Let’s get this out of the way. Jim Carrey is one of the best physical comedians. Ever. He’s also an underrated dramatic actor. He’s got incredible skills and can hit a levels of performance most can only dream of. He reached the mountain twenty years ago. This post is not about his talent.
If you’ve been watching the first few episodes of this season’s Saturday Night Live, his impersonation of former Vice President Joe Biden has been off. So much that people are calling for the show to bring back Jason Sudeikis and Woody Harrelson to carry us the rest of the way, and potentially for the next 4-8 years.
This is because he hasn’t been funny. Here’s why.
He was teased to us: This removed the element of surprise. We knew he was coming. It would have been nice to have turned on the TV and just have him show up on the season premiere. We would have been watching anyways after being SNL starved for months and there would have been excitement.
It’s too much Fire Marshall Bill: Carrey’s performance is so epic that he can’t help but spill into other areas of physical comedy. That means he’s getting away from actually playing Joe Biden and that’s a problem. Tina Fey is hilarious on her own, but when she was Sarah Palin, we always knew we were watching an impersonation of the former Governor of Alaska.
Writing at SNL has been down this season across the board: We know Maya Rudolph can be funny as Kamala Harris. But she hasn’t been. This is because these powerhouse actors have nothing funny to say. That Biden-fly at the Pence debate was just weird. This is a problem that needs to get fixed, not just for Carrey but for the good of the entire show.
Safety measures have hurt the experience: This is another show run problem. The laughs are off. The crowd doesn’t seem comfortable and the chemistry isn’t working. We’re missing that authentic “pop” from an audience when a star is on top of their game.
We’re also just getting pickier: We’ve found something to get angry about with every episode of SNL this season. We didn’t get enough Kate McKinnon in the first episode. Bill Burr got the wimps up in arms last week. And now, we’re taking out our frustrations on Carrey, despite Issa Rae and Justin Bieber putting on a pretty decent show last night. We’re also part of the problem.