“We in America are misinformed,” said Jim Carrey as he accepted the British Academy’s Charlie Chaplin Award for Humour. He went on to say: “Reality shows have warped our idea of what a hero is, or what the truth is.”
Jim Carrey has taken the opportunity to rail on Donald Trump at a recent awards ceremony in Los Angeles, criticising in particular the president’s immigration detention policy and the conspiracy theories that have gone mainstream in the wake of “fake news”.
The actor, best known for films such as The Truman Show, Dumb and Dumber and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as well as Charlie Kaufmann biopic Man on the Moon in which he arguably delivered his finest performance, said “We in America are misinformed. Reality shows have warped our idea of what a hero is, or what the truth is.”
Recently appearing in feature-length behind the scenes documentary film Jim and Andy, detailing the making-of Man on the Moon, Carrey has turned his attentions to his art which has focused on criticising Donald Trump in recent months.
One piece showed bombs coming out of Trump’s mouth. He posted a picture of it on Twitter, saying the perpetrator of the recent letter bombs to prominent left-wing public figures had been “emboldened by the hate speech of Donald Trump.”
Carrey’s rousing award acceptance saw him draw comparison with Charlie Chaplin, who the award is named after, saying the brilliant early Hollywood film star was an “artistic and humanitarian hero”, pointing out the fact he was a critic of “capitalism without a conscience”.
“He took on the American right wing of his day, its worst evils, hatred of immigrants, contempt for the truth, greed, and the abuse of power. We are fighting those same evils today.
“Without empathy like he had, this character [of the Little Tramp] would never have existed. Without empathy we won’t either.”
Carrey, who is currently starring in Showtime’s series Kidding, talked about Chaplin’s struggle growing up because of his absentee father and a mother who was committed to an asylum when the actor was just 14, saying that kind of pain can create monsters but also “fountains of creativity.”
The actor, who in The Truman Show highlighted the hypocrisy of the media as well as its ability to distort the truth, came down heavily on the Trump administration’s immigrant detention policy. “Shamelessness is not nor will ever be a superpower. It is the mark of a villain. Kidnapping children is not what great nations do. Almost half of America at this moment believes there is a sinister deep state diabolically plotting to… what? Give them healthcare?”
He added, “We can do better than this. I know this wasn’t funny but it is not very funny right now. I want it to be and I will be again, but godammit let’s get the balance back, okay?” The actor’s impassioned speech drew a standing ovation.