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Even though Jim Carrey and his rubber-faced antics have always been more synonymous with the comedy world than anything else, the actor has often wowed audiences with his infrequent trips to more dramatic territories. (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind can never be topped.) So it’s rather exciting that his next project is mixing both comedy and drama, as he’s developing and executive producing the project I’m Dying Up Here, which received a pilot order from Showtime earlier today. Don’t expect a lot of people talking with their butts in this one.
News of the pilot pickup was made by Showtime head honcho David Nevins. I’m Dying Up Here will be a darkly comedic drama that takes place during the Los Angeles comedy scene of the 1970s, where the stories will revolve around the comedy clubs where many famous comics got their start. Of course, it’s not all about the laughs, as the comics’ damaged psyches will be explored, as will the determination it takes to stay in a business where being funny is the main goal. We all know by now that many comedians have tortured souls, so it’ll be fun to see that angle tackled in series form, should Showtime choose to move forward with it.
Though Carrey doesn’t have a built-in relationship with the cable network, the show’s co-developer David Flebotte does. The former stand-up comic has been a writer and producer on Masters of Sex, which was just renewed for Season 4. Flebotte has worked on a bunch of series over the years, including Will & Grace, Raising Hope, Ellen and The Bernie Mac Show, to name a few. Here’s how Nevins put things, according to Variety.
The 1970s L.A. comedy scene gave rise to some of the biggest and most influential performers of the last half-century. Who better than Jim Carrey and Dave Flebotte, who were both there, to tell the story of that special era along with the complicated and talented performers that dared to grab an open mic.
It’s assumed that I’m Dying Up Here will focus on fictionalized personalities over versions of real-life comedians. But it’d be pretty cool (and potentially awful) to see actors taking on the comics gaining fame at that time, including George Carlin, Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams and Steve Martin. And while Carrey’s involvement doesn’t appear to be of the on-screen variety just yet, I’m really hoping he takes a role in this.
Last seen in Dumb and Dumber 2, Carrey first made himself a household name on the small screen, both with 1984’s The Duck Factory and the 1990s sketch show In Living Color. (Okay, so maybe Fire Marshall Bill isn’t exactly the most iconic fictional character in history.) After that, he mostly left TV behind for films, though he has appeared over the years on series such as The Larry Sanders Show, 30 Rock and The Office, as well as David Letterman’s last Late Show episode. His next effort will be the cannibal love story The Bad Batch from Ana Lily Amirpour.
The I’m Dying Up Here pilot, which will be directed by Warm Bodies’ Jonathan Levine, is set to go into production this fall.