Biography and IRE

Scar: a lasting aftereffect of trouble, especially a lasting psychological injury resulting from suffering or trauma. [i]

I have never been super athletic, for my whole life, my parents have constantly teased me that I have zero hand-eye coordination. Finally towards the end of middle school, I found my groove with cross-country and cheerleading. Being the oldest of four younger siblings, I loved faking hurt or sick, anything for some extra attention from my parents. I pulled it all, I would tell my parents that I “broke a knee,” had ADD or thought I needed glasses, anything that I could remotely attempt to self-diagnose I would. It was not until I experienced a real disease and real pain that the desire to be different stopped.

November 18th of 2009, my perspective of life was completely changed. In the three months prior to November, I went from living a completely normal, ordinary life. On November 18th, with the help of an awesome surgeon and twenty-six screws and two titanium rods, my spinal curvature went from sixty degrees to zero degrees. The pain I felt for nearly two months is a pain that I hope no one else ever has to experience. Not only was the surgery painful physically, but it caused emotional trauma as well. Simple tasks like walking down the hallway began to become scary. The slightest bump into my back hurt, so I was scared of any kind of interaction with others. After my surgery, my friends and family were just as traumatized as me, constantly checking on my back today even five years later. My scar represents pain and trauma in my past, but through time and healing, the pain has been conquered.

Through English 1102, I was able to gather a whole new perspective on comedians and the internal and external scars they struggle with. Jim Carrey and Tina Fey are comedians who are universally known for being able to make anyone laugh. Although the two are able to bring laughter to others, they too face their own inner and outer scars. Many people would not know that the multi-millionaire, Jim Carrey came from humblest of beginnings. Growing up with a sick mom and an unemployed father, Carrey recalled “It wasn’t long before I started acting up. People would come over to the house and they would be greeted by a seven year old throwing himself down a large flight of stairs.” On the darkest of days for his mother, Carrey would voluntarily fling himself down a flight of stairs, contort his face and body in extreme ways, anything thing to bring a smile to his mothers face. The humble beginning of Carrey left this funny man with extreme scarring that he still to this day is trying to overcome.

Through Carrey’s standup comedy routines including “The Unnatural Acts,” Carrey invites his audience to see some of his own personal struggles, as well as, some greater world issues like the Gulf War. Carrey is a master of making any issue no matter how serious into a lighthearted issue through his famous body and face contortions. Although Jim Carrey is able to bring laughter and happiness to others, this happiness did not always translate to his own life. Carrey began to battle depression at the start of his career and with the help of the drug Prozac he was able to deal with his inner struggles. In recent years, Carrey has found an inner peace through his spiritual life, which has lead to him conquering his depression and accepting the scars of life.

While Jim Carrey suffered from internal scars, Tina Fey’s scars are similar to mine. At a very young age, Fey was brutally cut across the cheek by a stranger. Due to her young age, Fey claims that the injury did not cause any deeper psychological scarring. Regardless of the psychological scars, Tina Fey now has a scar across her face for the world to see. In her book Bossypants [ii] Fey addressed how having a scar affected her childhood, “They ask with quiet, feigned empathy, “How did you get your scar?” The grossest move is when they say they’re only curious because “it’s so beautiful.” Ugh. Disgusting.” For her entire life, family and strangers alike gave Tina special attention for being “different” the overcompensation for the guilt of her scar does not change the fact of how she got her scar. Later in her book Fey goes onto say, “I accepted all the attention at face value and proceeded through life as if I really were extraordinary. I guess what I’m saying is, this has all been a wonderful misunderstanding.” She handles her scars with grace and pride, keeping the full story of her scar hidden.

Leading up to back surgery, I was so much more concerned with the vain issue of what my scar was going to look like, and not the severe pain or issues that would follow the surgery. Coming from a small city in south Georgia, everyone always knew about my back and would bring it up from time to time, want to see my scar, and check to make sure it wasn’t bothering me. Coming to college this year has been so refreshing, no one knows that I have an eighteen inch scar along my spine, no one asks if my back is bothering me. Truthfully my back has rarely bothered me since the first six months post-op. Spring break was the first time that my best friends in college even saw my scar. Although my surgery was life changing at the time and has provided me with a whole new perspective, my back doesn’t make me any less of a person, or require that I receive special attention. Like Tina Fey growing up I gladly accepted the attention that came along with being different, however as I have moved away to a new life and people who don’t know my story, its so refreshing to be just like everyone else.

Whether a person’s scars are internal or external, it is important that the Band-Aid be ripped off the scar. Scars are beautiful. Although scars are technically defined as marking suffering or trauma, they also make everyone unique. No two people in the entire world have the same exact scar. Instead of dwelling on the hurt and pain behind a scar, we should all come to terms with how the scar has changed us and helped us to grow as a better person.

[i] “Scar.” Def. 2. Http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scar. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

[ii] Fey, Tina. “Origin Story.” Introduction. Bossypants. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Print.

Revised Essay 1

SNL presents Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

“Don’t Refer to Me as a MILF”

For as long as history dates back in both the United States and the world, women have been treated significantly lesser than men. However in the past century alone, women have begun to have more power outside the home. Women have escaped the social stereotype of only being useful to operate the home by joining the work force, earning the right to vote, joining the military, and more recently gaining political power in office.

Despite having the same if not higher education levels as male leaders, Barack Obama and John McCain, the female leaders Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were constantly scrutinized because of their gender during the 2008 elections. All four political leaders received multiple degrees from very good schools. Hillary Clinton’s Yale Law degree is just as prestigious as Barack Obama’s Harvard Law degree. In addition to having law degrees from equally prestigious schools, Hillary arguably received a better undergraduate education at Wellesley College compared to Obama’s undergraduate from Occidental College. The education of Hillary Clinton puts to bed any further questioning of female education versus that of male education.

On the Saturday Night Live, “Palin/Hillary Open” episode, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey highlighted some of the blows thrown at both Clinton and Palin. Palin, mimicked perfectly by Tina Fey, stated, “We are crossing party lines to address the very ugly role that sexism is playing in the campaign.” While the character of Palin asked the media “not to refer to me as MILF,” Clinton’s character had to tell the media not to refer to her as a “flurge.” While being called a “MILF” could be considered a compliment and being described as a “flurge” is in no way a compliment, neither physical description is appropriate.

A woman should not be treated any differently than a man due to physical appearance. In an interview conducted by the anchor of CNN’s The Lead, Jake Tapper sat down with Palin to ask about her views on sexism in elections. Tapper made the point that New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s weight often fuels discussion. Palin quickly bounced back by saying , “that’s because it’s been extreme. So it’s hard for some people not to comment on it.” Males are not judged for hairstyle, clothing, size, or hygiene at all compared to females. This unfair standard goes for women of all ethnicities, sizes, and social statues.

“I think that women everywhere can agree that no matter your politics, it is time for a woman to make it to the white house.”

For the past several decades, women have had significantly more voters participate in elections than men have. The voice of women across the nation is clearly being heard in who is elected, however, the same cannot be said about women having a large voice within the government. Although, the 113th Congress has a record number with 103 women serving in Congress, this number is still so small considering Congress has 535 total members. Women make up less than twenty percent of the Congress.

In SNL’s skit, Palin says, “You know, Hillary and I do not agree on everything,” and is quickly interrupted by Poehler’s character, Clinton, saying “ANYTHING.” As Fey and Poehler continue to argue various political sides, Clinton states, “I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy,” to which Palin’s response is “And I can see Russia from my house.” Although Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin do not see eye-to-eye on political issues, both political candidates can agree on the fact that female politicians are not treated the appropriately solely because they are women.

Throughout the course of the skit, Clinton and Palin’s characters argue various beliefs; they also address many stereotypes that the media has placed upon each of them. Although the treatment of female politicians is unfair and inappropriate, it is something that should unfortunately be expected.

“Hillary Clinton was mistreated when it came to appearances, when it came to wardrobe, petty, superficial things that men don’t ever seem to hear about, that a women candidate will.”

Jake Tapper asked Palin in their interview what a female running for office should expect, now that Palin has been on the inside and felt the negative critics. Palin responded to Tapper by saying, “She can expect sexism, but you overcome it, you ignore it, you thicken your skin, and you march forward with your message, your priorities, your agenda that you believe is right for America.” Although Hillary was under constant attack for her appearance, it does not take away from her views.

In an article written by politicususa.com, John Stewart of The Daily Show addressed the media on the obvious sexism and double standard placed in politics. A near-perfect comparison was drawn in the presence of grandchildren in the life of a man versus that of a woman. When Republican candidate Mitt Romney ran in the 2012 Presidential election, he already had several grandchildren and three more were born during his campaign. However, when Chelsea Clinton announced her pregnancy last year, questions began circulating in regards to whether or not Hillary Clinton would be fit to run in the 2016 election with a grandchild as a distraction. This is an unfair question to be asked, while Clinton has shown to be a loving grandmother to her infant grandchild, the presence of a grandchild does not make her any less equipped to run a country.

“We’re saying, “Hey! Why bail out Fannie and Freddie, and not me.”

Shortly after, “A Nonpartisan Message from Governor Sarah Palin & Senator Hillary Clinton,” Sarah Palin completed an interview with Katie Couric. In this interview, she answered a question in a way that to this day follows her, this response inspired a second Sarah Palin parody based off her interview. During the interview, Couric asked Palin about the 700 billion dollar government bailout of debt. Palin responded with a long unclear response that contained no concrete examples. When asked multiple times for concrete examples by Couric, Palin’s final response was, “I’ll try to find some and Ill bring them to you.” Palin’s answer was not something that Politicians were happy with; however the same could not be said for the crew of SNL.

Once again, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey had a field day with this interview. Katie Couric played by Poehler sat down with Tina Fey’s character of Palin. When Couric asked Fey about the 700 billion dollar debt she responded with, “And, so, health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending, ‘cause, Barack Obama, you know? You know, we’ve got to accompany tax reduction, and tax relief for Americans. Also, having a dollar value meal at restaurants — that’s gonna help.”

Fey and Poehler recreated the Couric/Palin interview in a way similar to the original interview, so that the interview did not change in its original context, but only added comedic relief to a very poor interview on Palin’s part.

“Stop putting my head on sexy bikini pictures.” “And stop saying I have cankles.”

A constant theme in the Sarah Palin/Hillary Clinton parody is the appearance of the two women. Sarah Palin addresses the issue by asking, “Reporters and Commentators: stop using words that diminish us like pretty, attractive, beautiful…” Clinton then added on, “harpy, shroud…pausing boner shrinker.” While the two politicians receive very different comments on their appearance, it is unfair for a woman’s appearance to take away from her as a politician. Rarely in politics is a man criticized for his appearance, however during the 2008 campaign, Obama Girl was a major YouTube sensation who was known for her obsession over Obama. Despite the fact that Obama Girl was not mocking the appearance of President Obama, she was still treating him different initially based upon his looks.

Although male politicians are not usually criticized for appearance, they are still often ridiculed publically for other transgressions in the media. Despite coming down a little harder on females in terms of appearance, if women want to be treated the same way as men are, then they must accept being ridiculed on national television.

The Sarah Palin parodies performed by Saturday Night Live although comedic were not performed to tease Sarah Palin. These skits were created to bring humor to sexist stereotypes during the 2008 Presidential election. Sarah Palin herself was not offended by the skits, but rather found humor in Tina Fey’s comical impersonation of her. Although sexism in politics is an issue than Americans cannot deny, the Sarah Palin impersonations, in a sense, are groundbreaking. As female politicians are beginning to be treated in the same comical sense as males, they are generally growing to become more respectable in politics.

Revised Essay 2

Jim Carrey: The Man in the Mirror

“I spend most of my life in front of a mirror, but I’m not looking at me. I’m looking at Leonid Brezhnev.” — Jim Carrey

For Jim Carrey stand-up comedy was only the beginning. It was 1985 and just a few years earlier, had uprooted his life in Ontario, Canada to make his professional dreams come true in Los Angeles. He was working various comedy clubs around Los Angeles, usually two shows a night seven days a week. On a very early morning, after working the late shift at another L.A. comedy club Carrey drove his car to a location overlooking the city. Sitting in his car, he took out his checkbook and wrote a check. The check was payable to Jim Carrey on Thanksgiving of 1995 for the amount of ten million dollars. [11]

Los Angeles skyline

Although Carrey was only worth about ten thousand dollars at the time, the ten million dollar check represented his future. He wanted to be able to walk around the city and be recognized by everyone. Sure, making an audience laugh on stage was enjoyable for Carrey, but he always had bigger dreams. He wanted to be an icon.

Carrey grew up the youngest of four children and was an extrovert , performing early comedy routines for his family and friends. In his graduation speech at Maharishi University Carrey said, “It wasn’t long before I started acting up. People would come over to the house and they would be greeted by a seven year old throwing himself down a large flight of stairs.”[2] Carrey’s passion for comedy came from his father. Carrey said, “I watched the effect my father’s love and humor and how it altered the world around me and I thought, ‘That’s something to do, that’s something worth my time.’” [2]

Even school did not stop Jim from his love of comedy. The only way for Carrey’s school teachers to subdue his rambunctious behavior was to give him fifteen minutes at the end of the school day to perform a stand up routine in front of his classmates. However, it wasn’t all fun and games growing up as Jim Carrey. When he was twelve years old, Carrey’s father, Percy, lost his job as an accountant and they were forced to move to Toronto where Percy became a janitor at a factory. Carrey began working eight-hour shifts at the age of 14 and watched his previously good grades at school suffer. Eventually the Carreys moved away from the factory and moved into a Volkswagen camper-van parked on a relatives front lawn. [6]

Carrey was never afraid to fail in comedy, no matter how many times he saw his family failing. He lived by his father’s saying that, “…you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” [2] By age of 17 Carrey returned to the Canadian comedy club Yuk Yuk’s, where he had been booed off the stage years before and stole the show, becoming a staple in Toronto’s comedy circuit. Then in 1979, he took a massive leap of faith making the move to Los Angeles to further pursue his career.

By 1991, he was at the height of his stand-up career with his routine called The Unnatural Act. In this routine, one of the last before he made the transition to television and film, it is clear he had mastered the art of making an audience love him and he was ready to pursue comedy on the next level.

Carrey’s expert ability to contort his face and body like he’s made of rubber makes his comedic style so unique and attention grabbing. One critic said about his routine, “It was a cartoon show with a cast of 110 characters.” Carrey’s stand-up routines and acting in movies like The Mask seem like spontaneous slapstick, but it was all based on constant work in front of a mirror. Before shows “in front of the ever-present mirror, Jim warms up like a gymnast. The energy switches on and the face and body go into a series of rubbery contortions.” [5] The thousands of hours of practice Carrey put in with his mirror in order to master his art, created a comedic genius with an uncanny ability to make us laugh.

Transcription of The Unnatural Act

Introduced by “JIM” dancers

Jim dancers, Yeah! Jim dancers, Alright! Jim dancers, *massive pelvic thrust* Give it to them!

Well good evening ladies and gentleman, my name is Jim Carrey, how are you this evening, ALLLLRIGHTY then.

I grew up in Canada. *audience cheers* Is there anybody here from Canada? Ya know I know to get really upset when I told people where I came from down in Los Angeles, because I always got the same response, “Canada?? Wow! Must’ve been cold!” Now I just go along with them. *in Eskimo voice* “Yes. Canada. It was a frozen, hostile wasteland and there was much work to be done if we were to survive the elements. After boring a hole through the ice to find food, my good friend Nantook and I would build an igloo…to protect ourselves from polar bears and flying hockey pucks. Then we would drink a lot of beer and when Nantook was ready, he would tell me the story of the Great Moose, who said to the Little Squirrel, “Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabit out of my hat!”

Anyway I’m here and I feel good. Excellent. Super. I just wanna GO, GO, GO! *pelvic thrust after each “go”*

I think those subliminal motivation tapes are startin to make a difference.

“Yeah that’s right, I listen to motivational tapes. Think I wanna get stuck in this dead end job? NO SIREE NOT ME!”

I wanna do something wuuunderrrrful. I wanna be one of those gospel singers on the PTL Club. Cause those guys are just happy no matter what. *starts singing gospel song as happy as humanly possible* Imagine if you could actually be that happy. That would be powerful man. People would be tunneling under the street to avoid you. They’d go, “Ohhh man, is that happy guy still out there??” “Honey! Looks like I’m gonna be late again! Nah it’s the happy guy. He’s right beside the car I can’t get near it!” Of course if I wanted to be that happy I’d have to forget all my problems.

And only time I forget all my problems is when I’m right smack dab in the middle of a sexual orgasm. So I have them as often as I can. I’m having one right now.

Ever had one of those real smooooth orgasms…turns ya into Elvis.

That’s my only escape. Sure I could go on a vacation, but Id still be thinking about what I’ve gotta do when I come home.

See to me, an orgasm is like a mini vacation, but its better because you can’t think about anything else when you’re having one. “Oh man I’m way behind on the rent-” *falls to the floor having an orgasm* “the kids need braces, what am I gonna doooo.” Then you’re right back in it again.

But for 30 seconds man your free. All you can think about is, “What the hell am I gonna hold onto and Gee! I hope the person I’m with doesn’t do anything stupid like move!” You ever been with someone who wanted to just keep on movin’? I used to keep a brick under my pillow for people like that. *acts like drilling someone in the head with a brick* “IT’S OVER! LET IT GO!!” *walks away petting his dick, talking to it* “We won’t go out with that one again.”

That’s the only time I’m free, the rest of the time, I sit around and worry about the stupid things…ideas….What would you do if you found out your mom and dad went to hell?

Wouldn’t that just ruin the rest of your life? You’d be walkin’ around, “They taught me everything I know…I even look like them.”

Of course my mom would drive the devil crazy. She’d spend eternity *sniff sniff* “SOMETHINGS BURNING…..I CAN SMELL IT” My mom could always smell something burning man.

I spent half my childhood feeling the walls for hotspots. 9 times out of 10 it was my father.

Like a lot smokers, my dads favorite cigarette of the day was the one right after dinner, ya know….during his nap. Fun watching him wake up though. (mimics someone waking up for a nap to discover they are on fire)

“DROP AND ROLL DAD!!”

I just worry too much though, I don’t know maybe there is nothing to worry about, maybe there is no actual place called hell.

Maybe hell is having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their nose when they’re eating a sandwich…*acts out geriatric eating* It’s not a meal, it’s a struggle for life itself. “Hmmm. maybe ill make another one…” “NOOOOO!!!!!!! We’ll be good!!!” (as in the grandkids)

Here’s a scary concept though…getting old. *jumps around spazzing out* You can’t do that! You gotta kiss that stuff goodbye man.

I just wanna keep challenging myself, I don’t wanna be the reminiscing guy…you know the guy people run into at bars that you can always tell how boring there life is by how far they have to reach back for glory.

*100 year old grandpa voice* “Remember…remember how fast I used to be…when I was a sperm. I’ll never forget the day of the big race…there were millions of us in the field, but I beat them all to fertilize that egg, mister. Back in the cervix, I was semen first class”

See for me, Jimmy Stewart is the kind of guy that I’d love to be, but see it’s very difficult to be that though, see he’s just kinda up here somewhere.

I love him man, he’s a great example of someone whose had an incredibly productive life. It seems that no matter what happens, no matter how bad things, Jimmy Stewart can look at things in a positive way.

Jimmy Stewart

*As Jimmy Stewart* “Well I guess we’re gonna have ourselves a nuclear holocaust. Well hey everyone come look out the window…look at that mushroom cloud, isn’t that beautiful, the amazing thing to me is, magnificent, it’ll melt your face right off.”

That’s positive energy, ya know ya gotta look death right in the face. That’s what Jimmy Stewart would do. “Hi Mr. Death you look like you could use some soup!” I don’t want to be like that man. Maybe I will be.

“Maybe one day when I’m finished singing the gospel, I’ll go even further and become…a real holy man. And I’m not talking about the holy man you see on TV. Those TV evangelists. They aren’t holy men, they’re just ambitious”

I saw one guy that was so ambitious that he actually became jealous of the Lord. You could tell, it came out half way through his sermon. *in black evangelist voice* “When I was a child-uh! I wanted to be the savior of the world-uh! Then they told me that Jesus-uh was the son of God-uh then I realized it’s all who ya know!” Very petty. Petty people. You can’t be like that if you want to be a holy man. And you gotta be sure of yourself, when you make a decision you cannot waver in any way, you gotta stick with it.

You never see Ghandi during a hunger strike, sneaking into the kitchen in the middle of the night. “Gaaaandiii…what are you doin’ down here?” *in Indian voice* “Ummm…I thought I heard a prowler! And I was going to hit him in the head with this giant bowl of potato salad.” He would never put himself in that position, ya know? And you gotta control your temper constantly you cannot fly off the handle at any moment you gotta stay right in the center.

Jesus was very composed his whole life, right until the end. If that was me, I’d be *nervous laughing* going “GREEEAAAATTTT, JUST BEAUTIFUL! You guys are gonna get it. Wait ‘til my father hears about this!” *spits on people below him* It’d be a whole different book man.

“GREEEAAATTT, JUUUST beautiful!”

And then there is those weird impulses we get constantly. *spazzes out* We have to fight them off everyday, mad little impulses. Like the impulses and everybody gets them too. We could be with a friend, it could be your best friend in the world and stand about 2 feet away talking to you, and you think, “My goodness I could just hit him right now and he’d never expect it.”

See madness is never that far away! Its as close as saying yes to the wrong impulse. The people who can stay sane are the people who can make those quick decisions.

To himself: “Should I stick my fingers into the fan…or leave the room right now…should i run the blade of this razor across my tongue…or just finish shaving and move away from the sink.” Come on you’re right there! *clown laugh while slicing his tongue*

But you don’t! Luckily most of us have that little voice inside our head that says, “Nuh-uh-uh…turning the car into oncoming traffic is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE!”

Imagine if we didn’t have that voice man! I wouldn’t even be here right now. I’d be in the shark tank at Seaworld. *Flails around like a shark has his legs* He’s got my legs! He’s got my legs!

We’d be apologizing until the end of time. “Hi, how are ya *punches guy in the face* sorry man. You guys enjoying the show? *turns back to crowd and pretends to rip ass in their face* Wow excuse me jeez! Sorry about that it just came into my head and I made a decision, I don’t know. I hate to turn my back on the audience, I really do.

I think 9 out of 10 of the worst impulses we get are when we are behind the wheel of a car, ya know. Thats why I don’t think it’s a good idea to carry a GUN in the glove compartment! Cause chances are if its there, sooner or later, you’re gonna use it. *sighs* Of course, then again what are you gonna do when someone cuts you off on the freeway? *laughs* Just let them go?? Oh you pretty much have to shoot them, ya know. Otherwise they won’t learn nothin’!

Or say, all of the sudden, you have to go on a real killing spree and all you have is a knife…well after a couple of people your arm is aaachinnn *acts like arm is worn out* you have to switch hands…then you look like a girl. *acts like he’s trying to stab someone with non-dominant hand* Stop laughing and die! Who needs that kind of aggravation man, when there automatic weapons on sale! Thats why a lot of my friends are taking martial arts classes and stuff like that, which I think is a really good idea. Anybody into martial arts here? COME ON! RIGHT NOW BABY! *drops mic* Try to penetrate the crab stance! *walks around like a crab* HE’S A CRUSTACEAN!!! Somebody get some boiling water!!

I think it’s a good idea to know how to defend yourself though. I really do. I just wish the people who took martial arts would master the technique before they go around showing it off cause its really annoying when they come up to you and go, “Hey man, I just learned this incredible new move in karate today! But you gotta come at me like this! *walks straight ahead banging his arm like a hammer* Gee is there anything I can do to make it easier for ya?? Maybe I could put my head under the back wheel of your car! *pretends eyes are popping out of his head* Hey! I’m a bugger! Kick me in the groin and poke my eyes out!

Thats how it goes down on the street, thats how it goes down man. Give me your money! No! Alright then I’m going to have to stab you…with my right hand in a lunging fashion. Try to keep your weight on the back leg. *choir singing* What world is this! What wonderful world!

Gee he does it all! *laughs* Of course I don’t think we’d need any of this stuff if we could just communicate with each other. Of course if you wanted to do that you’d have to find a language that everyone understood. Myself I think thats music. I happen to love it. *singing as Michael Bolton* Tell me how am I supposed to live without you! Baby I’ve been loving you so lo- *pretends to have a stroke falls to the ground* “What happened to him?? I don’t know he tried to sing like Michael Bolton and something just popped in his head!” *gets up* That guy tries really hard doesn’t he? Nah! He puts a lot into a song come on! He is 99% effort that man. *singing as Michael Bolton* Sitting in the morning sun!! *head explodes* God I’d hate to go to one of his concerts, by the end of it he’d have big bubble of his head. “They want an encore, cut me!!” But I love the way he sings I’m just afraid for him that’s all.

We should open up the parameters of the music we listen to. Like it really bothers me that the people in this country don’t know about the incredible pop music coming out of the Middle East right now. I’d like to be the one to bring it to the West. Come on clap your hands, I’ll do one of the songs. *sings stereotypical Arab sounding song, rocking out* We don’t get to listen to that do we? Huh? What’s going on man its all about payola isn’t it. We should try to ourselves in their shoes for a change. Wake up in the morning…pick the sand out of your teeth…turn on that radio dial *sings arab sounding music and does the infidel lalalala* *in radio announcer voice* That was Hadiba by Cool Abdul. Coming up next on Libya Rap, DJ Jazzy Muhamubar and the Fresh Razanjani. But first a word from our hostage. *As hostage* “They mean business! Send more guns!”

Communication…the hardest thing in the world. Ya know I can look at you guys, I can communicate to you all night but one on one I’m terrible. There’s certain things about communicating that really bother me. Like whenever I meet somebody new I always say, “Hi! How are you?” And usually when people hear they say something like, “Good and yourself” or “Fine, thank you very much!” But sometimes they like to surprise you, “I’ve got no dream man, I’m all dead inside!” Ha-ha-ha-ha I’m sorry wrong answer but thank you for playing! *creeps away*

And if I’m worried about something I don’t even want to leave my house anymore, because I know there’s five people out there somewhere just to ask me that question, “Hey Jim, how are you?” And I go, “Really good. Please look away. Danger, danger, danger.” I should change the response or something, “How am I? Gee, I don’t know let me check. *does a hernia exam on himself* I’d like to do a few more tests.

The weird thing is we’ve gotten so used to the words “Hi, how are you” that if somebody doesn’t say it we answer it anyway, “Hi Bob!” “Good and you??” Then the conversation goes nowhere because all you can hear is that voice in your head going, “Nuh-uh-uh he thinks you’re an idiot. He’s gonna tell everyone. Kill him. Kill himmm.” And you have to make one of those decisions again huh?

*poses bending his back* See I think body language is the communication of the future. For instance, if you stand like this it means, “Hey girls, I’m single and I have a curvature of the spine!” You gotta put it out there ya know! And guys seriously the walk is everything, the walk is the most important element. If you want a room full of ladies to know what you want without them getting the wrong idea, walk into a single bat like this. *walks with head back, crotch out* See this puts out a definite message it says, “Listen, listen I could care less but my crotch would like to buy you a beer!

Believe me, these days women have heard every line there is to say. Guys you have to get in there with something visual and distract them. *sticks arm behind his head* Hey baby! Come here for a second. Yeah you come on over. Listen, uh, listen do you uh, do you find it unusually windy today.

Okay! First of all there’s too many people in this room! Does anybody have a package of matches in here? Jimmy are you back there? Can you throw me a package of matches up here? Okay um could you just all just tie your hair together now? Wouldn’t that be great? You guys all just linked up heads….then I go over there find my fat little baby and the rest of you go up like a bunch of little lady fingers.

Are there any married people in the crowd tonight — ALRIGHT ALREADY! I usually never wait for a response on that because no one ever goes “HEYYY!!! HEYY!! OVER HERE!!! 40 YEARS BABY!!!” This is for the married people in the crowd ladies and gentleman…my impression of the first two years: “Honey! Don’t come in here! *lights a match and pretends to waft the smell of a candle around the room after a dump* And now the second two years: “Hey Hun!! You gotta smell this one!!! Hurry up you’re gonna miss it!” And that’s the woman so it gets kinda scary.

You know what you gotta do though…when you’re married you gotta keep attractive for each other ya know thats why you hit the gym so hard all the time. *looks at the crowd like that never happens* I went a couple of times…okay once…it was a guest pass. Ya know but its crazy in there some people are in the bathroom poppin’ steroids, next thing ya know they’re like *bulks up like a meathead* *talking like Arnold Schwarzenegger* “So what is this big stink about the drugs? I mean so what if I want to take a few pills before i workout? Does that make me any less of a woman?” *flexs like he’s in a bodybuilding competition*

*starts singing* Da-dana-da-dana-danaaaa-daaa. Stop it already! da da da da dannn. *dramactic voice* “Your mission Jim, should you choose to accept it, will be to disguise yourself as the following people: Jack Nicholson doing the Joker.” *crowd applauses* Well, I guess I don’t have to do it now. *laugh* Jack Nicholson doing the Joker.

Jack Nicholson’s Joker

Clint Eastwood *does the same face* They’re all the same!!! Oh my god! Wouldn’t it be awful if I like named twenty people and they were exactly the same, every one. You guys would be nice too you’d be going “He doesn’t know just clap.” Clint Eastwood: *does his actual Clint Eastwood*

Clint Eastwood

Michael Landon. *crowd sighs in disapproval* Ohhhh he would want me to do it shut up. *walks away from the mic* Okay you gotta picture Half Pint with a newborn Colt. *does impression* That wasn’t me.

And last but not least: James Dean. And please keep in mind this is the last impression so applaud accordingly. *turns around* *turns back around with the same Joker face* He’s milkin’ that too much now! James Dean! *does his James Dean*

This is so much fun. Just to be able to jump on stage night after night and perform for people like yourselves and *begins to breakdown in sadness* never be recognized for who i really am. Thats good. *still struggling not to cry* Um…but uh…my favorite is…is uh is to be able to go out in public and, and say something that is really truly original and funny and have everybody say, “Hey…who’s that supposed to be?” *puts his face in hands and sobs uncontrollably* *looks up after a long pause looking pissed off* Get out. Get out. Think I’m kidding you?! *rips the mic off the stand* GET OUT!!!!! GET OUT!!!! GET OUTTT!!! OH GODDD GET OUT! *Kneels down in front row’s face and sobs* Gettt outttt. Gooo. Just go. *pauses* Wouldn’t that be wild if I was really having a nervous breakdown in front of you guys? You thought it was part of the showww then I came down here and snapped her neck. That’d be worth a ticket wouldn’t it?? *as audience member* “Gee, we thought it was kind of expensive until he finally cracked in front of us.” You don’t get to see that enough! That could happen though man ya know. One minute I’m up here singing and dancing, tellin’ jokes. Next minute I’m running down the street yelling “Get them off!!” *runs across the stage acting like he’s covered in bees* With naked bee keeper disease. Not there! *waves bees off his crotch*

I’ll tell ya, if I wasn’t extremely healthy I’d be in a lot of trouble. I couldn’t be doing drugs and doing this. Noooo thank you. Besides drugs can’t do this, only reality can. I stopped doing all that stuff about eight years ago, ya know.. And I uh, I just uh, I just I didn’t have any fun anymore ya know it seemed like it made me more normal. Ya know like, “Jim what are you doing?” *robotic voice* “I’m returning these books to the library.” “Jim’s really screwed up today, he’s following the rules!”

And then there were the parties ya know. They were fun for a while but then they got annoying because there was always that one guy that nobody really knew who came and just tried to freak everybody out. Ya know, the head tripper. He was real fun. *gets in character on acid* “Well…we should all be feeling the effects pretty soon huh? You guys are lucky to be doing this stuff with someone you can trust. I saw a guy one time — got too high, tried to fly, killed himselfffff. Feel anything yet?!? I know ya are. *dives to the front of the crowd* EW YEAH I KNOWWW *steps back* Eh don’t worry about it. Think I should splash some cold water on my face.” *pretends he’s at the sink washing his face* *pauses* *grabs his face like its coming off* *throws his body on the floor*

“Drugs can’t do this, only reality can.”

*Back to himself* I wish I could do some really weird stuff for you guys ya know. Maybe next time! Thank you very much you guys have been great! *Standing ovation*

ANNOTATIONS

“Maybe one day when I’m finished singing the gospel, I’ll go even further and become a real holy man. And I’m not talking about the holy man you see on TVs those TV evangelist. They aren’t holy men, they’re just ambitious”

Jim Carrey is not afraid to question the way that things are done in many different aspects of life. While many fear stepping on the toes of religious leaders and major religious groups, Carrey tweeted on February 25, 2013 “I knew the sickness in the Catholic church all stems from the denial of human sexuality. Gay or straight. #denyingsexleavesyoupopeless.” Although he added a twist of humor at the end of his tweet, Carrey’s bash against his former church was not taken lightly.

In recent years, Carrey has taken a major step away from the Catholic church, but has not abandoned his self-described fascination with Jesus Christ. He addressed his views on sin and Jesus Christ with an audience in 2013. Carrey said, “I suddenly realized what that statement meant, at least what it means for me, is that He freed the world from sin from His perspective. It is up to each of us to free the world from sin from our point of view, and with that comes freedom.” [7] However, Carrey has found a sense of inner peace for himself through teachings of Eckhart Tolle, who teaches his followers to strive for a spiritual awakening by transforming the human ego-based state of consciousness. Through his personal relationship with Jesus and Tolle, Carrey has been able to finally come to peace within himself. [10]

“It is up to each of us to free the world from sin from our point of view, and with that comes freedom.”

For much of his life, Carrey has faced many difficult circumstances, whether from his own doing or through a family member. As a young child, Carrey vividly recalls his mother’s battle with hypochondria saying, “I used to go in there and do impressions of praying mantises, and weird things, and whatever. I’d bounce off the walls and throw myself down the stairs to make her feel better.” [2] Around the same time, Carrey’s father lost his job, and the family fell on difficult times financially; again Carrey’s humor was a light amidst darkest of times for his family. During the early part of his career, fixing everyone elses problems finally caught up with Jim and he began his own battle with depression. For years Carrey was on the drug Prozac to help manage his depression. [4] When Carrey finally became at peace with himself through the help of Eckhart Tolle’s teachings, Carrey was freed of his depression and is now off any kind of drug, including caffeine. Carrey’s belief of freeing oneself of concern constantly to create a new sense of personal freedom, can be reflected throughout his own life. [10]

“I practiced making faces in the mirror and it would drive my mother crazy. She used to scare me by saying that I was going to see the devil if I kept looking in the mirror. That fascinated me even more, of course.”

Despite his mother teasing him about practicing his facial expressions in the mirror, her comments about seeing the devil were extremely ironic. Kathleen Carrey, battled a major fight with mental disorders, including hypochondria. It was through teenage Jim, that she was able to feel a sense of relief and a momentary distraction from her darkest moments. During the families worst moments, Jim’s humor was able to save them both financially and emotionally. Studies done through the US National Library of Medicine& National Institutes of Health show that patients suffering from mental disabilities try to suppress positive reactions to stimuli such as comedy. Although mental patients may not initially respond with positive expressions, studies done involving comedy are able to help yield major advances in understanding depression and other mental disorders. [12] In Unnatural Acts, Carrey states, “I listen to motivational tapes. Think I wanna get stuck in this dead end job? I wanna do something wonderful.” Carrey is far from being stuck in a dead end job. Whether Carrey realizes it or not his comedy could create therapy for millions of people suffering with mental disorders like his own mother.

Carrey mocking Middle Eastern music

Throughout his routine Carrey uses current events to supplement his act. At one point he makes the audience clap while he sings his version of Middle Eastern music, throwing in some infidel “lalala’s”. In 1990, the United States and 34 other countries associated with the United Nations went to war with Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait. The war was at its height in 1991, when Carrey was performing, and it was also the beginning of the Arab racism that we see so much of today, due to our military presence there. [3] Another current event that he uses in his act is the death of Michael Landon in 1991. One of the impressions Carrey does, along with Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Clint Eastwood, is Michael Landon. Landon was very well known for his role as Pa in Little House on the Prairie and Little Joe Cartwright in Bonanza, both very popular shows in the 60s and 70s. [9]

“When I made “The Mask”, I knew every move I was going to make.” — Jim Carrey

Many of the gestures, impressions, and phrases Carrey uses in this routine are recycled into many of his hit movies, such as Ace Ventura, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty. “Allllrighty then!” is one of Ace Ventura’s catch phrases, the Clint Eastwood is used in Bruce Almighty, and the crazy facial expressions are seen in the Mask Jim Carrey has said that he creates both his impressions and fictional characters “by first discovering the appropriate gestures, twitches, and body shapes” in a sort of trial and error way in front of a mirror. The thousands of hours he spent looking at his reflection led to a repertoire of over 150 impressions of mass-media celebrities. Carrey has an incredible ability to create extremely unique, unforgettable characters by layering his highly exaggerated, highly prepared corporeal movements with the character he is playing. For example in his second hit film, The Mask, although it seems like he has improvised the enormous amount of facial expressions and crazy shapes he makes with his body Carrey said, “When I made The Mask, I knew every move I was going to make.” Carrey’s originality when he shoots a film relies completely on his “mirror time”, preparing each and every new contortion his character needs to be hilarious and one of a kind. [1]

Conclusion

In 1985 Carrey dreamed of having ten million dollars to his name, and thirty years later he has amassed a net worth of over 150 million dollars. This shows what perseverance and hard work can lead to. The story of Jim Carrey is one similar to Jane Eyre and Cinderella. With the help of no one but himself, Carrey’s hard work led him from a home in a Volkswagen campervan to a mansion in Malibu.

The constant, internal, spiritual battle of Jim Carrey is a struggle that is no secret. Carrey has been known to publicly address these struggles in personal speeches and interviews, as well as in a major motion picture film, Bruce Almighty. Although Bruce Almighty portrays Carrey and his spiritual struggle in a humorous light, we are able to see Carrey’s personal battle with faith through this movie; a perfect example that Carrey is not your typical funny man, but a man striving to work out personal struggles through his comedic acting career.

On the surface, Jim Carrey seems like your average Hollywood movie star; however, he is so much more. In a simple, stand up comedy act by Carrey in 1991, Carrey shared with fans so many struggles and issues in his life. Carrey’s honesty, wit, and perseverance are qualities unmatched by most The Unnatural Act, and story of Jim Carrey’s life provides fans with a sense of hope and motivation for their own lives. In The Unnatural Act, Carrey provided his audience with a glimpse into the personal issues that he battled. In recent years, it has been noted that Jim Carrey has become unhinged, this new, erotic, free spirited take of him could be attributed to the fact that in recent years, Jim Carrey has conquered his depression. Carrey is now completely clean of any drug including caffeine. In addition to becoming clean, he has found spiritual freedom.

Jim Carrey’s personal obstacles prior to his acting career only improved his ability to create extremely elaborate emotions. From his initial standups at small comedy gigs, to something as moving as The Number 23, he projected his constant hard work, passion, and God-given talent to society. Carrey created an extremely powerful goal for him to later reach, using a check for ten million dollars as a metaphor symbolizing the peak of his journey as an actor. This check physically represents the effort and the outcome of his career as he climbs this mountain to success. It is a goal like Carrey’s that truly gives his efforts a purpose: to be successful and achieve greatness. Because of his ability to use comedy to cope with his personal issues, Carrey found a profession “worth [his] time”. By looking in the mirror, Jim Carrey not only was able to transform his body, but he was also able to transform his life in ways unimaginable.

Wild Card

Funny Can’t Create Happy

A constant theme throughout my portfolio has been perseverance through the scars of life, for both myself and other comedians. Unfortunately in today’s society, self-harm and suicide are serious problems. Each year, thousands of people in America alone believe that whatever scars they have are just too deep. People of all races, genders, social standing, ethnicity, and age choose to terminate their fight with life. Often times celebrities are put onto a pedestal of living a perfect life without real problems, because what can’t money fix?

In the twisted world we live in today, we have created a warped perception of what perfect is. Perfect is having money, beauty, success, an attractive partner, the nicest clothes, and a top-notch job. Unfortunately the ideal life that we often create for ourselves is a life out of reach for most people. These disappointments of unemployment, weight gain, divorce, and fleeting beauty leave many feeling depressed. The darkness brought on by depression is something that 1 in 10 Americans feel every single day. Many find happiness in the lives of others, oftentimes in celebrities whether that is a reality television show like the Kardashians or through comedy like Tosh.0. While both comedy and reality television is intended to entertain it should not be forgotten that at the center of these shows are normal people.

In 2013 the world lost one of comedies greatest, from his blockbuster films: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Good Will Hunting, RV, Flubber, and Man of the Year, to his stand-up comedy acts, Robin Williams was a man that could make anyone laugh. The horrible suicide death of Robin Williams serves as a message that everyone hurts, no matter how rich someone is or perfect life may seem, people are often dealing with something so much deeper than anyone else can fathom. Dr. Rami Kaminski of Columbia University spoke words that should be carefully considered. He states that “the reason so many comedians are at risk for mental illness is because being funny is not the same thing as being happy.” Comedians often suffer from mental wounds because their only job is to make people laugh, and while cracking jokes temporarily may help comedians to cope with depression the practice of making others laugh. Comedians such as Chris Farley, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, and Dave Chappell put on a mask that causes them seem funny and happy to the public. Unfortunately funny and happy are not the same thing.[1] Funniness creates a temporary happiness that is quickly fleeting, however being happy is a more permanent state of being. In a flash, the “mask” can turn into another personality deeper and darker than other personalities.

However, Chris Gerhard argues that it is unfair to place the stereotype that all comedians suffer from mental illness or self-harm. Gerhard said that Williams could make people laugh despite “darkness and awful situations and separated families and cancer-stricken kids and even aliens who feel alone in the world because no one else will ever truly know what it is to be him.” Gerhard addressed the question of “do comedians have to be depressed to be funny?” by saying, “the answer is no. All kinds of people get depressed — comedians just happen to be people that professionally deal with the manipulation of happiness, laughter, and other positive emotions, so maybe it stands out more or gets more pronounced.”

Depression and self-harm is not a scar prevalent to comedians only, but a growing problem in all of today’s society. Although comedians struggle with internal scars just as much as the next person, comedians must be commended for bringing to light personal and world issues through comedy. [2] Comedians such as Robin Williams and Chris Farley should not be condemned for loosing their battles with depression, but should be respected for being a light in the darkness to those who witnessed their humor. Although these men, along with many others were unable to overcome the scars left by life, they were able to heal others with their comedy.

[1] Neporent, Liz. “What’s the Deal With Comedians and Depression?” ABC News. ABC News Network, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

[2] Huffman, Alan. “Robin Williams Suicide: Is There A Link Between Comedy And Depression?” International Business Times. N.p., 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.

Peer Review

Allie,

​In your writing, I feel as if you did an excellent job choosing topics that were relatable and interesting to our generation. In addition to choosing interesting topics, you did a really good job presenting your topics in a unique light. I felt as if the strongest parts of your papers were found at the start and end. In addition to the strong introduction and conclusion, the body paragraphs did a good job relating back to the rest of the paper. For the most part you also had minimal grammatical errors throughout your portfolio. I really enjoyed going through your portfolio. I was interested throughout the entire work. As a whole, your portfolio flows nicely and does a good job relating all the topics back together.

In your first paper, there were a couple of instances were you could have added to your paper by addressing certain claims in greater depth. Throughout your portfolio, you made minimal grammatical errors, but the errrors made need to be fixed in order to avoid making a lesser grade than you deserve. Overall your portfolio was really great though, I can tell you worked really hard on it.

GO DAWGS!

Sarah Harper

Revision Process

The writing process used in Mr. Simrill’s English 1102 class, was a process unlike any other writing process I have used before. Since the class was based off of comedy, I began each process by getting on YouTube and searching comedy sketches until I found one that I was interested in researching more for a paper. Once I chose what to write on, I would begin to re-watch the comedy scene, this time more slowly writing down every single word of the sketch, along with any key mannerisms. Once I knew exactly what the sketch was saying, the true research process began.

For both of my papers, as well as, for my Wildcard, I began my research on Wikipedia. By gaining simple background knowledge on both the real world issue found inside the comedy piece and information on the comedians personal life, I was able to choose an approach to write from. Approach in hand, I then was able to start getting into more scholarly research starting by simply Googling my comedian and my topic to learn more reliable information about them. Following research on Google, I began to look for books that were also relatable. The research process took far longer to complete than the writing process. With that being said, the depth of research that Mr. Simrill expected from us made the writing process so much easier.

Once I gathered all of my research I began to start writing my papers. The introduction and conclusion took me significantly longer to write than the main body paragraphs. I always began writing by choosing what to base my thesis off and then writing my body paragraphs around that. I finished my papers by making sure that my conclusion and introduction were strong and relevant.

The writing process of Jim Carrey was the same as my paper on SNL parodies of Sarah Palin, however for the second paper, a lot more work was involved than the first paper, so we chose a partner to collaborate with. Thankfully, my partner was my friend Ben. Having a partner that I was actually friends with made the process so much easier. We decided to spilt Jim Carrey’s “Unnatural Acts” into two each annotating half of the stand-up routine. From the half of the routine that I annotated, I was in charge of coming up with three body paragraphs and concluding the paper. Ben was in charge of coming up with the introduction and then three more body paragraphs. Although we did much of the work on our own, it was nice that we were able to sit down and help each other brain storm what to write on and to make sure that our conclusion and introduction flowed well.

During the process of writing each paper, we would be able to go in and meet with Mr. Simrill. He kept suggesting to me that I start a paper with a story. For a while I did not understand what that truly meant, I also felt like a simple story would take away from the overall quality of the work. Once I understood what he meant by “tell a story,” I feel like my papers greatly improved. I feel like using a personal story made the paper much more relatable to the audience and in the case of my second paper a personal story about Jim Carrey made him seem much more human and approachable.

For both of my papers, I first began my revision process by looking over the remarks of Mr. Simrill. I made simple changes including the changes that he suggested to me, as well as, other changes that jumped out at me. Following making these minor changes, I emailed my paper to my partner Allie so that I could get her feedback on potential things that they thought I should fix. Upon receiving their advice, I made more changes to my paper. A major theme in the feedback from both my peers and my teacher was that I would make a really good point and then fail to elaborate on what I was trying to prove.

In January, I struggled with understanding just how this English class was going to work. I have always been great at researching a topic and then writing on it, I was expecting to walk into class and learn that my class was going to be on civil rights, poetry, or feminism like many of friends English 1102 classes. A class based off comedy is something that I certainly was not expecting, however but something I needed. When I sat down to start my portfolio, I struggled to find a way that Jim Carrey’s stand-up routine was in any way similar to Tina Fey’s take on Sarah Palin during the 2008 election. I quickly realized that I was looking too far into the comedy and completely ignoring the deeper scars of both Jim Carrey and Tina Fey. Through my research of both Fey and Carrey, I was able to see how their childhoods have shaped the people they are today. Although, I can not say that I completely mastered the type of writing used through my papers, with each revision I feel like my papers came together a little bit more.