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Joaquin Phoenix and David Letterman - Oddest. Interview. Ever.

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If you missed the Late Show with David Letterman featuring an interview with Joaquin Phoenix, you missed an exercise in squirmingly uncomfortable comic gold.

Phoenix was on to tout his new movie or his hip hop career or ... well ... who knows, really. Truth is, he might be the new Doublemint spokesman for all the gum chewing he did in lieu of actual speaking or human interaction.

The more Dave tried to draw him out, the more Phoenix stared through his amazing nest of facial hair and dark sunglasses in stunned silence. Or when he did manage to mumble verbal communication, it seemed to be more of an out-of-body attempt to examine his own unbelievability with Letterman, marveling at the audiences laughter at his nonsense and Dave's prodding.

Of course, the Internets, Twitter and such were abuzz with talk of "just what the hell is wrong with this guy?" through the night. Was he as high as Michael Phelps? Is he just a jerk? What's up with that beard?

Time will tell, of course.

One thing's for sure, I don think we'll be seeing him channeling Matisyahu on the Late Show anytime soon.

Oh, and some of you wondered if maybe Crispin Glover deserves a mention in the Odd Letterman Appearance Hall of Fame for his infamous 1987 show. I think the statute of limitations has ended on that, but here it is for you to judge for yourselves:

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24 Comments

Let's not forget the memorable appearances by Crispin Glover.

Say what you want about his antics, I'm just excited to have a new beard idol.

This is all a publicity stunt, right?

Outstanding Matisyahu reference.

If Joaquin Phoenix is such a good actor, why couldn't he just act like he wanted to be there?

Oh man the Crispin Glover interview is priceless!!

I think the only people in that clip who showed poor human behavior were David and his audience members. He needs to reflect internally on how he treats other human beings. It's unfortunate that he and his guests find so much joy from picking on others. It's a sure sign of personal insecurity with ones self.

I watched the interview, and I was extremely uncomfortable watching it. I think Joaquin Phoenix is a fantastic actor, and I've seen him on interview shows before, yet he was never like that. I don't know if he's on something or what, or if he's gone off the deep end a little bit with his new hip-hop thing. I loved Dave's Farrah reference, though!!

When are people going to realize that the headline formula "XXXX. YYYY. Ever." is hopelessly played and has been for several years? Stop it already!!!

My God, David. You're ridiculous.

"He needs to reflect internally on how he treats other human beings." What's wrong with you? He's a late night talk show host who has to fill time on his show with entertainment and comedy. If his guest decides to act like a douche bag and sit there in silence, he has to do what he can to keep the show moving...including picking on the guest.

This clip just goes to show how good Letterman still is.

My God, David. You're ridiculous.

"He needs to reflect internally on how he treats other human beings." What's wrong with you? He's a late night talk show host who has to fill time on his show with entertainment and comedy. If his guest decides to act like a douche bag and sit there in silence, he has to do what he can to keep the show moving...including picking on the guest.

This clip just goes to show how good Letterman still is.

I totally disagree with the comment that Letterman and his audience erred somehow. When someone comes on a talk show they are expected to make at least a passing effort at engaging. In exchange, they get to promote their new movie, music career, etc. Had Joaquin even tried a little, Letterman wouldn't have had fun at his expense. As it stood, laughing at Phoenix's absurd behavior was the only way to create some entertainment, which is his job.

PEOPLE! IT WAS STAGED!

I agree with Randy...it was staged. Phoenix is in the midst of filming some kind of documentary (or mockumentary). I'm guessing Letterman isn't in on it, so his reactions were pretty genuine.

Dave's best line: "Joaquin, sorry you couldn't be here tonight." Priceless.

Both clips are amazing. What I don't understand, even from a marketing standpoint, why would that kind of behavior benefit Joaquin? I mean, don't get me wrong, I found it very funny... and if in fact it wasn't an act, Letterman did an amazing job tossing in quick jokes (be it at his expense or not)! If it was an act, then maybe Joaquin is one of the best actors of all time... his movies show that, but not sure why he would do this here...

I guess the buzz is worth it either way, as it's been a social media frenzy!

Bud
Adams Innovative Marketing

Seems that Juaquin might join River soon.

This was all an act for his upcoming documentary about a guy transitioning from an acting career to a hip-hop career. Joaquin isn't really leaving his acting career behind and he's not really going into hip-hop territory. It's called generating buzz and it's working. He's actually playing a character which is why he was dressed that way in the interview. I guarantee you will see the David Letterman interview in his comedic documentary.

The Crispin Glover one looks more like an act. He looks like he's doing a crazy "Andy Kaufman" kind of thing.

Phoenix looked completely stoned. But, that very well could have been a put-on, too.

Just a really bad "Jim Morrison" imitation...what a dork.

By Rob on February 12, 2009 9:34 AM
"In exchange, they get to promote their new movie, music career, etc."


Rob,
If he did the interview "straight", he wouldn't be getting one tenth the "promotion" he is right now. That is why it is possible this was a marketing ploy and an act.

Let's hope it was staged, it was @ the very least uncomfortable, alarming, and just plain odd. I'm not a Letterman fan but saw the unabomber on T.V last night so I stopped flipping channels to watch him. Joaquin Phoenix? Where? Loved Daves remark when he apologized to Farrah. I am sure Joaquin took her crown from her. I have to wonder if yesterday was the anniversary of River's death or maybe his late brothers birth date. Just grasping, I guess in complete disbelief. For those of you that say Dave was unfair- DID YOU SEE THE INTERVIEW?? He kept that interview going only out of experience and skill and I am a Leno fan!

He has PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE from doing too much Acid!!! Seriously. Don't mess around with that stuff. Pot, booze, blow.... they've got nothing on the mental damage from Acid. He's ruined for LIFE now. What a waste.

H E R O I N kids....scratching his face..mumbling...nodding off

If you're going to do dope before a national interview, at least have the common courtesy to do a few rails of coke before going on....tool

Everyone has an opinion I guess, although there is one here which is from a more evolved mind state. Can you pick the one? Stop thinking from inside the box. Open your eyes to the non contextual reality of the world we live in. A show on T.V. "A very base form of entertainment/mind control/low I.Q. sedative" with a man who steals energy from another with his devolving humor, under any context, is a molestation of consciousness. .

Its been very publicized that this Phoenix, Letterman interview was an act. I believe the reports.
As for the incident in and of itself to me, Joaquin Phoenix with his mumbling, silences, weird replies it seemed he created a character whose only normality was his dihydrotesterone levels. Dihydrotestoserone is the male hormone (androgen) that enables men to grow beards.

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This page contains a single entry by Craig Newman published on February 12, 2009 12:39 AM.

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