Jim Carrey Recounts Being in Hawaii During Missile False Alarm: "My Brain Started Winding"

Jim Carrey Britannia Awards - Getty - H 2018
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Jim Carrey recounted his terrifying experience while in Hawaii during the missile false alarm two years ago. 

Joining Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show on Thursday night, the comedian and now New York Times best-selling author shared that the cover of his book represented his face "after being told that I have 10 minutes to live." 

Carrey went on to explain that two years ago he was in Hawaii with his daughter while writing, when his assistant called him crying, to inform him about the missile believed to be headed toward the island and that they had "10 minutes left." 

"My brain started winding," he told Fallon. Unable to get off the island with his daughter, Carrey recalled thinking, "I don't want to die in my car." He then said he had a moment where he just "looked out at the ocean" and pondered what he could do with "the last moment of my time." 

"I just decided to go over a list of gratitudes … I could not stop thinking about wonderful things that have happened to me and blessings that I've had," he said, adding that "it was lovely" and he finally "got to a point of grace with two minutes to spare," when he learned the missile was a false alarm. 

"All I was planning to do was close my eyes and be thankful because it's been a good ride," he revealed. 

In 2018, chaos ensued after the state of Hawaii's emergency alert system sent a mass text that read: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill." With people left in fear, a second alert was sent 40 minutes later clarifying that the original warning was sent in error because an employee pressed the wrong button. 

Earlier in the show, Carrey expressed gratitude as he reacted to the news that his first book, Memoirs and Misinformation (Knopf) — co-written with Dana Vachon — is now a New York Times best-seller. 

"What an incredible thing. What a state of affairs. It's a good sign for me a terrible sign for the planet," he joked. He said that after discovering the news, he and Vachon are now "literally children running around right now," adding, "We're very excited about it. It's a dream come true."

Speaking more on the book, Carrey said it is part-memoir but "dressed up like a kooky parade float." Though the book could read as "madness," Carrey assured Fallon that "there's a lot to be had underneath" and compared the experience of reading it to eating a lobster dinner and discovering "there's meat in the legs." Though he described it as a "fun, crazy story about the madness and magic of Hollywood," Carrey admits he found himself getting "super emotional" at times while writing. 

"I've been pounded by the universe several times," Carrey said. "When you survive that, sooner or later you're an experienced person and if it doesn't kill you … you start to see things for what they really are. You're stronger from it. You get glimpses of actual freedom from the ideas of you."

As for what he hopes readers take away from his book? The actor couldn't help but make a fun quip: "I want them to be so struck by this strangeness and the invention of this book that they rip their nipples off and run in to the street yelling my name."