It’s a standard Sunday afternoon watching films as the cold weather hits the UK, when you suddenly wonder what else Jim Carrey may have been in. For many on Sunday afternoon, the search term Jim Carrey on Google returned the correct actor’s face, however, the resulting name accompanying the photos and information were that of Giamatti.
A Reddit user first posed the question in the r/Weird subreddit taking a screenshot of the apparent glitch, which Screen Rant picked up shortly after social media was abuzz with the phenomenon. Titled “Jim Carrey’s name replaced with Paul Giamatti’s in the cast lists of all his movies” the user DLMoore9843 provided a screenshot of their search, prompting Reddit sleuths to work out what had happened.
Some believed that the entire situation was perhaps a nod to legendary comedian Andy Kaufman, who was known with his writing partner Bob Zmuda to create elaborate pranks on the public, including the character Tony Clifton, to confuse audiences for their own amusement. Both Jimy Carrey and Paul Giamatti played Kaufman and Zmuda in Milos Foreman’s 1998 movie Man on the Moon.
That film led to a period of Carrey “method acting” as Andy Kaufmann, as seen in the Netflix documentary Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond, which elicited polarising reactions from audiences due to how far Carrey went to antagonise those he was working with. For Carrey, he claimed it was merely the spirit of Andy using him as a vessel.
However other subreddit users, who noticed the phenomenon was also affecting search results for Arnold Schwarzenegger and instead his son becoming the top result, believed that it could have been someone creating a word salad - taking random words and entering them into Google in an effort to confuse the algorithm which “scrapes” (draws information from) the internet for the relevant information.
Google has yet to make a comment regarding the glitch and unfortunately most Reddit users believe the issue to have simply a temporary bug in the algorithm’s scraping system rather than an elaborate hoax. But for one Sunday afternoon, any thought the spirit of Andy Kaufmann had once again sprung up to prank the rest of the world. Then again, Google has been also known to enjoy meta-jokes during the quiet periods on the search engine.