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Jim Carrey’s comedy is inspired by Bill Murray… and an eccentric cat

Jim Carrey has starred in some of the best comedy movies of the last few decades. It turns out that we have Bill Murray, and a cat, to thank for the laughs.

Jim Carrey says Bill Murray and a cat are his comedy inspirations

Nobody gets comedy quite like Jim Carrey. The ’90s at the multiplex were dominated by Jim Carrey and his gurning, rubbery theatrics in the likes of Ace Ventura and The Mask. He’s got some of the best comedy movies ever in his back catalog, so he knows what he’s talking about.

But like any of the best actors, Carrey has influences who have guided his approach to making people laugh in his best movies. In an interview with Film Threat, he explained that Groundhog Day star Bill Murray is a big part of how he looks at the art of comedy.

“Comedy you have to come at with a smile. You have to come at it with some kind of, it’s like the seed of a joygasm. There is something going on behind the person’s eyes. That’s why I love Bill Murray, because there’s just something behind his eyes that tells the audience: ‘I am not serious in any way’.”

We can all understand a big screen comedian citing Murray as an influence, but Carrey continued by explaining that a household pet was just as important to shaping his shtick.

He said: “I get a lot of my inspiration from animals for some reason. I used to have a cat that was really squirrely. He would get this look where his ears would kind of go back and you knew he was going to do something horrible – climb the curtains or something.

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“He would get this squirrely look on his face and it hit me. I was looking at it one day and I went: ‘That is the feeling that I want inside when I’m on camera’. I want the audience to have the feeling that I’m about to climb the curtains, do something nutty.”

As bizarre as this sounds, we see what Carrey is getting at. There’s an unpredictability to Carrey’s comedy vehicles that keeps the audience – and presumably his co-stars – on their toes. The joy of Carrey is having no idea what he’ll do next, but knowing it’ll be hilarious.

For more of the comedy icon, learn why Jim Carrey hated filming his best movie and find out which Hollywood legend Carrey says is his “unreachable” movie hero.