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Jim Carrey’s ‘Kidding’ Co-Stars Compare His Character to Mr. Rogers: He’s a ‘Vessel for Joy’

In the new Showtime series, “Kidding,” Jim Carrey stars as Jeff Pickles, a Fred Rogers-like children’s television show host clinging to his wholesome persona while his personal life implodes.

Jim Carrey, just being a vessel for joy, imbues with certain nostalgia that’s reminiscent of Mr. Rogers,” show creator David Holstein told Variety on Wednesday night at the series’ premiere in Hollywood. “In the time that we live in right now, if we had a Mr. Rogers around to tell us to do the right thing, we’d see a lot of different things on the television than we do now.”

Swinging from moments of heartwarming smiles to gut wrenching turns, audiences get Carrey at his comedic and dramatic best. As Mr. Pickles, we follow his valiant efforts to remain morally upright, while the world around him seemingly does not want to follow suit.

“Jeff Pickles wants to stay good, which is very difficult,” show executive producer Raffi Adlan said. “He’s not ‘Breaking Bad,’ he’s trying to stay good.

“Because he’s real, he doesn’t waiver from his morals and the rules he sets for himself,” he added. “As a result we’re seeing a real person, that’s something you don’t necessarily see in a series.”

While the cast was all smiles for the night, they were aware that show’s mission is to tackle heavy subjects at the toughest of times.

“It’s analogous to what’s happening,” said Catherine Keener, who co-stars Mr. Pickles’s sister Deirdre. “The context is very bleak, but he’s punching through.”

Ginger Gonzaga, who plays Vivan, added, “Things can get really bad, as they are in our country right now. You just have to be like, ‘Oh, but Colin Kaepernick is now the face of Nike, and there are people trying to do their best and to grow and trying to be better.”

“I think you have to champion hope in life…because we live in Trump times,” she added. “I think if we lose that, then we’re screwed.”

For Keener, it is also a call to reattach. “It’s not just an art to converse verbally with someone, it’s a necessity,” she said. “You have to look up and see someone’s eyes. It’s part of the whole nuance of communication.“

Kidding” debuts Sept. 10 on Showtime.

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