How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was pretty laid back. My little ones helped me make noodles from scratch and a berry pie too, we watched the Dallas Cowboys get smoked by the Chargers, and then, after putting the kiddos to bed, I checked out Netflix's Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond documentary that's all about Jim Carrey's portrayal of Andy Kaufman.
It didn't disappoint either.
As a kid, I idolized Jim Carrey's characters and annoyed the heck out of family and friends with my Ace Ventura and Lloyd Christmas impersonations. In the documentary, I found his take on character development fascinating, but one line more than any other stuck with me.
Carrey referenced his original stand-up routines and how, after his set had ended and he lay in bed each night, he would stare at the ceiling and ask himself: What do they want? What do they need from me?
I don't know if everyone struggles with these types of questions, but I certainly do.
Carrey determined the answer to that self-reflective question was that his audience wanted to get away from the world. He decided they needed him to be carefree.
Not necessarily a ground-breaking thought for an audience to expect any good comedian to help them forget their troubles for awhile, I know. But the next night when Carrey walked on-stage, he took the microphone, and, without pause, quickly said: "Good evening. I'm Jim Carrey. How are you tonight? Allllll-righty then!"
And it killed.
The audience loved it and that's where Ace Ventura's famed "Allllll-righty then!" originated.
Honestly, I started laughing again even as I typed because I could still hear his fantastic delivery of that trademark line. It’s also why Carrey’s questions have stuck with me. Every night since Thanksgiving, I’ve lain in bed wondering: What do they want? What do they need from me?
I suppose the answer is much the same for any creative endeavor; audiences, readers, viewers – we all want an escape from reality for as long as the entertainer can provide it.
As an author, I assume you want the next Salted series book as soon as possible, so you can learn where the story is going next…but my former job as a management consultant taught me not to assume the easiest answer is always the right one.
And so I ask you, dear reader: What do you need from me? What do you want?
Finally, to close out this month of Thanksgiving, I also wanted to say one last thing: Thank you, dear reader.
Authors may not receive the live reactions and laughter that comedians do to know whether our material is working or not, but the kind emails, the book reviews, book sales, and/or coming out to have your books signed in person -- it all certainly makes up the difference, so thank you again.
Allllll-righty then I hope your Thanksgiving was fantastic!
Author. Actor. Rascal.