How I taught Jim Carrey everything he knows

Early on in life my goal was to be famous. That way people would ask for my autograph.

(Editor’s note: This column is excerpted from Ray Smit’s new book, The Trouble With Tapioca available at Amazon.com.)

Early on in life my goal was to be famous. That way people would ask for my autograph.

When I was nine, I wanted to be a lead singer like Mick Jagger. Mom was very encouraging. In order to help me get just the right acoustics she’d put me in the recreation room at the far end of the house and close the door. The dog, always amiable, would sing along. The more I sang, the louder she got. When we reached a fever pitch, the neighbours would phone. I overheard them mentioning ‘animal cruelty’ and ‘noise pollution.’ Mom said it was nice of them to suggest such groovy names for my band.

Strangely, Mom and Dad decided a singing career wasn’t my destiny. But they did eventually buy me an acoustic guitar. Dad was adamant that it not be an electric because those awful, long haired Beatles played electric guitars. I guess he was into Dylan…

After my first lesson, the teacher decided I should play left-handed. I went home and told Dad that I was going to play just like Paul McCartney.

“Paul who?”

“You know, like the Beatles.”

“Oh no,” he said. “No Beatles. You tell Paul McCartney to find another student.”

“But Dad, Paul McCartney wouldn’t have come here anyway.”

“Unreliable hippies! Won’t even give lessons at home! No, you’ll take lessons at the conservatory!”

So, while my friends formed bands and played Hey Jude and Jumping Jack Flash, I learned the Pollywog Song and The Little Rabbit Dance. Despite scores of auditions, I wasn’t asked to join any rock bands. Professional jealousy I guess because no one can rock Miss Holly Had A Dolly like me.

A few years later, my friend Steve taught me a few simple Chuck Berry tunes. We joined the Sutton high school band and often played concerts at elementary schools from Jackson’s Point to Keswick. Having the biggest mouth, I got to emcee. Whenever we did Johnny B Goode, I’d ask, “Do you kids remember the fifties?”

And they’d all scream, “Yeah!”

Then I’d reply, “What a bunch of liars!” Because every one of those kids was born in the sixties. That always got a big laugh. Then I’d tell a few more jokes and we’d play some rock’n’roll.

Years later I learned that Jim Carrey lived in Jackson’s Point at exactly that time. Undoubtedly, he was in the audience for some if not all of my performances. He must have been so impressed by my jokes that it inspired him to become a comedian. Yes, in all humility, it was my humour that started Jim Carrey on the road to stardom! Without me he might have ended up as a Port Perry proctologist.

Anyway, after those shows the kids would rush the stage and ask their favourite performers for autographs. So it’s very likely I signed an autograph for Jim Carrey. He must have been thrilled! My quest for fame got sidetracked after high school but was resurrected when I got this newspaper column in 1999. One of the nicer benefits is that, every now and then, someone will recognize me. I asked my brother if he thought people would start asking me for my autograph.

“Only if it’s on a credit card receipt.”

“Very funny.”

“Look, Ray, how long has it been since someone asked for your autograph?”

“Thirty odd years. So what?”

“So this! Sic Transit Gloria. Fame is fleeting.”

I guess Jay was right. Fame doesn’t last. And I can live with that. After all, I’m a very modest kind of guy. I also take some solace that my protégé Jim Carrey has had some success too.

And I’m sure that whenever someone asks for his autograph, he thinks of me. And I guess that’s reward enough. So maybe the next time you feel an irresistible urge to ask for my autograph, contain yourself.

Modesty forbids.

Ray Smit’s column appears every second Thursday in The NEWS. E-mail:

raymondsmit@shaw.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Nanoose Bay man sentenced after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, given six-month sentence after beating pet he was supposed to be caring for

The graph provided by the City of Parksville in a release issued on May 4, depicting a balanced financial budget for 2021. (submitted photo)
City of Parksville announces a balanced budget for 2021

Penalty date for property tax payments extended from July 2 to Oct. 1

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read