Actor Jonah Hill has opened up about his comic near-drowning incident in Australia, insisting it was no laughing matter at the time.

The Moneyball star was Down Under promoting 21 Jump Street with pal and co-star Channing Tatum last year (12) when he was caught in a riptide during a swim on Sydney's Bondi Beach and dragged out to sea, where his life flashed before him as he realised he couldn't swim back to shore.

Hill detailed the drama during an appearance on U.S. late night show Conan earlier this week (beg10Jun13), admitting he was foolish to go swimming after a long, booze-filled flight.

He said, "We got off the plane and immediately we're like, 'Let's go swimming!' and so we go to Bondi Beach... and there's such a bad riptide there that dumb tourists get off the plane and go swimming and drown, and get rescued.

"We go in the ocean and I start swimming and then what feels like a second later I look back and Chan's (Tatum) about a mile away from me... He's, like, by the beach taking pictures with people and I'm literally, like, head bobbing out, like, 'What's going on? Where am I?' I start to swim as hard as I can and I'm not going anywhere and so I'm like, 'This is how I die...' I am a guy who died in the ocean in Australia... wasted.

"Finally a guy (lifeguard) comes out on a jet-ski and he's like, 'Hey mate, we gotta pull you in; you can die out here...!' He kinda pulls me in and then I start swimming and what's crazy is there was paparazzi on the beach. Rarely in life do you tell a story that sounds ridiculous and there's a picture that's even more ridiculous than the actual story."

The photos of Hill's rescue were splashed across Australia's newspapers - and the drama became the only thing reporters wanted to talk to him about as he promoted the movie.

He added, "We're there for a week doing press... and I open the newspaper and on the front page... was, 'Jonah Hill, actor, almost drowns...' and that picture is on the cover for all of Australia to see. Every interview we did started off with, 'Heard you went for a swim yesterday... Somebody needs to get some floaties.'"