What I Learned from Jim Carrey




In anticipation of his Comedy Knowledge Drop, we asked writer/show runner/producer Brent Forrester to recount some lessons learned from working for over twenty years on some of television's most iconic programs, including The Simpsons, The Office, King of The Hill, Late Night With Conan O' Brien, and more. 

Brent Forrester: I once spent two weeks alone in the Ritz Carlton in New York with Jim Carrey, working on the script for “Liar, Liar.” There was no reason for us to be working in New York. We both lived in L.A., but Jim was so powerful at the time, he just called Universal and said “I want to do this rewrite at the Ritz!” and they immediately booked us a penthouse suite in Manhattan. The Mask and Ace Ventura had just come out, and Jim was at the height of his comic powers, but so famous that he found it unpleasant to walk the streets, where he’d mobbed by crazed fans and people asking him for money. He preferred to sit around the Ritz, endlessly brainstorming comedy bits that he could use on Letterman and SNL. It was mostly my job simply to write these bits down, and this put me directly in the path of Jim’s volcanic fire hose of creativity. I have never experienced anything like the sheer volume of his original creative output, and the contact with his energy so adrenalized me that I couldn’t sleep for two days. I remember asking Jim at one point where this creative energy was coming from and he said: “Sometimes it’s okay to just put things out in the universe.” I was puzzled and he went on: “Even if you just stand on the corner going ‘boing, boing,’ eventually people are going to say, ‘let’s go see the boing-boing man.’” It was a mysterious teaching! But what I felt him trying to express was a philosophy of pure creativity, without self-criticism; a faith that simply generating material energetically, without the burden of self-doubt, would inevitably result in useable material. Jim showed me that creative energy can be like a magic Genie. Unselfconsciousness unlocks it. Self-criticism puts it back in
the bottle.

Join us at Dynasty Typewriter on Sunday May 20th where Brent will be sharing more stories and tips from his time behind the frontlines of comedy. Tickets available here