Credit: Barbara Nitke/Bravo

Image Credit: Barbara Nitke/BravoThe dream James Lipton has pursued for 17 years has finally come true. That’s right, Jim Carrey at last accepted his long-standing invitation to appear on Inside the Actors Studio. When Lipton started his landmark interview series on Bravo in 1994, he had become enamored of Carrey’s work on Fox’s sketch comedy show In Living Color. “His was one of the first invitations I ever sent out,” Lipton says. Initial guests included Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper, and Sally Field. “But Jim’s extremely shy. It was a marathon getting him on. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do it — he just didn’t have the courage.”

It was only recently, in November, when Lipton was walking to his doctor’s office in Manhattan for his annual physical that he noticed a movie crew prepping to film nearby. Turns out, it was the shoot for Mr. Popper’s Penguins, starring… Jim Carrey! Lipton stepped on set to say hi, and Carrey told him that Bradley Cooper, an Actors Studio graduate himself who had just taped his appearance on the show, had emailed him, urging him to finally accept his invite. When Carrey said he felt shy just being himself in an interview setting, Lipton replied, “But I specialize in shy!” (Although Lipton also admits he has “a reputation that has exceeded Barbara Walters’ for making people cry.”) Needless to say, Carrey finally accepted. Here’s an exclusive preview of the show 17 years in the making, airing Monday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Bravo, in which Carrey talks about his most valuable, and pliable, instrument: His face.