There are career years, and then there’s Jim Carrey‘s 1994.
Twenty-five years ago, the actor-comedian was wrapping up his memorable five-season run on Fox’s In Living Color when he went from the funny white guy on Fox’s popular sketch series to Hollywood’s biggest comedy star. Carrey’s big-screen breakthrough came via an unparalleled run; in an 11-month span, he starred in three box office smash hits — Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber — that, to this day, still remain in the zeitgeist. In honor of the milestone anniversary of these films, EW is celebrating Carrey’s big year.
Carrey was by no means a showbiz rookie when he found his monster success. At 32, the Canadian stand-up had been working in the industry for over a decade, having racked up a few small film roles and a one-season sitcom. His big break would come in 1990 when he joined Keenan Ivory Wayans‘ new sketch series, In Living Color, which became notable for featuring a predominately black cast and serving as a launching pad for Carrey, the Wayans brothers, Jamie Foxx, and Jennifer Lopez. That platform is what helped Carrey get back on the film radar. At the time, his biggest movie role had been 1989’s Earth Girls are Easy, a critical and commercial failure that has since developed a cult following. But, with In Living Color winding down (the Wayans family had all departed over creative differences with Fox), Carrey was ready to make the jump back to film — and audiences were clearly ready for him.
Armed with that chipped front tooth, the most annoying sound in the world, and an unforgettable suit, Carrey charmed as Lloyd Christmas (what a run of names with this, Ace, and Stanley Ipkiss), and proved to be more than deserving of the “comedic genius” title that costar Jeff Daniels bestowed upon him.