Jim Carrey stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday to discuss I’m Dying Up Here, a new series that he is executive-producing about aspiring comedians in Los Angeles in the 1970s. “It’s like the Big Bang of comedy,” Carrey told Kimmel.
Carrey suggested that political events in the U.S. in the Seventies spurred the rapid growth of the comedy scene. “Nixon, Watergate, the impeachment, all that stuff was happening back then,” he explained. “There was a need to tell the truth and cut through the baloney, and so it created this phenomenon that populated the comedy cosmos.”
Carrey reminisced about seeing Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy workshop new material and smoking weed with Richard Pryor in the parking lot after sets. “We were passing a joint one night, and he said, ‘Careful with that, I don’t remember 40 years of my life,'” Carrey recalled. “I really got close to him for a while. He was so encouraging, such an amazing person.”
I’m Dying Up Here is based on William Knoedelseder’s book I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era; it also pulls from Carrey’s own experiences as a young comic. The series premieres June 4th on Showtime. Showtime recently made the premiere episode available for free on YouTube.