As a photograph of Kathy Griffin hoisting the fake, decapitated head of President Donald Trump swept the Internet this week and led to her firing from CNN and the cancellation of at least one stop on her current comedy tour, one celebrity is urging Americans not to worry about it.
Jim Carrey told the audience at the premiere of his new Showtime comedy series that Griffin should double down on the now-infamous photograph.
“Hold up a severed leg as well,” he advised Griffin in a speech at the event, according to People magazine. “I don’t know if it’s funny, but I don’t think the joke is the problem. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry for your existence. All of this is meaningless… all of creation is just God’s Fidget Spinner. It’s really not important. What’s important is that we’re all here.”
The graphic photo of Griffin holding “Trump’s” head, taken during a shoot by L.A.-based photographer Tyler Shields, sparked severe backlash online and drew responses from the president and First Lady on Wednesday. Griffin was fired from her role on CNN’s annual New Year’s Eve Live broadcasts, and the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque cancelled the comedian’s scheduled performance there. The toilet accessories company Squatty Potty also pulled its advertising campaign, in which Griffin had starred.
Still, Carrey believes that in times of political turmoil, comedians often become the only source of comfort and reassurance for concerned citizens.
“I think what happens is, when these extraordinary times politically happen, and we’re going through terror and the fear of the end, comics are the last line of defense,” he told the audience. “We tell them the truth, and we make something beautiful out of it.”
The 55-year-old actor made the comments at the premiere of the new Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, which follows a group of young, up-and-coming comedians making their way in the comedy scene in 1970s Los Angeles. Carrey serves as an executive producer and a writer on the project.
“This is a labor of love,” he said at the event. “It was an idea that was rolling around in my head for a long time, and I really wanted to see the comedy world as it really was and the extraordinary experience that I actually was lucky enough to have.”
On Wednesday, a Los Angeles judge ruled that a wrongful death case against the actor — related to the 2015 overdose death of his ex-girlfriend, makeup artist Cathriona White — could move forward. White’s parents accused Carrey of supplying the prescription painkiller medication on which the makeup artist overdosed.
The actor has vehemently denied the claims.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum