

Yet, in the face of these troubled times, former comedian Jim Carrey has decided to unleash “The Yes Man” upon the country and the world, and he wants you to shell out ten dollars to see it.

Have you seen the trailer? The film follows Carrey, an apparently unscrupulous business type who says “NO’ all the time.  Then, as the result of some magical interlude, he becomes unable to answer any question negatively. Hence, his transformation into a “YES” man. 

Hillarious! Except that it’s not, because Jim Carrey already did this movie like ten years ago, when it was called “Liar Liar”.   Even the individual jokes in this new yak-fest are old. He gets a spam email asking whether he wants to enlarge his penis. Now, you or I would immediately delete that message. But hilarious Jim Carrey can’t. Would you like to know why? BECAUSE HE IS UNABLE TO SAY NO! Acute mental trauma is a laugh riot!

Jim Carrey has become the Hollywood equivalent of fellow Canadian Eric Gagne.  Both are depending on the same tools they used five years ago. And in both cases, the audience has long since figured out what to do about those tools.

Gagne was a phenomenon with the Dodgers, when he combined an electric fastball with an amazing curve, and won the Cy Young Award. Now, blame steroids or injuries or the Santa Ana winds, but for some reason, that fastball is no longer electric and  that curve ball is no longer amazing. Yet, Gagne sticks with both. As a result, he has become a middling late inning reliever who can’t be counted on in the clutch.

Jim Carrey was once the most powerful actor in Hollywood. He rode that success to millions and millions of dollars. But the face of American comedy has changed. It’s become a bit more subtle, and has a slightly harder edge. And yet, here comes Jim Carrey out of the box office bullpen, trying to sell us on the same jokes that made us laugh a decade ago. It won’t work.


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