After Jim Carrey supposedly closed the book on acting last year, a lot of people have found themselves revisiting some of his storied career’s biggest moments. One moment that stands out is the time when 18-year-old Jim Carrey auditioned for Saturday Night Live (SNL) back in 1980. While he was ultimately unsuccessful, the resurfaced tape shows that his comedic talent was apparent from the very beginning.
The long list of stars created by SNL is perhaps only rivalled by the stars they have rejected prior to their big breaks. Louis CK… Stephen Colbert… Cameron Diaz… Donald Glover… and even Kevin Hart are just some of the notable names turned away.
Jim Carrey first auditioned for a spot in the SNL cast ahead of the show’s sixth season; the executives eventually chose Charles Rocket in his place. The star of Dumb & Dumber renown would later try again ahead of the eleventh season to no avail.
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Despite this, Jim Carrey doesn’t seem at all bitter about how things turned out. Once he came to terms with the fact he wasn’t meant to work at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Carrey went on to star in the FOX sketch comedy series In Living Color.
The subsequent success that followed has seen him host SNL on three separate occasions, make brief appearances in seven other episodes, and even be the subject of impersonation by other people on the show twice.
It’s interesting to note that in the same year Jim Carrey was rejected from SNL, Eddie Murphy was welcomed into the cast. Yes. The show had an opportunity to capitalise on the talents of both Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy for pre-fame rates. Every. Single. Week. Instead, it produced what is widely acknowledged to be some of the worst seasons from its prolific 48-year run.
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SNL producer Lorne Michaels has stated many times over the years that he wasn’t present for Jim Carrey’s audition and would’ve hired him if present.
“We have all the audition tapes,” Lorne Michaels revealed in the book Live From New York: The Complete, Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live.
“Carrey, I think, auditioned for Al Franken the year I was executive producer and Tom Davis and Al were the producers along with Jim Downey.”
“In ’85 when Brandon got me to come back, his whole argument was I had to learn how to delegate. Dick had run it successfully that way, and so Tom, Al, and Jim did their stuff and I sort of approved things. But later that season, when Brandon was again thinking about cancelling the show, he told me: ‘You have to completely take charge of everything again.’”
What could’ve been, eh?
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