NEW YORK – When Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon handed in the book they had toiled on for eight years — a satirical “anti-memoir” about Carrey’s life but with increasingly extreme flights of absurdity — to Sonny Mehta, the late Knopf publisher said he would put it out as a novel. Carrey and Vachon protested.
“But Sonny, the project was to blow up the celebrity memoir,” they argued.
“Well, yes,” replied Mehta. “But how then would you explain the flying saucers?”
“Memoirs and Misinformation,” which was published Tuesday, is not an easy book to label. It opens with Carrey binge-watching Netflix while nursing a split from Renée Zellweger (who, here, leaves him for a bullfighter), pleading for his home security system to “Tell me I’m safe and loved” and craving the box-office success that brought him “closer to god.”
There’s much that’s straight from Carrey’s life, but it's an inflated version of his persona — “a hyperactive child making yuk-yuks,” as the book describes him. With overtones of “Network,” Carrey skewers celebrity, Hollywood, ego and himself. There’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Nic Cage, spiritual guru gatherings with Kelsey Grammar and a Tom Cruise referenced only as “Laser Jack Lightning.” Carrey, himself, is juggling movie options: a Mao Zedong film by Charlie Kaufman or “Hungry Hungry Hippos” in 3-D. Oh, and an apocalypse is approaching.
It may sound far-out, but for Carrey, truth lies in fiction. Even fiction in which Kelsey Grammar and U.F.O.s collide.
“There’s a lot of real feeling in this book,” said Carrey in a Zoom interview from his home in Hawaii. “It may be done in an out-there way but it sure is real to me.”
“Memoirs and Misinformation” is the latest reinvention of the 58-year-old star of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Mask,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Truman Show.” After veering into painting and political cartoons, it’s yet another new medium for Carrey. (Vachon wrote 2007’s “Mergers & Acquisitions.”) The book, Carrey says, “is dearer to me than anything I’ve done.”