Why Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden Impression on ‘SNL’ Didn’t Work, According to Reddit
It was considered quite a coup for Saturday Night Live in 2019 when it announced who it had landed to impersonate Presidential front-runner Joe Biden. Sure, Alec Baldwin was a big star, certainly a bigger get than Darrell Hammond or Taran Killam, so he brought some celebrity juice to the political sketches. But even Baldwin was never as big a movie star as Jim Carrey, the rubber-faced comic and impressive mimic who stepped in to portray Biden.
It didn’t last long. Six episodes in, Carrey left the gig via his now-deleted Twitter account: “Though my term was only meant to be 6 weeks, I was thrilled to be elected as your SNL President…comedy’s highest call of duty. I would love to go forward knowing that Biden was the victor because I nailed that s***. But I am just one in a long line of proud, fighting SNL Bidens!”
But did he nail that shit? A Los Angeles Times headline read, “SNL Fans Deserve Better Than Four Years of Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden.” Reddit user u/HopScotchyScotch started a thread in the r/LiveFromNewYork subreddit declaring that while it wasn't terrible, Carrey’s impression “never felt right I guess for me.” So the question was raised: “Why do you think Jim Carrey’s Joe Biden didn’t work out?” Here are some of the most popular responses:
u/Jasminewindsong2 thought the impression “felt more like Jim Carrey than Joe Biden.” u/Liverpool510 took it one step further: “It felt like Jim Carrey as The Mask playing Clint Eastwood playing Joe Biden.”
Even though Carrey only lasted six episodes, u/TN232323 couldn’t believe SNL stuck with Carrey as long as they did. “The first time I saw JAJ (James Austin Johnson) I thought oh my god so many wasted years.”
For u/danegermaine99, the best Biden was Woody Harrelson. “Not because of his impression but because he had the best Biden line: ‘I’m like plastic straws. I’ve been around forever, I’ve always worked, and now you’re mad at me?’”
u/MattyBeatz also gave Jason Sudeikis props for his Biden when he was vice president under Obama, calling it “fun because it was just loud and charismatic.”
We’ll let u/DC_Coach have the last word: “Carrey is a legend, but most of that is built on his balls-to-the-wall batshite characters (Fire Marshall Bill, Ace Ventura, Mask, etc., etc.). You'd rarely say that Carrey disappears into his character (caveat: I've not seen his Kaufman movie, but I've heard very good things about it in that regard, so that could be the exception that proves the rule).
"Impressions, however, are a different thing entirely. Dana Carvey never did/does 100 percent accurate impressions, I suppose because they wouldn't be nearly as funny - he always throws some kind of a kink or curve ball into the impression (Perot: Can I finish?)... but, his impressions are unique unto themselves, Carvey himself doesn't outshine the gimmick. I think with Carrey, maybe he does outshine whatever he's trying to do with an impression.”
In other words? Too much Carrey, not enough Biden.