Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Best-selling novelist Jim Carrey talks about prepping his soul for nuclear holocaust that one time

Jim Carrey, Jimmy Fallon
Jim Carrey, Jimmy Fallon
Screenshot: The Tonight Show

So, remember that morning we all thought Hawaii was going to be wiped of the map by a nuclear attack? (It was January 2018, if your Trump- and pandemic-pummeled memory has lost all sense of time.) Well, that ten-minute stretch of existential horror is captured in the cover photo of Memoirs And Misinformation, the New York Times bestselling book from first-time novelist and guy who confronted the unthinkable on the islands themselves, Jim Carrey. Telling Jimmy Fallon on Thursday’s Tonight Show that he and his daughter were in Hawaii when the alarm was sounded, Carrey said that—after doing the disaster movie dad thing of futilely scrambling to see if he could somehow get his daughter out of nuclear blast range in eight minutes—he retired to the lanai and waited for the end. (Or The End.) “All I was planning to do was close my eyes and be thankful, because its been a good ride,” Carrey told an edge-of-his-seat Fallon.

Jim Carrey and the people of Hawaii (and, you know, Earth) didn’t die, of course, as the whole, soul-shredding international panic attack turned out to be one of those wacky end-of-the-world mixups. Still, as Carrey was in Hawaii working on his novel, the book’s “crazy, apocalyptic ending” no doubt gained some added color in the telling. As Carrey explained, Memoirs And Misinformation is a memoir in the sense that it’s about an entertainer named Jim Carrey whose rise to Hollywood prominence emerges “dressed up like a kooky parade float.” (Apparently Nicolas Cage and Gary Busey show up along the way, as is the way of all kooky parades.) Joking that his being a best-selling novelist is “a good sign for me, a terrible sign for the planet,” the actor, comedian, painter, and now author said that the various celebrities who also make barely disguised appearances in his “monkey puzzle” of a book shouldn’t worry—too much. (Still being Jim Carrey the comic, he elaborately pantomimed some varied reactions.)

Still, for renaissance guy Carrey, writing the book (alongside Dana Vachon) was an exercise in truth-telling through kaleidoscopic obfuscation, as he claims that “the apocalypse goes in on this one.” Which is better than going out in a nuclear firestorm, no question. As for reader feedback, Carrey claimed the gift he received from the widow of early fan and mentor Rodney Dangerfield meant the most, as it consisted of Rodney’s favorite shirt, and pot pipe. “It’s the grail,” said Carrey of Dangerfield’s ever-present smoking implement, reminiscing about the time the neophyte comic opened for Rodney at Caesar’s Palace, much to the baffled consternation of audiences. “Man, they’re lookin’ at you like you’re from another freakin’ planet,” is how Carrey recalls Rodney’s appreciative reaction to the spectacle. At least that should help the mystical-minded Carrey find his way there, you know, should this planet ever actually succumb to some psycho world leader’s itchy button-finger.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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