Jim Carrey was the recipient of the prestigious Charlie Chaplin award for comedy at Friday night’s BAFTA Britannia Awards, and the Canadian comedian got political in his acceptance speech.
“I’m glad it didn’t come in the mail,” said Carrey as he held his trophy, making a reference to the pipe bombs delivered to numerous Democratic figures this week. Responding the the tepid laughter that followed, he said of his joke, “It kinda worked… maybe a little too soon. It is my job to try.” (Earlier in the evening, Cate Blanchett told the audience there was no way to joke about suspicious packages.)
He added. “I no longer have packages delivered to my home in the great America that’s been fashioned in the last couple of years.”
Carrey then proceeded to expound in a scathing takedown of Donald Trump’s vision of America, without mentioning the president by name. “I don’t remember it ever being this great, actually,” he joked before referencing the award’s namesake, iconic silent-film comedian Charlie Chaplin.
“Charlie Chaplin was truly an artistic and a humanitarian hero of mine. He grew up in extreme poverty, his father was absent, his mother went into an asylum when he was 14 years old,” Carrey told the audience.
“That kind of pain, as we’ve seen lately, turns some people into monsters, and others into fountains of creativity,” he continued.
“Chaplin alchemized his pain, turned it into art. Exquisite, timeless, healing art,” Carrey said.
“With ‘Modern Times’, he criticized capitalism without a conscience, and that’s what we have now, we have capitalism without a conscience. He showed the common man being fed through the gears of a brutal, dehumanizing industrial age,” he added.
“He took on the American right wing of his day, its worst evils — hatred of immigrants, contempt for the truth, greed and the abuse of power. We are fighting those same evils today. In America, the United Kingdom and across the globe, and we need to be clear: shamelessness is not and will never be a superpower,” he declared.
“It is the mark of a villain. Kidnapping children is not what great nations do. Almost half of America at this moment believes there is a sinister, deep state diabolically plotting… to what? Give them health care? What is the sinister plan here?” said Carrey.
“We in America are misinformed. Reality shows have warped our idea of what a hero is, or what the truth is,” he said. “So tonight I would like to dedicate this award to those who remind us of our virtues, who remind us of the truth. To Sir Charles Chaplin, who battled McCarthyism into exile, to Christopher Steele, who tried to pull a thorn out of the paw of an ungrateful beast, to Christine Blasey Ford, to Colin Kaepernick. He’ll stand for the anthem when the anthem stands for him.”
Carrey also sent a shout-out to pipe-bomb recipient Robert De Niro, “one of my good friends and one of the greatest artists of our time… whose life was threatened this week, along with many other incredibly decent people who bring joy to the world… how dare they besmirch those people.”
Carrey concluded by admitting that his speech “wasn’t very funny, but it’s not very funny right now. And I want it to be. And I will be again… Let’s get the balance back, OK?”