The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Jim Carrey tells Democrats: ‘We have to say yes to socialism’

For the last several years, celebrity support for democratic socialism has been on the rise. (Video: Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

If there were any doubts where Jim Carrey stood along the political spectrum, he obliterated them Friday on HBO's “Real Time With Bill Maher."

First of all, there were his shoes — brand-new Nike sneakers — which Carrey kicked up on Maher's desk within moments of sitting down. They were, he said, “a salute to Colin Kaepernick,” the former NFL quarterback who drew controversy by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Just days before, Nike had revealed Kaepernick was one of the faces of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, causing a firestorm on social media and prompting some critics to swear off the brand.

"I bought me some freedom-friendly Nikes!” Carrey declared unapologetically.

By the end of the show, the actor had likened President Trump to a used-car salesman and urged Democrats to embrace socialism. He seemed unbothered when Maher warned Republicans were already using the specter of socialism to attack Democrats ahead of the coming midterm elections.

The Democrats needed a plan “to fight this slander,” Maher said.

Carrey disagreed. Why not go all in instead? he suggested.

"We have to say yes to socialism, to the word and everything,” the actor insisted. “We have to stop apologizing."

Maher pointed out a string of candidates who had won elections recently with “unabashed liberal proposals,” including Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts, Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, who openly described herself as a democratic socialist.

"Those candidates reflected their districts well. They reflect their constituencies well,” said fellow guest David Axelrod, a Democratic strategist.

Carrey said Republicans were merely trying to scare people when warning the United States would end up like Venezuela with the word “socialism."

"I grew up in Canada, okay? We have socialized medicine. I'm here to tell you that this bulls--- line that you get on all of the political shows is that it is a failure; the system is a failure in Canada. It is not a failure in Canada,” Carrey said. “I never waited for anything in my life. I chose my own doctors. My mother never paid for a prescription. It was fantastic."

He half joked that socialized medicine might be why Canadians were stereotyped as being “so nice."

"They can be nice because they have health care. Because they have a government that cares about them,” Carrey said. “There are certain people in our society that need to be taken care of. There are people without as many opportunities that need to be helped toward those opportunities. There are people who are sick. You shouldn't have to lose your home because your mother got sick."

Predictably, Carrey's remarks did not sit well with conservatives.

Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin tweeted that Carrey should buy a one-way ticket to Caracas. (“And don't come back,” she added.) Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, ever ready with a dad joke, accused Carrey of “playing both DUMB AND DUMBER,” a reference to the hit 1994 movie that helped cement Carrey's fame.

Online, some Twitter users simply cursed at him or dared him to give away his money.

Anyone who was surprised by Carrey's political leanings has not been paying attention. The comedian has long posted to Twitter his own artwork lambasting Trump and his administration.

In one piece Maher showed the audience Sunday, Carrey depicted Trump as the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz,” with Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) surrounding him as flying monkeys. In a more recent painting, Carrey caricatured Rudolph W. Giuliani and Trump as torch-bearing vampires descending a crypt.

"Down and down they went. Lower than any administration in history,” Carrey wrote. “It seemed like the bottom was nowhere in sight."

He added a link to, a none-too-subtle push for people to register to vote in the coming elections.

On Friday, Carrey told Maher art has been an outlet for him to reflect on the “carpet-bombing of outrage that's happening."

It was Carrey's first time on Maher's show, ostensibly to promote his new Showtime television series, “Kidding.” The two men chatted about what it was like to work on that project and expressed mutual admiration for each other's comedy roots. But the conversation — as it usually does on “Real Time” — repeatedly reverted to politics.

First, it was a mention of “Cable Guy” and “Truman Show,” two of Carrey's '90s movies, that prompted the switch.

"There's something about them that's very prescient about the way the world came to be,” Maher said.

Carrey agreed, saying he felt society was “parentless."

"There are generations growing up right now who are learning to lie, that lying is okay. That you're supposed to hate half the country,” Carrey said. “If anything, we've got to get back to a place where we realize that a vote is not who you are. Because you voted Republican, you're not stupid. You're not different. You're not worthless. I could break bread with anybody who voted for Trump. We could find some common ground to love each other."

The audience applauded this cross-aisle olive branch. Then Carrey snapped into Ace Ventura mode.

Just stop doing stupid stuff! He implored, using an expletive in lieu of “stuff."

"That's all we expect!” he shouted. “Just get it together."

Read more:

‘I had to be real’: #PlaidShirtGuy removed from Trump rally after viral facial expressions

People are destroying their Nike gear to protest Colin Kaepernick's 'Just Do It' campaign

Why celebrities wade into politics and why people listen to them — even conservatives