Did Jim Carrey Quit Acting?

In the latter half of the ‘90s, there was scarcely a point at which you could go to a movie theater and there wasn’t a Jim Carrey comedy playing. The celebrated actor, who first rose to prominence with the ludicrous flick Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, has gone on to star in more than 40 feature films over the last few decades. But in recent years, Carrey hasn’t been a fixture on the silver screen. Did he leave Hollywood?

The movies that made Carrey famous

Jim Carrey attends For Your Consideration Screening Of Showtime's Kidding at Linwood Dunn Theater on May 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jim Carrey attends For Your Consideration Screening Of Showtime’s Kidding at Linwood Dunn Theater on May 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Carrey had supporting roles in various films such as Peggy Sue Got Married and Earth Girls Are Easy in the 1980s. He also starred in the sketch series In Living Color throughout its run. But it wasn’t until 1994 that Carrey became a bonafide movie star, headlining three comedies: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.

The actor continued to star in popular comedic films over the next two decades, including Liar, Liar, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Bruce Almighty. However, Carrey hasn’t had a part in a comedy since 2014’s sequel Dumb and Dumber To.  

He segued into more serious roles

Though he’ll always be best known as a comedian, Carrey pivoted a bit in his career beginning in the late ‘90s. The Truman Show, while it had its funny moments, was a bit more of a science-fiction/dramatic event than his previous work. The biopic Man on the Moon was about comedian Andy Kauffman, but it was decidedly dark at times.

Though he had a few missteps, like psychological thriller The Number 23, Carrey managed to prove himself as a dramatic actor. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a cult favorite, and black comedy I Love You Phillip Morris has earned its fair share of praise as well.

What has Carrey done recently?

While Carrey hasn’t appeared in a movie since 2016’s Dark Crimes, he didn’t exactly quit acting. But he did take the time to try out some other avenues, including acting as an executive producer for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here.

Carrey has continued to work with Showtime on his own starring vehicle: He portrays Jeff Piccirillo, the host of kid’s show who struggles with his day job after experiencing a personal tragedy. Additionally, he plays the villain, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, in the upcoming live-action film Sonic the Hedgehog.  

Here’s what he had to say about Kidding

In a comedic actor’s roundtable for the Hollywood Reporter, Carrey spoke about Kidding, which has been renewed for a second season scheduled to come out in 2019. He dubbed it a “calomedy” — a mash-up of the words calamity and comedy.

“It’s about a calamity and it’s handled with humor and levity, and pretty much that’s what I do,” he continued. “Every trauma — and I could build a ladder to the stars with the things that have happened or the things that I’ve had to endure — but they’ve all turned into something really creative.”

Carrey explains why he’s an actor

Acting is a very difficult profession, and people get into it for a number of reasons. At the roundtable, Carrey said, “I act because I’m broken in a lot of pieces and acting gives me a chance to reconfigure those pieces into a thousand different things that are positive for people to watch.”

He continued, “And eventually I will be ground down into a fine powder and …” Don Cheadle finished the sentence for him (“Snorted? Is that how you want to go out?”) but, despite the complicated answer, Ted Danson called his thoughts “remarkably truthful.” Carrey finished by saying, “We are all broken, let’s face it.”

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