When beloved actor and political artist Jim Carrey pops up for a talk show, a red carpet, or a press junket, you can bet that gorgeous glass Riddler mug you bought from McDonald’s that he is going to keep the audience on its toes. The Man on the Moon star is seemingly incapable of giving a dull interview or acceptance speech, and every now and again, he will say or do something that is so funny, confusing, surprising, and/or downright contentious that the appearance will keep tongues wagging for days on end. (Or should we say they keep tongues flopping and rolling out of mouths, just like when Stanley Ipkiss saw Tina Carlyle’s performance, for days on end?)
For over two decades, Jim Carrey’s TV appearances have been something to behold, and now we shall revisit some of his most memorable interviews and award show visits. Below you will find some of the rubber-faced funnyman’s television moments that legitimately generated controversy, and others that were not actually at all controversial but were so, uh, unique that they got a lot of people talking, so we are going to keep them on the list. You say that is too much of a stretch? Oooooh, somebody stop me!
Jim Carrey gave Catt Sadler a ‘standout’ interview
This one threw a lot of people for a loop. At the Harper’s Bazaar ICONS party in 2017, Jim Carrey shocked Catt Sadler of E! News with his reason for attending. “I wanted to find the most meaningless thing I could come to and join and here I am … I mean, you’ve gotta admit it’s completely meaningless,” he told Sadler, before also pointing out he doesn’t “believe in icons” or “personalities” or even that Sadler exists. And when Sadler pointed out that he “got really dressed up” for the event, he countered with: “There is no me.”
Sadler told Teen Vogue that year that the conversation was a “standout” interview from her career. She shared that “people have come out of the woodwork” to talk to her about the moment, adding, “But that was definitely, that will be a ‘most memorable’ for me, for sure, because it was unexpected and out of nowhere, and that’s not something you can prepare for.” While she was thrown off by his answers, she “enjoyed” it.
Was he trying to generate press to promote Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond? Or was he really getting philosophical on the red carpet? It sounds like it was definitely the latter. Carrey later told TheWrap at TIFF 2017 that his musings were an “existential experiment.” He explained, “I believe I got famous so I could let go of fame, and it’s still happening, but not with me.”
Anytime is a good time for Jim Carrey’s physical comedy
When Jim Carrey wants to go full Jim Carrey, his shenanigans got a lot of attention. The Ace Ventura: Pet Detective star’s appearance on a February 2020 episode of Good Morning America opened with him playing air guitar on his own leg and serenading anchor Michael Strahan to the tune of “Slow Ride” by Foghat. And then, Carrey jumped out of his chair and squatted down like he was waiting for the center to hike the ball to the quarterback, looked up at Strahan, and asked the former football player if he’s “still got it.” And then, Carrey plucked a rose out of the flower arrangement that was on the table between them, gave it a sniff, and then put it back in its vase. And then, Carrey’s mic started acting up. So, he decided to put his face next to Strahan’s lapel and share the host’s mic.
The interview was not poorly received or scandalous by any stretch, but it was relatively high-octane for a morning chat show interview. E! News called it “bizarre;” People called it “wild;” Metro called it “surreal;” and Good Housekeeping called it “hilarious.” It made for dynamic television, to say the least, and the GMA host sure seemed to have a good time with The Mask actor. At the end of the segment, Strahan said, “You’re fun, man. I could do this all day long.”
Jim Carrey put his feet on a host’s furniture
As far as etiquette goes, putting your feet on someone else’s furniture is a big ol’ no-no. As for putting your giant fake rubber feet on a talk show host’s desk in the middle of an interview? Emily Post did not get to that one, but it feels safe to assume she would not be wild about Jim Carrey plopping said props on David Letterman’s desk in a 2013 episode of The Late Show. The Truman Show star strutted out on the stage in a huge pair of phony tootsies and a pair of “puny angel wings,” and opened up about his “awkward spiritual journey.” Carrey talked about feeling “peaceful,” and expressed his belief that “[heaven] is all around us.” He explained, “[Heaven is] not just afterlife. It’s here. This is the gift.”
Then, Carrey punctuated this earnest moment like only he could: He grabbed his mug, leaned back, and kicked his enormous rubber feet up on Letterman’s desk. And then, Letterman responded to this move like only he could: He stared at the “feet,” declined to massage them, and changed the subject. The feet stayed put for several more seconds.
Later, Carrey picked at the “toenails” to Letterman’s horror. Oh, but that would not be the worst of it. Near the end of the interview, Carrey pulled his right “foot” up toward his face and chewed on the “big toenail.” Emily Post, eat your toe out— er, heart out.
Even Jim Carrey couldn’t pull off ebola jokes
When Dumb and Dumber co-stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels hit the 2014 MTV VMAs to present the trophy for Best Pop Video, the segment was anything but dull. They kicked things off with a rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier,” and then Carrey demonstrated the myriad uses for the long scarf he was wearing. He threw the fabric over his face and told Daniels that it could shield him from any sandstorms that may happen at Coachella. And then he threw in a topical line that some found to be not-so-tasteful: “Guess who’s not getting Ebola at Coachella?” This was a direct reference to the Ebola epidemic of 2014, which lasted through 2016 and killed thousands of people. After the Ebola comment, Carrey danced around with the scarf and fell on the stage.
“I’ve always loved [Jim Carrey],” one viewer tweeted, “but why am I the only one who thinks it’s bs that he joked about #ebola at the #VMAs? #really though?” Another miffed microblogger fired off, “[Jim Carrey] that joke about Ebola was unnecessary and insensitive, people are currently dying/will die from the disease not cool,” and added 12 thumbs down emojis to really cement their displeasure.
This would not be the only time Carrey brought up the Ebola outbreak while it was still going on. Later that year, he “tested” David Letterman for the virus on an episode of The Late Show. The guy sure knows how to commit to a bit.
Jim Carrey accepted an award in character
Okay, this moment was not controversial, but it was fairly chaotic and definitely got gums flapping. When Jim Carrey went to the 1999 MTV Movie Awards dressed up like a hippie, he did not warn anyone that he was going to be there in character. And Carrey’s costume was so convincing that one of the people working on the show had trouble locating him. MTV talent manager Art Arellanes told MTV News that he could not find Carrey after Carrey arrived. He recalled, “I went in [the green room], I took one look at him and I thought it was Rob Zombie.”
When Janeane Garofalo and Mike Myers announced that Carrey won Best Male Performance for his work in The Truman Show, they were joined on the stage by someone who was mistaken for the director of House of 1000 Corpses earlier that evening. Carrey told the crowd that following the year’s “so-called Oscar race” left him without even a nomination, he realized he was ready to let his inner hippie take the wheel. “I decided right then and there that no matter what they tried to take away from me, I was gonna be who I really am,” he said.
It sounds like he stuck to this bit for the whole evening. Carrey told MTV News that Samuel L. Jackson didn’t recognize him when they chatted backstage, and Garofalo shared that “he wasn’t having it” when she “tried to talk to him as Jim.”
An odd answer at a press junket went viral
In February 2020, Jim Carrey said something to a reporter in the middle of an interview that sure got people buzzing. When speaking with Carrey ahead of the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, Heat‘s Charlotte Long asked if there are any items on the accomplished actor’s “bucket list.” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Just you. That’s it. It’s all done now.” Long, who was clearly caught off guard by the answer, laughed and told her interview subject she did not know how to respond to that. Carrey recommended she “Just own it.” Some wrote this off as a harmless joke, but others found Carrey’s answer inappropriate. Jezebel dubbed it “creepy,” HuffPost described it as “awkward,” and AOL.com noted that the interaction “raises concerns” and called the answer “dicey.”
After the video recording of the interview made the internet rounds, Carrey’s rep shut down the criticism that already percolated through social media. In a statement provided to USA TODAY, his rep said, “This is a ridiculous non-story. Jim’s full quote was ‘Just you! That’s it, I’m all done now!’ clearly and good-naturedly referring to the interview as being on the top of his bucket list.” The statement went on to say that his comment was “in no way a reference to the journalist herself.” Alrighty then!
Jim Carrey’s congratulations for Margot Robbie raised some eyebrows
Jim Carrey made a few remarks about fellow guest Margot Robbie’s physical appearance and talent on a February 2020 episode of The Graham Norton Show and wow did those remarks ever rub some viewers the wrong way. At one point during the show, Carrey turned to the Birds of Prey star and said, “It’s incredible that you’ve gotten as far as you have with your obvious physical disadvantages.” As Robbie and the audience laughed, Carrey added, “It’s really something. That’s just pure talent there, just a talent override there.”
Some viewers took umbrage with the comments and took to Twitter to call Carrey’s words “condescending,” label him a “#creepyweirdo,” and point out the issue with apparently implying an accomplished actor achieved success only because of her looks. Others believed there was not any issue with what he said to Robbie, and that it was nothing more than a case of people not being able to take a joke.
This interaction happened (and went viral) only a week before Carrey dropped the aforementioned bucket list line in an interview (and went viral). Carrey sure was making a splash during that Sonic the Hedgehog press tour in February 2020.
Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey’s take on vaccines was a whole thing
In April 2009, Jim Carrey and then-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy went on Larry King Live to discuss their stance on vaccines. The pair was joined by McCarthy’s co-author on Healing and Preventing Autism, Dr. Jerry Kartzinel, and Generation Rescue founder J.B. Handley, and given how polarizing the conversation surrounding vaccines is, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that this interview racked up some attention. McCarthy and Carrey, who reject the “anti-vaxxer” title, talked to Larry King about autism and why they believe the “vaccine schedule is too bloated right now.” At one point in the segment, Carrey said, “Autism is the canary in the coal mine. I believe that it’s telling us that this vaccine program is imbalanced. It’s a good thing that’s gone too far.”
Right after the episode aired, Dr. David Gorksi posted a response to the interview on the blog Science-Based Medicine, calling it part of the “Jenny and Jim antivaccine propaganda tour.” He also claimed the segment featured “new misinformation added to the old misinformation being peddled by the antivaccine movement.” Later that year, McCarthy and Carrey’s Larry King Live appearance was referenced in a Wired feature by Amy Wallace titled “How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endanger Us All.” Needless to say, this interview with King was not everyone’s cup of tea.