Jim Carrey Was in a Deep Depression for Years When ‘SNL’ Didn’t Cast Him, Cheri Oteri Reveals

Not being cast on Saturday Night Live was such a massive blow for comedian Jim Carrey, he revealed it took him years to get over SNL‘s rejection.

SNL alum and comedian Cheri Oteri recently opened up about a conversation with Carrey when he hosted the show in 1996. Oteri was known for her character work and her iconic Spartan cheerleader sketch with Will Ferrell. She said being in the cheerleader sketch was important to Carrey. She later learned how much it meant to him when she had dinner at his home.

Jim Carrey opened up to Cheri Oteri about ‘SNL’

Oteri recalled having an important moment with Carrey. “He said when he first got there, ‘I wanna do the cheerleaders. My daughter’s obsessed. I’m obsessed.’ And so it was really important,” she said on the Hot Takes and Deep Dives with Jess Rothschild podcast.

Jim Carrey hosting SNL, smiling and wearing a black suit on stage.
Jim Carrey | Dana Edelson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“And he said to me, ‘Cheri, I auditioned for SNL, and I went into a deep depression when I didn’t get it. So deep, it lasted like a couple of years,'” she continued. “And I go, ‘Really?’ And he goes, ‘You don’t know this is the biggest dragon for me to slay.’ And it meant the world to him, and I could tell. So we took really so much care when we wrote the sketch. He ended up having, I think, the best show that I ever saw anybody have the whole five years I was there.”

He later cast Cheri Oteri in ‘Liar Liar’

Carrey ended up casting Oteri in the comedy film Liar Liar while rehearsing for SNL. “The week we were working on the show, he’s like, ‘Hey, you guys come to dinner with me.’ It was Will and I because we were rehearsing,” she recalled.

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“We went out to dinner with him at the Sony building, and there was like a restaurant in the Sony building,” Oteri continued. “And I don’t think everybody knew about. I don’t know, it was very secret. And there was like a Japanese chef in there. And Will and I were so tired, you know? But then he cast me in Liar Liar.

Oteri played Jane the receptionist in Liar Liar, which premiered in 1997. The plot was about a dishonest attorney (Carrey) whose son wishes his dad could stop lying for 24 hours. The son gets his wish, and hilarity ensues.

Cheri Oteri had a sweet and surprising encounter at Jim Carrey’s house

Later, Oteri recalled an amazingly sweet moment she experienced after a dinner party at Carrey’s house. It revealed how important Jim Carrey’s SNL experience was to the comedian. “So he’s having his dinner party,” she said. “And some fancy people were there, and it was really kind of like … we were intimidated, you know? But after dinner, I said, ‘Hey Jim, mind if I look around?’ He’s like, ‘Go ahead!'”

“We’re looking around, and I go into this room. And he’s got the [Riddler] all encased in glass. He’s got Ace Ventura,” she recalled. “All of his famous characters from his movies are encased in glass.”

“And then I saw the [SNL] cheerleading uniform and I was like, ‘What?’ So I went out to Will, and I show him, like ‘Look!’ And then I say to Jim, ‘Why do you have cheerleaders encased in glass?’ He said, ‘Cheri, that meant more to me than anything you could imagine.’ And he goes, ‘As I said, it was the biggest dragon for me to slay.'”

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