Playboy: Squander your chi?
Carrey: There's a quote for you: Go ahead and squander your chi. But I guarantee you heaven isn't in Miss March's pussy. Sure, it looks good; it feels good. I have nothing against it.
Playboy: Wait--are you telling us you're celibate?
Carrey: Oh, no. I don't believe in that. I do believe in staying in balance. I'm not celibate, and I do masturbate. But not like a fiend. I believe in moderation. I think there's an energy source. It's like anything else: You can't eat cake all day long or you waste your energy. And you get gray, lose vitality. And I'm really good at sex.
Playboy: You are?
Carrey: Nah, I just thought I'd put that out there.
Playboy: If heaven isn't sex, where is it?
Carrey: Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you're sitting on the couch and you get up and make a triple-decker sandwich. It's on the other side of that, when you don't make the sandwich. It's about sacrifice.
Playboy: So it's about not indulging.
Carrey: It's about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling. That's what I believe, anyway. I'm always asking, "What am I going to give up next?" Because I want to feel. It's been my drive since I was a little kid, actually.
Playboy: Name something you gave up that gave you comfort.
Carrey: I don't eat wheat, I don't eat dairy, I don't smoke cigarettes, I don't smoke pot. All these things I've enjoyed. I live very sparingly.
Playboy: It sounds a little monastic.
Carrey: It is, a little bit. But I'm an experiment, you know? That's how I see life. I'm not trying to put myself higher than anybody or anything like that. But I am my own experiment, and I love that. Physical health to me is my hobby. Psychology and spiritual life fascinate me to no end. When everybody wants to go to a rave, I like nothing better than to go home and read my books and say some prayers and meditate and try to break through. I'm always trying to break through.
Playboy: For how long have you been abstaining from these creature comforts?
Carrey: I have been struggling to do it my entire life.
Playboy: But you're a wealthy movie star--you're in a position to deny yourself comforts. Most people don't have that many comforts to begin with. They have overdue bills and abusive bosses.
Carrey: That's denial, man. That's like obese people lobbying to call their situation a disease. I don't believe it. God bless obese people, but they've got work to do.
Playboy: So you've given up pot, too?
Carrey: I think people underestimate the power of things like marijuana, the addictive quality. It's not that the substance itself is addictive; it's the stimulation of the pleasure center of your brain. It becomes an easy way out, an instant vacation. That's addictive. I know people who have been stoned every day of their lives, for 50 years. They seem fine, but they are not getting to a higher level.
Playboy: Like who?
Carrey: I hung out at the Comedy Store with Richard Pryor and people who struggled when they wanted to do it straight. I stood in a parking lot one night with Richard when he said, "I don't remember. I don't remember 40 years. I don't feel like I did it." And of course he did it. But that's the trick. You can do it without that stuff. You don't need it if creativity becomes your high.
Playboy: You're telling us that when you're in your big house alone you don't sometimes think, Screw it, I'm going to eat a gallon of ice cream?
Carrey: I have moments. But mostly I stay on my thing. I might have one day a week when I go off and have a glass of wine. I'm not completely dogmatic. But I keep honing this thing, this experiment. I fear that 90 percent of people are going to look at this and think, He's turning into a head case. I'm not. This is about my not wanting anything halfway.
Playboy: You must have splurged somewhere.
Carrey: I've never been really decadent. Honestly, I don't put a lot of onus on the things in my life. I have things. I try to keep my life fairly simple. I have a plane, and that's an incredible luxury. But it mainly saves me so much stress because I travel so much.
Playboy: Your own plane? That's a big comfort. How does that save stress?
Carrey: Not having to deal with the airports and the paparazzi, all that is involved with an airport. It's a worthwhile investment in my peace of mind. I'm all about keeping myself in a healthy place so that I can go the duration, man. I want to make it to 120 years old. I've got a date to run a 10k on the Great Wall of China when I'm 90.
Playboy: Some people might say that this is just a fad--that during the next round of interviews for a movie you'll be pounding a Big Mac and supersizing.
Carrey: Or drunk at the Oscars, holding my genitals? I'd never say never, but if I was doing that at McDonald's, I'd just get back on my thing. I always have. Each time I go off and have one of those moments, it's a shorter span of time before I get back on my game. I don't promise anybody that I'm perfect. This is just my experiment.
Playboy: Do your friends think, Gosh, Jim, you're not as much fun to hang with since you've turned into this Amish guy?
Carrey: I'm not as much fun for somebody who just wants to get wasted. I'm too confrontational to be around. But I don't judge people. You want to get wasted? I'll pass it to you. Here you go. You're your own judge. I don't want to judge anybody.
Playboy: You came up alongside comics who became stars and were overcome by excess. After John Belushi became a movie star, people around him wouldn't let him have a bad moment even if it meant feeding him drugs.
Carrey: That's bullshit. It was his fault. John Belushi was a strong-willed motherfucker who'd kick your ass if you told him how to live. This is the mistake people make. Why couldn't someone talk to Elvis? Well, good luck. You were out the door if you did. It's this habit we have of shirking our responsibility to ourselves.
Playboy: Many comics, such as Sam Kinison, seemed to work best when they were standing on the edge of a precipice.
Carrey: Sam was in total denial. He created a beast he couldn't get away from. I'm not saying that's ultimately what happened to him. But I know his struggle. He was always going back and forth. He'd come up to me and go, "Hey, Jim! We're drug-free Christians, man." We'd laugh because I was always trying to be straight and healthy. Then he'd go on Howard Stern, and Howard would say, "You know, you're not funny when you're not stoned." And he'd be right back doing it again. And this is the trouble--when you create the beast, you've got to be the beast, you know? I've got enough of a beast in me, man.
Playboy: You are a perfectionist. Does this come at a high personal cost?
Carrey: Sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I don't want to do it. Especially things like this. I twist for three days before I sit down and talk to somebody like you. How do I try to speak my truth in an interview like this, to describe this trip that I'm on, without coming off like a self-important asshole?
Playboy: You just say what's on your mind and take your chances. People will respond, or they won't.
Carrey: I'm trying to make sure that I'm a lion who likes to act like a monkey and not a monkey who likes to act like a lion. Don't ask me to explain it.
Playboy: You shaved your head for Lemony Snicket. Why not put on a skin wig?
Carrey: I don't mind being a bit of a freak while I'm doing a movie. It gives me an excuse. It keeps life interesting. It scares me a little bit sometimes, because it puts me in a certain place that bangs up against where I want to be in my life spiritually. When you try to live a good life, one of the things you don't concentrate on is "How will I be self-loathing today? How will I hate God's creation?"
Playboy: Did taking on the roles of Andy Kaufman and his alter ego, Tony Clifton, take a toll?
Carrey: Oddly enough, that one energized me. I was so lost in that character that I wasn't myself. I looked at it like this: Let's not be an actor doing Andy Kaufman's life story. Let's be Andy Kaufman coming back from the dead to do his life story. When I came out of it, it was as if I'd had a vacation from being Jim Carrey. I didn't think as I think, I didn't act as I act, I didn't make choices as Jim Carrey. I had gone off the planet. It was probably how you feel when you die--you just go, "Ahhh, what a rest."
Playboy: It's remarkable that you could lose yourself so completely.
Carrey: It was actually spooky at the end. I had to sit for about three weeks and ask, "What do I believe again?" I lost track of my own likes and dislikes. I do know that it's possible to program your brain. It really is. I've done it my whole life. Everything I have is because of a constant kind of brainwashing that I've done to myself.