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1962: Funny man Jim Carrey born in Newmarket, Ont.

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When Jim Carrey landed his first gig at the Hay Loft club in Scarborough, Ont., he was paid just $20. Some 20 years later, Carrey would become a major film star and would command an average of $20 million US per film. In this CBC Radio interview, a 20-year-old Carrey discusses working the comedy club circuit in Toronto and he performs from his repertoire of 105 impressions. On this day in history, Jan. 17, 1962, James Eugene Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ont.
• James Eugene Carrey is the youngest of Percy and Kathleen Carrey's four children.

• Carrey routinely made his classmates roar with laughter with jokes and impressions. In third grade, the young jokester portrayed Santa dance during a Christmas pageant and did a silly, funny, enthusiastic dance. "I just remember seeing Sister Marie-Jean in her habit on her hands and knees pounding on the floor," he told the Globe and Mail. "And then she got up afterward and said, 'Jim wants to be a comedian when he grows up.' And that was it." (July 27, 1990)

• After Grade 9, Carrey dropped out of school when his father, an accountant, lost his job. The Carreys, including Jim, went to work at the Titan Wheels Factory as security guards and janitors. For a while, they lived in their Volkswagen camper. Later, they slept in a tent.

• At 15, Carrey landed his first gig as a ventriloquist at Yuk Yuks Comedy Club in Toronto and was booed off the stage. At 17, he returned to the stage with a stand-up act and was a hit with his celebrity impressions.

• In 1983, Carrey starred in Introducing Janet, also known as Rubberface. Carrey portrayed struggling comic Tony Moroni who develops a friendship with a chubby, young girl.

• Carrey moved Los Angeles and started acting lessons. He landed small television and film roles while honing his comedy act. In 1990, he joined the ensemble sketch-comedy show In Living Color and created off-beat, enduring characters. In 1994, Carrey starred in Ace Venutra: Pet Detective which was universally panned by critics but beloved by audiences.

• Carrey followed up with The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever, The Truman Show and more. In February 2004, Carrey appeared on the Conan O'Brien show filmed in Toronto and led the audience singing Ontari-ari-ari-o.

• Carrey is twice divorced and has one daughter, Jane.
Medium: Radio
Program: Don Harron's Morningside
Broadcast Date: March 17, 1982
Guest: Jim Carrey
Host: Don Harron
Duration: 8:52
Photo: CBC Design Library

Last updated: October 23, 2014

Page consulted on October 23, 2014

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