Say what you want about Jim Carrey, the always-on funnyman whose forays into dramatic roles have ranged from the sublime to the rightfully unseen (with some serious Method assholery thrown in) but he’s not going to come to a late-night interview empty-handed. On Wednesday’s Late Show, Carrey emerged from behind the curtains twirling an ornate parasol, hurling pocketfuls of golden glitter, and leading an elaborately joyous New Orleans second line through the audience, thanks to the raucous accompaniment of bandleader Jon Batiste and Stay Human. (Or, as Carrey dubbed them when plopping, panting, on Stephen Colbert’s couch, “The Second-Punchline Dancers.”)
From there, it went about as you’d expect. Between dueling, putty-faced impressions of the comedy and tragedy masks, Carrey and Colbert traded compliments about each other’s habit of finding catharsis in making people laugh in the face of, as Carrey put it, “the obstreperous, bloviating bag of flatulence that is trying to take the shining city on the hill and turn it into a Dutch oven.” (Pretty sure he’s talking about Trump.) To that end, Colbert showed some of Carrey’s now-famous paintings, like the one he brought of a radioactive, monstrous ghoul with a suspicious resemblance to a certain presidential accomplice-adviser. (He’s called “Ghouliani,” although Carrey said the painting—which features a tiny spider cowering before the shambling thing—is actually captioned “Eek, Said The Spider.”) Oh, and he also paints lots of mangoes these days, since the actor, painter, noted medical not-expert, and forthcoming novelist said he was inspired to look for “one symbol, one thing that I could count on to be sweet, and lovely, and abundant for all of us.” To that end, he also munched on a delicious-looking sliced mango provided by Colbert and brought a mountain of the sunny fruit for Colbert’s audience.
On the subject of Carrey’s lengthly, eclectic, sometimes unsettling career, Colbert touted both Carrey’s light, occasionally exhausting side (Sonic The Hedgehog’s upcoming nemesis, Dr. Robotnik), and dark, sometimes more exhausting side (Kidding’s blankly earnest troubled kids show host, Jeff Pickles). Perhaps seeking unity—or just a good bit—Colbert then showed some clips of Carrey’s most famous lines (noting they’re quoted by everyone “from frat bros in a bar to frat bros in the other end of the bar”), and asked award-winning thespian Carrey to reinterpret them for these darker, more serious times. Ace Ventura’s bathroom frolics become a Broadway musical, Dumb And Dumber’s famous moment of improbable romantic optimism sounds urbane and witty with a British accent, and The Mask’s “Somebody stop me!” is transformed into the more realistically bloodcurdling shriek of a guy forced by a possessing chaos demon to act like a total psycho for our entertainment. Carrey really seemed to get into that one.