20 Years Ago: Jim Carrey Asks MTV to Play More Foghat
Jim Carrey brought down the house at the MTV Movie Awards on June 5, 1999.
That's when he accepted the Best Male Performance award for his role in The Truman Show in character, disguising himself as a stoned-out hippie with long grungy hair, sunglasses and a thick beard -- looking a bit like a slimmer version of Jim Morrison at the end of his life.
Carrey began by singing a variation on Eric Clapton's "Let It Grow," then said that, after being snubbed by the Oscars for his acclaimed performance in The Truman Show, he was now going to embrace his true self.
He accepted the award on behalf of his “new biker friends” and thanked MTV for “an excuse to party one more time,” but he also took exception with their programming. Carrey added that he liked "rap music as much as the next frightened Caucasian, but, you know, would it kill you every once in a while to play a little Foghat?”
Watch Jim Carrey at the 1999 MTV Movie Awards
Even after bellowing a few more lines of "Let It Grow" and walking off, Carrey didn't break. As Janeane Garofolo, who presented the award with Mike Myers, told MTV, "Afterwards, when we were walking off, I tried to talk to him as Jim and he wasn't having it."
Carrey's shtick surprised everyone. "I knew his car had arrived, and I went looking for him and I couldn't find him in the green room," MTV talent manager Art Arellanes recalled. "But people kept telling me, 'He's in the green room.' Well, they didn't tell me he's in disguise. ... I went in, I took one look at him and I thought it was Rob Zombie."
Even though Foghat never spoke directly to Carrey about the tribute, the band's drummer, Roger Earl, expressed thanks for Carrey’s words in an interview broadcast on WXBR radio. "I haven’t spoken to Jim Carrey about it, but I did see it live,” Earl recalled. "Thank you, Jim!" He stated Carrey was a “brilliant actor,” and that it was great to hear he was a Foghat fan.
It wasn't Carrey's first time playing a drugged-out rocker. Prior to his breakout on Fox's In Living Color, he appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1988 movie The Dead Pool as fictional rocker Johnny Squares, who's makes a music video lip-syncing to Guns N’ Roses' “Welcome to the Jungle.” Some of the band's members have small roles in the movie too.
Watch Jim Carrey in 'The Dead Pool'
Nearly a decade later, Carrey performed a version of Jefferson Airplane’s "Somebody to Love" in the 1996 comedy-thriller The Cable Guy. The famous karaoke scene involves Carrey awkwardly flailing his body and limbs all over the floor and room to amuse the party-goers.
Watch Jim Carrey in 'The Cable Guy'