From ‘Camping’ to ‘Kidding’: How Star Power Attracts Ensemble TV Casts

Call it peak tv, another golden age of television, or even the evolution of home entertainment. Whatever the favored term, marquee stars from Julia Roberts to Jennifer Garner to Jim Carrey are the center of small-screen casts in contention for SAG’s co…

Call it peak tv, another golden age of television, or even the evolution of home entertainment. Whatever the favored term, marquee stars from Julia Roberts to Jennifer Garner to Jim Carrey are the center of small-screen casts in contention for SAG’s coveted ensemble awards. Creating television series ensembles around A-list talent often sets an immediate […]

Jim Carrey “Would Love” To See Kamala Harris & Beto O’Rourke Win The Presidential Race

Jim Carrey is using his artistry and political platform on Twitter to not only alert people to “the demon that’s controlling us” he said at Vulture Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday, but also he wants people to know he “would lo…

Jim Carrey is using his artistry and political platform on Twitter to not only alert people to “the demon that’s controlling us” he said at Vulture Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday, but also he wants people to know he “would love” to see Beto O’Rourke and Kamala Harris in the presidential race, although he has no issues with Hilary Clinton. “I don't think she would be a bad president,” said the star ShowtimeKidding. “I believe she knows what she's doing, but the fact…

Could ‘Kidding’ Season 2 Open 30 Years Earlier? The Jim Carrey/Michel Gondry Series Is Pure Freedom

Gondry, star Catherine Keener, and creator David Holstein celebrate how the Showtime series has allowed experimentation on a whole new level.

Showtime’s “Kiddinghas been renewed for a second season, and according to creator David Holstein, literally anything could happen when it returns.

“I think there’s something about not having rules and about having freedom,” Holstein said to IndieWire before the show’s premiere in September. “For better or for worse, the ability to be able to do that is where I come from. I come from rooms that want to not lull you into a sense of repetition. I have no problem opening Season 2 thirty years earlier and seeing what happens.”

The dark comedy, which marks the return of Jim Carrey to television, spotlights the grieving of childrens’ TV show host Jeff Pickles (Carrey), which takes on a surreal edge thanks to Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”), who directed six of the 10 episodes and oversaw the show’s visual design.

“There is this picture on the show that is constant, but in his private life, he evolves,” Gondry said to IndieWire about how he approached Jeff as a character. “Little by little he cracks open and you see the sadness and madness. It’s a sort of chaos due to his position of wisdom, his working for young children, and his real life where this wisdom doesn’t apply at all. So that’s how I define him.”

Jim Carrey in "Kidding."

Jim Carrey in “Kidding.”

Showtime

The hiring of Gondry followed the hiring of Carrey, according to Holstein, who wrote the script with the “Truman Show” star in mind. “When Jim read it, Jim was like, you know who would be perfect for this? It’s Michel. And if Michel says yes, I’m doing it. And then Michel said yes, so yeah,” he said.

That choice of director, Holstein felt, gave him and the writers “license to be as fucking weird as we wanted to be. You’re sitting in a room full of writers, you’ve got Showtime giving you a ton of support, you’ve got this cast, and you’ve got Michel directing it. I said look, we’ve got ten half-hour episodes, we are going to swing for the fences or burn this place to the ground. There’s no in-between. Having Michel around allows you to just do stuff that’s off the grid. It really inspired us to craft some shots, some stories that we wouldn’t normally get to do, but we felt that we have everyone behind us on this.”

Under Gondry’s guidance, the blur between reality and fiction has been intense, with extremely complicated long takes and surreal puppet moments enhancing the show’s depiction of Jeff Pickles’ strange existence. But if Gondry hadn’t come on board, Holstein said, “I think we would have had the same ambition, the same desire to try to be different in a landscape of 500 shows, I think we would have still tried to be our weird selves. There are a lot of very smart weird people on the show that weren’t Michel that all had an axe to grind.”

But that said, Gondry still enabled a whole other level of strange. “What I said to Michel the first day was, ‘Look, are there ever been commercial ideas you’ve had, or video ideas you had, that the executives wouldn’t let you get away with, that you’ve always wanted to do? Because that’s where I start. Keep that in mind as we go through that we can get away with anything we want right now, and let’s try it.'”

Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry at the "Kidding" premiere.

Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry at the “Kidding” premiere.

Michael Buckner/SHOWTIME

“I was surprised at the producer executive for the studio,” Gondry said to IndieWire. “He really let us work, with very few notes… I mean, the subject is really sort of original or if not bizarre. The fact that they went for this subject in itself, we got away with that, I think.”

Gondry said that his motivation in trying new things wasn’t simply for the sake of being unique — and his real focus was to “just make a portrait” of his characters, the good and the bad alike. “I try, in what I do, to be myself. So for instance, most of the time when I do film, I put the camera at the same level as the character. I don’t try to put it so that the character feels superior or put the camera here so the character feels inferior. I like to think like a person, like if they were my cousin. I always think of that way. I think it’s very basic, but I think it’s trying to shoot with a certain kindness.”

“Michel is hands-on in that he knows what he doesn’t like and he knows what he likes,” co-star Catherine Keener (who plays puppet designer Deirdre) said of their collaboration. “I think he’s got a pretty wide girth, he’s sort of accepting of whatever the riff is. He just sees it then which I love in a director. I love, love, love.”

“He encourages [surprises],” Keener said. “He’s very receptive. He’s just cool.”

This meant that Keener would show up on set and not know “how every beat was going to play,” which she valued, because “my experience working with directors, I like that room for… I mean, I ask a lot of questions, I can bug the shit out of people. But I can’t help it, it’s just questions, questions. I’ll go way, way in the middle of something. And I don’t know, they put up with me. They really did in a nice way.”

Catherine Keener in "Kidding."

Catherine Keener in “Kidding.”

Showtime

Also helping enable those surprises was Holstein’s nine-year history with the network, having worked on shows including “Weeds” and “I’m Dying Up Here.” “They’re going along with my brand of insanity. I’ve always been the writer on a staff who says ‘let’s try something crazy,'” he said. “I think they knew, when they were to give me the reins, that I was gonna try some stuff.”

Holstein said without hesitation that he and the team got away with everything they wanted to do, which he credited in part to the cast. “There’s a lot of faith in them. The best networks I’ve worked for give the show a platform for everyone there to do their best creative work,” he said. “And when you have people that are that established, like Jim, and Catherine, and all the Oscar nominations in the air — when all that’s floating around, I think there’s a lot more trust to just let us be who we are.”

When being interviewed by IndieWire, “Kidding” had yet to receive a second season renewal, but Holstein said that he knew how the show ends. “I’m not going to lie and say that I know Season 2, 3, and 4, but I know the movements of the character. I know where they have to arc through to get to the end, and I know how to work backwards from that ending,” he said.

In general, his primary goal is to keep engaged. “I think if you’re not excited to sit down and write it, no one’s going to like watching it,” he said. “You can get bored by just trying to follow the same thing over and over again.”

Kidding Catherine Keener Jim Carrey Showtime

Catherine Keener and Jim Carrey in “Kidding”

Erica Parise / Showtime

The point, Holstein said, is never “to be weird for weird’s sake. We never just want to be, ‘here’s a crazy Michel Gondry shot for the sake of it.’ So to me it was about establishing an emotional foundation in the pilot, a clear emotional want for the character, so that by the end of the season it’s not style before substance. I think it’s an easy path to go down when you have someone like Michel around — ‘let’s think about the crazy shot first, or let’s work backwards from the weird. When you try to work forward from character, they find the weird.”

Added Holstein, “It’s crazy that they put me in charge. It’s nuts. But it’s great.”

Production on “Kidding” had wrapped before the show’s premiere, which Holstein appreciated because it meant that no matter what, “we did this incredibly ambitious thing and if it becomes one of those shows that no one watches and everyone hates, you wrapped. You did that thing, you made it through with these great actors,” he said.

“Our last two days, we were shooting at the Honda Center, we shot an icecapade — an icecapade directed by Michel Gondry. No other show has that. And that alone makes me happy that we even did that, so I’m just living in that euphoria right now of, we fucking did it. They said we couldn’t do it, and we went to the Honda Center and we shot an icecapade, and there was an eight foot baguette with eyes and a frown, and he’s singing. That’s our life right now.”

Showtime Renews Jim Carrey Comedy ‘Kidding’ for Second Season

Showtime has renewed the Jim Carrey comedy “Kidding” for a second season. The series has drawn strong reviews since its debut on Sept. 9. Carrey plays a famed children’s show host facing a mid-life crisis. Dave Holstein created the se…

Showtime has renewed the Jim Carrey comedy “Kidding” for a second season. The series has drawn strong reviews since its debut on Sept. 9. Carrey plays a famed children’s show host facing a mid-life crisis. Dave Holstein created the series and is exec producer and showrunner with Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Roberto Benabib, Raffi Adlan, Jason Bateman and […]

Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Renewed for Season 2 at Showtime

Showtime has renewed Jim Carrey’s comedy, “Kidding” for a second season.

“Kidding” was created and executive produced by Dave Holstein, who wrote multiple episodes and serves as showrunner.

The series follows Carrey as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, a beloved children’s entertainer who sees his own life upended as his personal relationships begin to implode. The series, which also stars Catherine Keener, Judy Greer and Frank Langella, reunites Carrey with Michel Gondry, who directed Carrey in 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Also Read: Naomi Watts to Play Gretchen Carlson in Showtime’s Roger Ailes Drama

“‘Kidding’ has established itself as one of the most endearing and inventive shows on television,” said Showtime programming president Gary Levine. “I feel like I have been watching Mr. Pickles my whole life, and I look forward to being entranced by his unique blend of hilarity and heartbreak in season two.”

Gondry is an executive producer on the show and directed several episodes, including the premiere. Other executive producers include Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Roberto Benabib, Raffi Adlan, Jason Bateman and Jim GaraventeCarrey and Aguilar also served as executive producers Showtime’s stand-up comedy period drama “I’m Dying Up Here,” which Showtime recently announced would not return for a third season.

The series marked Carrey’s return to television as a series star 24 years after appearing on “In Living Color.” “Kidding” will air its season finale on Nov. 11.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jim Carrey on His Mr Pickles Hair in ‘Kidding’: ‘Like an Arrested Development-Type Situation’

Why Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Is the Anti-‘Breaking Bad’

‘Kidding’: Jim Carrey Goes Off the Deep End in New Showtime Series Trailer (Video)

Showtime has renewed Jim Carrey’s comedy, “Kidding” for a second season.

“Kidding” was created and executive produced by Dave Holstein, who wrote multiple episodes and serves as showrunner.

The series follows Carrey as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, a beloved children’s entertainer who sees his own life upended as his personal relationships begin to implode. The series, which also stars Catherine Keener, Judy Greer and Frank Langella, reunites Carrey with Michel Gondry, who directed Carrey in 2004’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

“‘Kidding’ has established itself as one of the most endearing and inventive shows on television,” said Showtime programming president Gary Levine. “I feel like I have been watching Mr. Pickles my whole life, and I look forward to being entranced by his unique blend of hilarity and heartbreak in season two.”

Gondry is an executive producer on the show and directed several episodes, including the premiere. Other executive producers include Carrey, Michael Aguilar, Roberto Benabib, Raffi Adlan, Jason Bateman and Jim GaraventeCarrey and Aguilar also served as executive producers Showtime’s stand-up comedy period drama “I’m Dying Up Here,” which Showtime recently announced would not return for a third season.

The series marked Carrey’s return to television as a series star 24 years after appearing on “In Living Color.” “Kidding” will air its season finale on Nov. 11.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jim Carrey on His Mr Pickles Hair in 'Kidding': 'Like an Arrested Development-Type Situation'

Why Jim Carrey's 'Kidding' Is the Anti-'Breaking Bad'

'Kidding': Jim Carrey Goes Off the Deep End in New Showtime Series Trailer (Video)

Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Coming Back For Second Season On Showtime

It’s no joke and not much of a surprise, but Kidding is bringing its dark and puppeted humor for a second season on Showtime.
“Kidding has established itself as one of the most endearing and inventive shows on television,” declared the premium cabler’s…

It's no joke and not much of a surprise, but Kidding is bringing its dark and puppeted humor for a second season on Showtime. "Kidding has established itself as one of the most endearing and inventive shows on television," declared the premium cabler's President of Programming, Gary Levine today of the Jim Carrey and Catherine Keener led series about a children's show host going through an emotional trauma. "I feel like I have been watching Mr. Pickles my whole life, and…

‘Kidding’: The Secret Behind a One-Take ‘Michel Gondry’ Scene on Jim Carrey’s Showtime Series

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of how it looked on camera, vs. what it took to choreograph the scene.

Even when “Kidding” executive producer Michel Gondry isn’t directing an episode of Jim Carrey’s new Showtime show, the auteur’s presence can be felt. Case in point: Last Sunday’s episode, which featured a long, complicated scene shot in one take.

In the scene, guest star Riki Lindhome plays Shaina, a woman who’s inspired to turn her life around after watching an episode of “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time,” the kids’ show hosted by Carrey’s character. In one take, viewers see Lindhome’s world evolve as she renovates her apartment, starts exercising, invites friends over and celebrates her new life.

Behind the scenes, the “Kidding” crew physically transformed the set multiple times in real time. In this exclusive clip, the network gives a side-by-side comparison to how the scene looked on camera, vs. the hairy moments behind the camera as Lindhome and the show’s crew managed to pull it off. Watch below:

“We spent an entire Saturday choreographing [this] one shot,” said creator and executive producer David Holstein. “We brought it down from three minutes to a minute and 42 seconds. It involved 50 crew members, a special built set with walls that flipped, and it’s just this continuous shot of a woman over five years going from drug addict to better person.”

Episode director Jake Schreier said Holstein had been inspired to write something in every episode that was “very Gondry-esque,” and that Gondry had the idea of shooting this scene in a single take.

“I grew up watching his music videos,” Schreier said. “So I knew what he was going for. We were designing a Gondry homage as a time lapse.”

It helped, Schreier said, that he had access to so many of Gondry’s frequent collaborators, including director of photography Shawn Kim and production designer Maxwell Orgell.

“Everyone was pulling this together over the course of two weeks,” Schreier said. “It’s the kind of think you don’t usually have time on TV to do. It was like designing choreography, all building to one performance.”

Schreier said he was particularly impressed with Lindhome, whose performance was key to making sure the camera was ready to pan over.

“Look at how confident she is, she’s calling out that she’s ready way before she’s dressed,” he said. “It’s one of those shots that require so much work from so many people. When you pull it off everyone feel like they’re a part of it. Jim was no even in the scene and he came by.”

“I just don’t know what other show, what other comedy where you’d be allowed to do that, and spend the time doing it, and the nuance doing it, and the support. The best version of that is going to be so cool, but I think having Michel around let’s us get away with it.”

“Kidding” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. Liz Shannon Miller contributed to this report.

Jim Carrey Engineered Two ‘In Living Color’ Reunions On His New Showtime Series ‘Kidding’

Fans of the 1990s Fox sketch comedy series may have seen a few familiar names guest starring opposite Carrey on his new show.

You can do what you wanna do, in living Carrey. The first two episodes of Showtime’s new series “Kidding” have also served as a bit of an unexpected “In Living Color” reunion for star Jim Carrey. Among the guests in those episodes: Kelly Coffield Park and T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, both of whom starred alongside Carrey in the iconic early 1990s Fox sketch comedy series.

In “Kidding,” Carrey plays Jeff Piccirillo, who has played PBS kids TV host “Jeff Pickles” for 30 years — but is now struggling to cope with the death of his son and the end of his marriage. In the show’s first two episodes, Coffield Park played Joanne, a Realtor who’s selling the house next door to Jeff’s estranged wife and son. And after Jeff, in an impulse, shaves part of his head, Keymáh appears in Episode 2 as Amika, a hair stylist who fixes his look.

Kelly Coffield Park, “Kidding”

Showtime

“Kidding” casting director Amber Wakefield credited Carrey with reaching out to cast his “In Living Color” pals.

“This was a great opportunity for audiences to see him reunited with these exceptional talents,” she said. “Jim suggested finding a role for Kelly Coffield Park in the show, and at the time we were casting the role of the realtor ‘Joanne.’ The role required an upbeat, vivid energy — which was a great fit for Ms. Park. He also suggested T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh specifically for the role of ‘Amika’ the hairdresser, who fits ‘Jeff Pickles’ with a hairpiece after he shaves a stripe down his head. Ms. Keymáh was able to carve time out of her schedule to come do this cameo.”

Jim Carrey and T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, “Kidding”

Showtime

“In Living Color” was a pop cultural phenomenon when the show, created by Keenan Ivory Wayans, first debuted on Fox in 1990. It turned several of its cast members into stars — including several Wayans family members, David Alan Grier, and Carrey, who quickly moved into movie superstardom. Keymáh (who later starred on “Cosby” and “That’s So Raven”) and Carrey (then billed as “James Carrey”) appeared throughout “In Living Color’s” five season, 127-episode run, while Coffield Park was on the show for its first four seasons.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by E.J. Camp/Fox-TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5879337i) Kim Coles, Jim Carrey, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Tommy Davidson, T'Keyah Crystal, Kelly Coffield, Kim Wayans, Damon Wayans, David Alan Grier In Living Color - 1990-1994 Fox-TV Television In Living Colour

“In Living Color”

E.J. Camp/Fox-TV/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Carrey isn’t the only “In Living Color” alum Coffield Park and Keymáh have reunited with in recent years. Coffield Park appeared last season on Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” series, which stars Damon Wayans. She also appeared on several episodes of Wayans’ mid-2000s sitcom “My Wife and Kids,” which also featured a guest stint from Keymáh. Two snaps up!

“Kidding” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

‘Shameless’ Ratings Slip in Season 9 Premiere, ‘Kidding’ Gets Solid Start in Showtime Debut

The Season 9 premiere of “Shameless” saw Showtime’s most-watched show take a hit in the linear ratings on Sunday night. Airing at 9 p.m., “Shameless” drew 1.3 million viewers in its initial airing, off approximately 30% fr…

The Season 9 premiere of “Shameless” saw Showtime’s most-watched show take a hit in the linear ratings on Sunday night. Airing at 9 p.m., “Shameless” drew 1.3 million viewers in its initial airing, off approximately 30% from the Season 8 premiere. However, when adding in replays that aired Sunday night as well as streaming and […]

‘Shameless’ Ratings Slip In Season 9 Premiere, Still Potent; ‘Kidding’ Debut OK

Showtime’s flagship series Shameless opened its ninth season — and last with co-lead Emmy Rossum — on Sunday with 1.31 million viewers for its 9 PM premiere telecast. While that was down from the dramedy’s Season 8 debut (1.86 m…

Showtime’s flagship series Shameless opened its ninth season — and last with co-lead Emmy Rossum — on Sunday with 1.31 million viewers for its 9 PM premiere telecast. While that was down from the dramedy’s Season 8 debut (1.86 million), it was higher than its Season 7 opener (1.24 million) and than any other recent Showtime season/series premieres. The network used its biggest hit to launch its high-profile new dark comedy series Kidding, which marks Jim Carrey’s return…

‘Kidding’: Michel Gondry and Dave Holstein on Finding the ‘Scary’ Side of Mr. Rogers to Save Us From Antihero TV

Gondry, creator David Holstein, and Catherine Keener tell IndieWire about the legendary entertainer’s influence on Showtime’s new series.

For a show that can be described as a dark, screwy take on the legacy of Fred Rogers, “Kidding” makes a deliberate effort to escape the legacy of the man with infinite cardigans and good cheer.

“I certainly didn’t want Jim to approach the role thinking of Mr. Rogers like the original man,” director Michel Gondry said. “I really didn’t want that. It’s not the story of Mr. Rogers. It’s much more. I mean, I don’t know much about Mr. Rogers, but we tried to get away as much as possible.”

The inspiration is undeniable. Jim Carrey plays Jeff Piccirillo, aka “Mr. Pickles,” the host of a wildly popular children’s show who’s also dealing with the disintegration of his real life behind the scenes, a concept concocted by creator/showrunner David Holstein.

When he first began writing “Kidding” as a spec script, Holstein had just spent seven years writing for the Showtime comedy “Weeds,” which he thought was part of a larger conversation born of shows like “The Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” and more.

Kidding Jim Carrey Showtime

Jim Carrey in “Kidding”

Erica Parise / Showtime

“What was pushing me was the desire to find the next chapter in that story, and for me it was finding someone who didn’t want to break bad, but wanted to stay good, you know? I didn’t want to write a premium cable character who wanted to fuck hookers, do drugs, and kill people. I wanted to flip it and figure out,” he said. “Take someone who’s really really good, like a Mr. Rogers kind of character, and make the world around them that dark, edgy, premium cable kind of space, and watch them fight against it. Watch them struggle to remain good in sea of dark people.”

The direct connection to Mr. Rogers, Holstein said, came pretty quickly, but not necessarily because Mr. Rogers was an obviously sunny persona.

“I thought Mister Rogers was a really scary person because he never got angry,” he said. “So to me it was, how can someone over 30 years never get angry? And what would happen the first time they did? And to me that was where I wanted to start with this character. Let’s take someone who is legitimately kind, and good, and optimistic, and wants the world to be this beautiful place, doesn’t curse, doesn’t lie. What would be his breaking point?”

Mr. Pickles’ breaking point is the death of his son, which triggers a whole series of spiraling emotions not just for Jeff, but for his entire family. “And then what sort of came out of it when we began to expand it into a series was, times are kind of dark, truth is relative, and people just go on TV and they lie, and they’re mean, and they’re bullies. To me, it brought back this need, this demand for someone like Mr. Rogers, and to tell that story now was exciting,” Holstein said.

While the inspiration was clear, co-star Catherine Keener, who plays a puppeteer working on the Mr. Pickles show, said to IndieWire that comparisons to Mr. Rogers “never” came to mind. “I don’t know why. I never thought of it,” she said. “I don’t think we ever talked about it.”

Catherine Keener in "Kidding."

Catherine Keener in “Kidding.”

Showtime

This might in part be due to the influence of Showtime as a network, which Holstein said would often PUSH TKTK? for the edgiest possible version of this character and story. But for Gondry, the key to keeping Mr. Pickles separate from Mr. Rogers was simple: “Just thinking of [Carrey] took me away from Mr. Rogers,” he said.

It helps that Holstein wrote the role specifically for Carrey, without ever believing there was a real chance Carrey would agree to do it. “I was just this writer who decided to wake up one day and say, ‘I’m going to bring Jim Carrey back to television,’ and my agents were like, ‘You’re crazy.’ And they were totally right,” he said.

“But I had this weird obsession with ‘The Truman Show,’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ and I really wanted to create a part with Jim in mind. And what’s funny is that what then happens is reality sets in and everyone says, ‘Well, who can really play this role?’ Then you start to go down that road, and the beautiful irony of this project for me is, we went down that road. And nobody really fit the bill.”

That is, Holstein said, until “Jim read it, and then Jim wanted to do it. I mean it was the coolest moment of my life when I got pulled out of a room by Jim to say, ‘This is the script I’ve been waiting to read for years.’ Your heart just hits the floor and it bounces back up. I did a crazy thing, and it turned out better than I could have hoped for.”

“He evolves,” Gondry said. “So there is this picture on the show that is constant, but in his private life, he evolves. Little by little he… cracks open and you see the sadness and madness, but what would define him? I mean, it’s a sort of chaos due to his position of wisdom, his moral, working for young children, and his real life where this wisdom doesn’t apply at all. So that’s how I define him.”

Michel Gondry and David Holstein on the set of "Kidding."

Michel Gondry and David Holstein on the set of “Kidding.”

Showtime

There’s another factor in ensuring that Mr. Pickles avoids feeling too similar to Mr. Rogers: Holstein poached Joey Mazzarino, who was a writer and puppeteer for “Sesame Street” for years, to help create the world of “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time.”

“I said, ‘Joey, I don’t want to make fun of children’s television, it’s too easy. I don’t want to do a parody of ‘Sesame Street.’ I want to do a show that would legitimately have the language, and the characters, and the substance of a children’s show,'” Holstein said.

“And so he came in every day and built us a show within a show, that was a legit children’s show, that had a mythology, and had a language to it, and had rules, and things that you would have to keep us from taking the easy route of making it a satire or parody,” he said.

That might, ultimately, be the key. “The easy version of this show was making Mr. Rogers become Bad Santa. That’s an easy show to write, and we did not want to do that. We wanted Mr. Rogers to fight to stay Mr. Rogers — because that was the more emotional ask of the audience.”

“Kidding” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. For more on the opening episodes of “Kidding,” make sure to listen to this week’s Very Good TV Podcast with IndieWire TV Editor Liz Shannon Miller and TV Critic Ben Travers.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Very Good TV Podcast via Soundcloud or iTunes. Make sure to follow IndieWire on Twitter and Facebook for all your TV news. Plus, check out IndieWire’s other podcastsScreen Talk with Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson, the Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast with Chris O’Falt, as well as Michael Schneider’s podcast, Turn It On, which spotlights the most important TV each week.

Michel Gondry on flipping Jim Carrey inside out for Kidding

The first time Michel Gondry and Jim Carrey worked together, they wound up making one of the best films of the 21st century. (Some may go as far as saying that no other movie from the ’00s could touch it.) They stayed in contact in the years following …

The first time Michel Gondry and Jim Carrey worked together, they wound up making one of the best films of the 21st century. (Some may go as far as saying that no other movie from the ’00s could touch it.) They stayed in contact in the years following Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, ultimately re-teaming to…

Read more...

Here’s Why You Can Thank Jim Carrey’s Grade School Teacher for His Trump Art (Video)

Jim Carrey revealed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Thursday that he has been using his artistic talents to pick on people since well before Donald Trump rolled into the White House.

And the comedian certainly has a lot more affection for one of his earlier models than he does for POTUS.

“This whole thing has brought back my eight-year-old self. It’s been a gift from God,” Carrey told Jimmy Kimmel when he stopped by the late-night show to talk about his new Showtime series “Kidding” and, of course, his wildly popular caricatures of Trump.

Also Read: Jim Carrey Tackles the Colin Kaepernick-Nike Debate in New Artwork

Carrey said he has been drawing cartoons for a long time, starting off with some wild ones of his grade school teacher, Mrs. Jervadis.

“And she was a super, ultra-hip teacher,” Carrey said. “Like, literally, Grade Six — first of all, I was in the back of the class drawing pictures of her getting attacked, and missiled, and axes in her head, things like that… She took them all, she kind of scolded me but not really. And then once I got famous she sent them all back to me.”

Also Read: Steve Bannon: New Yorker’s Editor ‘Was Gutless When Confronted by the Howling Online Mob’

“She saved them because she KNEW what was going to happen in the world, Jimmy!” Carrey joked. “She knew, she knew. She saw the divine spark, Jimmy!”

Watch the clip above.

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Jim Carrey Tackles the Colin Kaepernick-Nike Debate in New Artwork

Jim Carrey Accuses Trump of ‘Inciting Civil Unrest’ in Latest Artwork

Jim Carrey Burns Trump at the Stake in New Artwork

Jim Carrey Hangs Trump High in Latest Artwork

Jim Carrey revealed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Thursday that he has been using his artistic talents to pick on people since well before Donald Trump rolled into the White House.

And the comedian certainly has a lot more affection for one of his earlier models than he does for POTUS.

“This whole thing has brought back my eight-year-old self. It’s been a gift from God,” Carrey told Jimmy Kimmel when he stopped by the late-night show to talk about his new Showtime series “Kidding” and, of course, his wildly popular caricatures of Trump.

Carrey said he has been drawing cartoons for a long time, starting off with some wild ones of his grade school teacher, Mrs. Jervadis.

“And she was a super, ultra-hip teacher,” Carrey said. “Like, literally, Grade Six — first of all, I was in the back of the class drawing pictures of her getting attacked, and missiled, and axes in her head, things like that… She took them all, she kind of scolded me but not really. And then once I got famous she sent them all back to me.”

“She saved them because she KNEW what was going to happen in the world, Jimmy!” Carrey joked. “She knew, she knew. She saw the divine spark, Jimmy!”

Watch the clip above.

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TV’s Death Obsession: ‘Sorry for Your Loss,’ ‘Kidding,’ ‘A Million Little Things’

Call it the “This Is Us” effect: New shows centering on characters dealing with loss and grief are in abundance this television season. When Dan Fogelman’s family drama debuted on NBC in Sept. 2016, it was rare for a series, let alone…

Call it the “This Is Us” effect: New shows centering on characters dealing with loss and grief are in abundance this television season. When Dan Fogelman’s family drama debuted on NBC in Sept. 2016, it was rare for a series, let alone one on a broadcast network, to follow characters whose journeys all centered on […]

Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Co-Stars Compare His Character to Mr. Rogers: He’s a ‘Vessel for Joy’

In the new Showtime series, “Kidding,” Jim Carrey stars as Jeff Pickles, a Fred Rogers-like children’s television show host clinging to his wholesome persona while his personal life implodes. “Jim Carrey, just being a vessel for joy, imbues…

In the new Showtime series, “Kidding,” Jim Carrey stars as Jeff Pickles, a Fred Rogers-like children’s television show host clinging to his wholesome persona while his personal life implodes. “Jim Carrey, just being a vessel for joy, imbues with certain nostalgia that’s reminiscent of Mr. Rogers,” show creator David Holstein told Variety on Wednesday night […]

TV News Roundup: Showtime Releases First Episode of Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Early Online

In today’s roundup, Showtime releases the first episode of the Jim Carrey comedy series “Kidding” for free online, and Alan Tudyk joins the DC Universe series “Doom Patrol.”  FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released the series pr…

In today’s roundup, Showtime releases the first episode of the Jim Carrey comedy series “Kidding” for free online, and Alan Tudyk joins the DC Universe series “Doom Patrol.”  FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released the series premiere of its new comedy “Kidding,” starring Jim Carrey, across multiple platforms. The series centers on Jeff (Carrey), a kind man […]

‘Kidding’ Review: Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry’s Showtime Series Is Inventive, Incisive, and Obsessed with Death

Jim Carrey’s alt-reality Mr. Rodgers is torn between eternal sunshine and eternal darkness in a perceptive series that can be more depressing than intended.

For all the reasons separating “Kidding” from “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” — and there are many — the two are inextricably linked by a pair of key creative entities… and their willingness to explore the value of deep, piercing, unbearable pain. Jim Carrey and director Michel Gondry’s latest collaboration focuses on the loss of a child, told primarily from the perspective of a man who values children more than most. That’s not far off from their Oscar-winning 2004 film’s look at a romantic’s frenzied pursuit of memories he’d chosen to erase; like all bad break-ups, it sure feels like pieces of Carrey’s lovelorn lead are dying off.

Stretching out that examination to series-length can prove taxing, but “Kidding” offers a lot of upside for those willing to listen. Carrey’s committed turn as Jeff Pickles, a children’s television host whose son recently died, is immediately convincing and endearing. Gondry crafts dueling universes in Jeff’s vivid TV playground and stark real-life existence, while series creator Dave Holstein delivers sharp commentary on corrupted innocence and toxic cynicism. The half-hour non-comedy is fixated on death enough to make even the most morbid fan uncomfortable, but through four episodes, it shows signs of a lighter, broader scope and is buoyed by unrelenting optimism.

“Kidding” opens on the set of “Conan,” with the TBS host himself being prepped to interview Mr. Pickles. Through a concise bit of exposition, it’s clear Jeff’s character is a beloved public figure and has been for a long time. He takes the stage, answers a quick question, and then pulls out Uku-Larry, a ukulele with eyes and arms that Jeff uses to play a song the entire audience (and fellow guest Danny Trejo) knows by heart.

Kidding Season 1 Catherine Keener Showtime

Catherine Keener in “Kidding”

Erica Parise / Showtime

Though this isn’t his own show, it’s clear “Conan’s” TV world isn’t far removed from Jeff’s idealized version of life. The lights are bright, the people are polite, and everything is relatively clean. All it takes to unite the masses is a funny puppet singing a song. But Jeff’s reality is far removed from Mr. Pickles’, no matter how hard he tries to blend the two together.

Walking into his apartment complex, Jeff sees a homeless man asleep with green beer bottles nestled around him and once inside, he bumps into his drunk neighbor with the same 40s taped to her hands. Jeff sits inside, alone, and the cast shadows on his face signify the contrast between the world he wants and the world he lives in; Gondry’s lighting paints everything with a dark, insipid green, as if the people drinking aren’t the only ones sick from too much booze.

The aesthetic applies outside of Jeff’s perspective as well. His estranged wife, Jill (Judy Greer, finally given a role worthy of her talents), is much more than a mourning mom in the corner; she’s bearing the brunt of their other son’s wrath, trying to move forward by acknowledging her loss, and pushing herself in adventurous new directions Jeff wouldn’t dream of pursuing.

Jill could still be fleshed out a bit more when she’s on her own, but there’s promise there, and the same can be said for Catherine Keener’s Deirdre. As the lead puppeteer and puppet maker on “Mr. Pickles Puppet Time,” Deirdre isn’t only concerned with her co-worker: She’s got her own kid to worry about, her own budding career to work on, and her own muddled marriage to clear up.

Kidding Season 1 Frank Langella

Frank Langella in “Kidding”

Erica Parise / Showtime

There are more issues of legacy and pain to be mined from the supporting cast (including Frank Langella’s boss figure, who’s often treated as a business-minded businessman who only does business), but there’s also a whole lot of pain being dealt with already. Jeff wants to acknowledge his son’s death through the show — “I want to do a show about death,” he tells his producer, which goes over about as well as you can imagine — but he refuses to consider the obvious downside of losing his son. Part of him continues forward as if nothing has changed while the other part convinces himself something good must come out of all this.

“Kidding” aspires to honor the difficult emotions associated with loss while balancing out its story with a positive attitude. Jeff’s belief in human nature isn’t a joke; his sincerity is treated with genuine respect and it’s often seen as the solution instead of the problem. After the worst happens, how he can continue living his trademarked inspiring lifestyle without losing his marbles is an intriguing challenge for anyone who wants to move past cynicism as the accepted cultural discourse: If Jeff can’t do it, what hope do we mortals have?

As Jeff, Carrey is terrific. Outbursts of his big, boisterous self — the version originating in “Ace Ventura” and “Liar Liar” — are kept to a minimum; a useful tool to exhibit how much Jeff is is repressing. But Carrey finds more nuanced ways to convey his disrupted serenity. Disappointment and worry flash across his face like cars on a race track — just when you think they’re gone, they zip by again until the blur becomes permanent. Carrey has always been able to evoke melancholy when called for, and heaps of it are demanded here. What’s more impressive is how convincing he remains when earnestly advising his audience or standing up to his producer.

Dave Holstein’s don’t-call-it-a-comedy isn’t “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” For one, Gondry doesn’t direct the whole season, and for another, it’s yet to be proven this kind of sustained grieving can consistently find meaning in the misery while progressing toward a discernible goal. (It takes “Kidding” a few episodes to solidify a real-world problem to overcome instead of emotional issues best sorted out in therapy.) “Eternal Sunshine” conveyed its message in less than two hours. “Kidding” is trying to do it in five, at least twice over. Near the end of the pilot, Jeff’s producer tells him, “You don’t force the audience to have a conversation they don’t want to have.” It’s as close as the series gets to a motto, and whether an audience shows up to hear Jim Carrey talk to kids about death every week will be an interesting test of his star power. But for now, Mr. Pickles is the adult Mr. Rogers viewers need.

Grade: B+

“Kidding” premieres Sunday, September 9 at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. The first episode will be available during Showtime’s free preview weekend from August 31 – September 3.

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Every article written about Jim Carrey in the past few years can be boiled down to one simple question: What’s going on with Jim Carrey? Fans and casual observers alike seem perplexed by the Dumb And Dumber star’s recent transformation from Hollywood t…

Every article written about Jim Carrey in the past few years can be boiled down to one simple question: What’s going on with Jim Carrey? Fans and casual observers alike seem perplexed by the Dumb And Dumber star’s recent transformation from Hollywood top-earner to reclusive political cartoonist and painter. Most…

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Jim Carrey On The State Of Big Screen Comedy, His Showtime Series ‘Kidding’, Trump Art & ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’ – TCA

There’s no question about it: What worked on screen in regards to comedy a few years ago, isn’t clicking anymore with the genre making its way to the exits for a place on streaming or cable.
A majority of major studio comedies over the last…

There’s no question about it: What worked on screen in regards to comedy a few years ago, isn’t clicking anymore with the genre making its way to the exits for a place on streaming or cable. A majority of major studio comedies over the last two years, with the exception of Girls Trip, Bad Moms, and Sausage Party, haven’t worked. This summer alone three comedies didn’t find a wide audience: New Line’s Life of the Party ($52.8M) and Lionsgate’s Uncle Drew ($41.8M) and The Sp…

Jim Carrey on His Mr Pickles Hair in ‘Kidding’: ‘Like an Arrested Development-Type Situation’

Jim Carrey’s Mr. Pickles hair is no joke.

Carrey dished on the story behind his ‘do (see above) while discussing the new Showtime series, “Kidding.” He appeared alongside his co-stars and the creative minds behind the dark take on a children’s show host’s life during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.

“I wanted to make it as hard as possible for myself to look attractive to anyone near me,” Carrey said, joking, when asked about how they decided on his shoulder length bob.

Also Read: ‘Kidding’: Jim Carrey Goes Off the Deep End in New Showtime Series Trailer (Video)

“He has long hair and I thought, ‘It would be perfect,’” director and executive producer Michael Gondry, added.

“His struggle was to say, ‘Don’t touch him!’” Carrey said. “‘Cause you wanna change yourself when you get a part and you wanna do some things.”

And while you may think Carrey’s hair is a little nuts, he said he doesn’t “feel crazy at all” while rocking the long locks. “I think it’s good,” Carrey said. “To me it’s juvenile, kind of — like a children’s hairdo.”

Also Read: Jim Carrey Explains His ‘Crass’ Political Art: ‘I’m Done With Liars’

“We were trying to find something that felt like it had been your hair for that long,” executive producer and writer Dave Holstein said.

“Yeah, exactly. Like an arrested development-type situation, where you’re being something for them,” Carrey added.

The Showtime dramedy follows Carrey as Jeff, a.k.a. Mr. Pickles, a beloved children’s entertainer who sees his own life upended as his personal relationships begin to implode.

Also Read: Showtime Is ‘Dying’ to Do Season 2 of Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’

Throughout the season, Carrey’s character begins to push back against the limits of the well-oiled machine of his show, led by executive producer, Seb (Frank Langella). Seb fears Jeff’s mental state could ruin the branding empire they’ve built, and thus begins preparing the show for a life after Jeff.

Carrey also discussed his self-proclaimed “crass” political art, which you can read about here.

“Kidding” premieres Sunday, September 9 on Showtime.

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‘Kidding’: Jim Carrey Goes Off the Deep End in New Showtime Series Trailer (Video)

Jim Carrey Returns to TV as a Children’s Show Host in Crisis in First ‘Kidding’ Trailer (Video)

Jim Carrey’s Mr. Pickles hair is no joke.

Carrey dished on the story behind his ‘do (see above) while discussing the new Showtime series, “Kidding.” He appeared alongside his co-stars and the creative minds behind the dark take on a children’s show host’s life during the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.

“I wanted to make it as hard as possible for myself to look attractive to anyone near me,” Carrey said, joking, when asked about how they decided on his shoulder length bob.

“He has long hair and I thought, ‘It would be perfect,'” director and executive producer Michael Gondry, added.

“His struggle was to say, ‘Don’t touch him!'” Carrey said. “‘Cause you wanna change yourself when you get a part and you wanna do some things.”

And while you may think Carrey’s hair is a little nuts, he said he doesn’t “feel crazy at all” while rocking the long locks. “I think it’s good,” Carrey said. “To me it’s juvenile, kind of — like a children’s hairdo.”

“We were trying to find something that felt like it had been your hair for that long,” executive producer and writer Dave Holstein said.

“Yeah, exactly. Like an arrested development-type situation, where you’re being something for them,” Carrey added.

The Showtime dramedy follows Carrey as Jeff, a.k.a. Mr. Pickles, a beloved children’s entertainer who sees his own life upended as his personal relationships begin to implode.

Throughout the season, Carrey’s character begins to push back against the limits of the well-oiled machine of his show, led by executive producer, Seb (Frank Langella). Seb fears Jeff’s mental state could ruin the branding empire they’ve built, and thus begins preparing the show for a life after Jeff.

Carrey also discussed his self-proclaimed “crass” political art, which you can read about here.

“Kidding” premieres Sunday, September 9 on Showtime.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Why Jim Carrey's 'Kidding' Is the Anti-'Breaking Bad'

'Kidding': Jim Carrey Goes Off the Deep End in New Showtime Series Trailer (Video)

Jim Carrey Returns to TV as a Children's Show Host in Crisis in First 'Kidding' Trailer (Video)

Jim Carrey Didn’t Trust Michel Gondry for ‘Maybe a Month’ While Shooting ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’

Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry reflected on making “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” during a panel for their new Showtime series, “Kidding.”

It’s been 14 years since “Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind” helped change the world’s perception of Jim Carrey from a blockbuster movie star to a bonafide awards contender, and now he’s reuniting with the director who helped guide his performance to new heights. “Kidding,” the new Showtime drama from Carrey and Michel Gondry, is set to debut in September, and the team stopped by the Television Critics Association summer press tour to discuss their revived collaboration.

“He was the linchpin,” Carrey said. “I was incredibly interested in the material, but when Michel came on board I was like, ‘I get to play with a teammate.’ It was a thrill.”

The two haven’t worked together since 2004, and Gondry noticed how their on-set dynamic shifted between the two projects.

“It was different than ‘Eternal Sunshine’ because [then] it took Jim several weeks of work or maybe a month before he trusted me,” Gondry said. “When we started working on ‘Kidding,’ it was very simple. […] He would try anything. You cannot imagine what [he does].”

“You learn to trust somebody,” Carrey said. “You see what happened before and [that builds trust.] There were many times on ‘Eternal Sunshine’ where I said [to Gondry], ‘It doesn’t make any sense at all to me,’ and he said, ‘Why don’t you try it?’”

Carrey did and believes the results speak for themselves. Gondry added that his experience working witch Carrey proved “Jim has zero ego,” and said working with this actor in their new series made it “really fun” and “challenging” […] “in a good way.”

Gondry directed all 10 episodes of the first season of “Kidding” and is attached as an executive producer, along with Carrey. The series was created by Dave Holstein and co-stars Catherine Keener, Judy Greer, and Frank Langella.

“Kidding” centers on Carrey’s Jeff, an icon of children’s television known as Mr. Pickles and a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds. And yet when this beloved family man’s own family begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairytale, fable, or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: A kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

“Kidding” premieres September 9 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.