Joaquin gets mean – are you f*ckin serious?

A fascinatingly awkward interview took place last week between David Letterman and Joaquin Phoenix, who arrived at The Late Show with black shades and metre-think facial hair, looking eerily like Dr. John’s long lost brother. It was a totally bizarre appearance, during which Phoenix looks nervous and hostile, doesn’t want a bar of any of Letterman’s tomfoolery and refuses to follow any of his comedic cues. It’s a classic interview that will be fondly loaded on Youtube for years to come. To watch it check out the video below.

Phoenix’s response to Letterman’s opening question “how’s the beard” sets the tone for the rest of the interview, which moves quickly from awkward to downright embarrassing to mystifyingly weird. Instead of jokingly observing that he looks a little different these days - cue self-deprecating quip, perhaps - Phoenix responses defensively (“Is there something wrong? You’re making me feel weird about it”) and things get worse therein.

On many occasions Phoenix, who I assume was absolutely wasted at the time (if not he has a lot of explaining to do) tries to get through it by delivering one word responses, and reticence on a program like The Late Show never works. Letterman’s conversations are comprised largely of zingers, comments that lead to zingers and comments that may or may not lead to zingers, so you have to be prepared to shoot the breeze and, as the British say, ‘ave a laf.’ Everybody knows that but Phoenix isn’t at all interested in playing the game. He places the onus for conversation almost entirely on Letterman, who senses the dog is bleeding and hones in for the kill. Things get particularly awkward when Paul Schaffer chimes in by chuckling into the mic, which Phoenix quickly describes as “maniacal laughter” after swivelling around to say “are you f*ckin serious?” Watching the reruns later, I’m sure, after banging his head against the wall for a bit, that he’ll be asking himself the same question...

1 comment:

  1. Seriously, I feel for the guy's Manager, they must have been watching backstage in the green room with a bottle of coolade in hand saying to themselves 'well, my career is dead...should I follow it?'