Jim Carrey has returned to television sporting a serial killer’s haircut and a downright admirable willingness to receive a handjob from a puppet, and frankly, I’m here for every batty second of it. Some very important context: Showtime released the first trailer for Kidding, the network’s new half-hour comedy that puts Carrey in his first series regular role since In Living Color. (At one point he gets a handjob from a puppet. I might have already mentioned that.)
Carrey stars as Jeff, better known to the public as his iconic children’s show host persona, Mr. Pickles. By the looks of it, Mr. Pickles is in the middle of one heck of a complete mental breakdown—”I have a tremendous amount of pent-up anger inside me,” he says at one point—which sharply affects everyone around him: executive-producer Seb (Frank Langella), head puppet maker Deirdre (Catherine Keener), and estranged wife Jill (Judy Greer). That is a fantastic cast, by the way, which will also include guest spots from Justin Kirk (Weeds) and Ginger Gonzaga (I’m Dying Up Here).
Kidding is exactly the type of project I want Carrey in at this point in his career. At one point arguably the best—at least best known—physical comedian on the planet, Carrey has kept busy these last few years being generally wrong about how vaccines work and excelling in completely unintentional comedy. (There’s been no joke in 2018 funnier than the poster for Dark Crimes, a.k.a. Jim Carrey’s Big Bearded Face: The Movie.) But Kidding reunites Carrey with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry. The French filmmaker—who executive-produces alongside series creator and showrunner Dave Holstein (Weeds)—knows exactly how best to utilize that artsy surrealism mixed with unsettling melancholia that is late-career Jim Carrey.
Check out the trailer and official posters below. Kidding debuts on Showtime September 9.
Here’s the official synopsis for Kidding:
KIDDING centers on Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles (Carrey), an icon of children’s television and a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him. But when this beloved personality’s 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. The series also stars Oscar, Emmy® and Golden Globe nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), Judy Greer (Married) and Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Catherine Keener (Get Out). Throughout the season, Jeff begins to push back against the limits of the well-oiled machine that is “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time,” and of his executive producer, Seb (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, while Deirdre (Keener), the head puppet maker, grapples with her own personal and professional life issues. Greer stars as Jeff’s estranged wife, and their son is played by Cole Allen. Guest stars include Justin Kirk (WEEDS), Ginger Gonzaga (I’M DYING UP HERE) and Tara Lipinski.