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Jim Carrey had a sensational run as one of the most prolific comedians in the entertainment industry through much of the 1990s and 2000s. Films such as The Mask and Liar Liar cast him into superstardom and earned him immense wealth.

However, despite his success later in life, his earlier years were much different. He and his family had financial struggles that culminated in them living in a tent and working together as janitors and security guards. 

Jim Carrey’s dad lost his job during the comedian’s childhood

Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey attends the LA special screening of Paramount’s “Sonic The Hedgehog” | Rich Fury/WireImage

Although Carrey often has a chipper demeanor in interviews and films, he had more than his fair share of struggles as a child. He recalled his early childhood during a resurfaced 2003 interview with Howard Stern

“I had an odd childhood, it was a lot more messed up than I thought, apparently,” Carrey said. “According to the team of doctors. … We had some tough times, sure.” 

Carrey admitted that the catalyst for Carrey’s troubled childhood was his father losing his job. 

“You know, honestly, at the beginning—well when my father lost his job I was pissed,” Carrey said. “It was one of those things, ‘My dad, how dare the universe?’”

He and his dad lived at campsites in a tent

Unable to afford a home, Carrey and his father had to live in a tent at various locations throughout Canada. 

“For a while, we pitched a tent on my sister’s lawn in the country,” Carrey said. “And then for a while, we went to campsites around Ontario. And we’d use the facilities there and we actually had a lot of fun. We had more fun there than we did when we were doing this job that we didn’t like.”

Jim Carrey worked as a janitor and security guard with his parents during childhood


Jim Carrey Once Revealed His Biggest Childhood Fear: ‘Things Like That Would Just Shake me to the Core’

Because money was tight, Carrey, his mom, and his dad had to work together, swapping roles as janitors and security guards to make ends meet. Only a young teenager, Carrey hated the job so much he would often take out his frustration in destructive ways. 

“Every day, my father would come to relieve me from my eight-hour shift, and there would be a new hole in the wall in the office,” Carrey said. “Shaped like my fist. And I’d have some trumped-up excuse, ‘The buffer, it just, it flew out of my hand.’”

Factory workers played cruel pranks on Jim Carrey 

To make matters worse, the employees of the factory Carrey had to clean would often play horrible, disgusting pranks on him. Regardless, he never allowed their cruel behavior to break his spirit. 

“I was 15,” Carrey said. “And they used to—the factory workers used to mess with my head by like taking—defecating in the sink … I had to clean it all, man. I had to do the whole thing, but the whole time, I was singing and I was dreaming.”