Jim Carrey once thanked Don Knotts when he visited the set of How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Even idols have their own idols.
The wonderful thing about talented actors is the ripple effect they have on the entertainment industry. While someone like Don Knotts was making people laugh during his time on The Andy Griffith Show and subsequent projects, he was also in part responsible for the laughs that were created by comedians who had seen Knott's work and taken it as inspiration.
According to The Los Angeles Times, comedy greats of old and new collided during the production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, directed by another great from The Andy Griffith Show, Ron Howard. Don Knotts visited the set of the production, where he was able to meet and chat with the film's star, Jim Carrey. There, Carrey was able to express his thanks to Knotts, particularly for one film in his repertoire.
The article states that Carrey told an interviewer, "I went to him [Knotts], and I was just like, 'Thank you so much for The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." He added, "I watched it a hundred times when I was a kid."
Carrey is not the only comedian who found Knotts to be an inspiration. The article also notes that Martin Short has cited Knotts as an influence on his material. Short also cited that the character of Nathan Thurm, best known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live, was based on Knott's iconic "nervous man" character.
Such is the great circle of life of comedy. Although Knotts passed away in 2006, fans are still able to rewatch some of his best moments and laugh all over again. Perhaps even more important, in cases like Martin Short and Jim Carrey, who were influenced by that same comedic material, it sort of means that Don Knotts has a hand in making us laugh today, after all these years.