Jim Carrey is ‘Kidding’ around again on Showtime

Showtime continues to explore a children’s-show host’s personal problems

Jim Carrey stars in the second season of “Kidding,” starting Sunday on Showtime.

When Jim Carrey decided to return to television, he wasn’t kidding.

The “In Living Color” alum knew what he wanted with his Showtime series, and he’s pleased to do more of it as the seriocomic “Kidding” begins its second season Feb. 9, with two of its 10 episodes being shown each Sunday. Jeff Pickles (Carrey) continues to struggle with family problems, the effects of which seeped into his popular children’s show “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time,” now off the air – to the great concern of his executive producer (Frank Langella) as well as the program’s chief puppet maker (Catherine Keener). Judy Greer also continues as Jeff’s estranged wife.

“This season, I think you’re going to see a lot of hopefulness and a lot of positive and really way-out-there surreal creativity,” says Carrey of the Dave Holstein-created “Kidding,” on which the star also is an executive producer. “We’re singing. We’re doing things that they shouldn’t allow us to do.” One of those Season 2 singing ventures pairs Carrey with someone quite estimable in that department, guest star Ariana Grande.

Jim Carrey stars in the second season of “Kidding,” starting Sunday on Showtime.

“Admiration doesn’t just go kind of forward to an older generation, it goes backward as well, and she’s a singular artist,” Carrey notes. “She has a gift. When she opens her mouth and sings, she’s just magical. And it’s nice to find out that she’s a lovely person and that she was so game and willing to do it, and to put herself in a place of just being silly and innocent and fun. She was just a breath of fresh air. It was a really lovely, lovely time.”

As for Jeff’s condition in the sophomore round of “Kidding,” Carrey reflects that he has been “groomed to be able to understand the depth of a character who’s lost a lot, and who also still believes that it’s worth trying to keep the boat afloat and find the good. The idea of trying to cling to something that worked, and suddenly doesn’t fit, is something everybody goes through at some point. It is the role of a lifetime. I think there’s no other place that’s better for me to be. Except Hawaii.”

“Kidding” has reunited Carrey with the talent he deems “my favorite director” … another of the show’s executive producers, Michel Gondry, who directed him in the 2004 movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

“My life is spent kind of chasing things that I think are meaningful and interesting and creatively satisfying,” Carrey reflects, “so in that respect, I couldn’t be in a better place. This is an incredible creation that Dave’s come up with, and I’m surrounded by unbelievably intelligent, remarkable actors, and it’s very satisfying in that regard.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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