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Joaquin is off the deep end
February 12, 2009 7:37 AM   Subscribe

An utterly bizarre Joaquin Phoenix was on Dave Letterman last night to promote his new movie Two Lovers. The bizarre exchange has left many wondering what happened? The interview ended with Letterman quipping "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight."

Was it only Joaquin who made this exchange all the weirder? Or was it Dave's jumping between high praise and insult?
posted by namewithhe1d (122 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
i don't have time to watch this as i'm at work, but is this another Crispin Glover episode?
posted by jadayne at 7:39 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure it's been established that this is all some kind of farce on the part of Joaquin Phoenix for a faux-documentary being directed by Casey Affleck.

Rap career my ass.
posted by kbanas at 7:40 AM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I love how Dave's last line of "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight" was so funny and witty it even got a chuckle out of Joaquin. Letterman can be a dick, but he's a hilarious dick.
posted by billysumday at 7:43 AM on February 12, 2009


Sunglasses + slurred speech? The only possible explanation is that he just had a headache.
posted by DU at 7:47 AM on February 12, 2009


What kbanas said.
posted by amro at 7:47 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's the first I've heard of this faux-documentary. If that's true, then Joaquin is an even greater actor than I thought. During this whole episode, you can see Joaquin devolving. I almost felt sorry for him that he was taking everything so personally.
posted by namewithhe1d at 7:47 AM on February 12, 2009


I read a Rolling Stone interview of Letterman many years back where he outlined his expectations of guests on his show. Basically, he expects all guests to entertain his audience, and Dave has absolutely no respect for people who just come on to plug their latest project and not contribute some entertainment value in return. He may be a prick about it, but IMO he's a prick with the right intentions.
posted by rocket88 at 7:49 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I wish sometimes that I wasn't as conscious as I am" -River Phoenix right before his death
posted by gman at 7:50 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I like this. Joaquin has decided to play a character and David is just rolling along with the joke.

Still, artifical interview weridness never matches honest train-wrecks. I give you Farrah Fawcett stumbling around like a drunk toddler.
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 AM on February 12, 2009


Joaquin grew up in a sex cult. Probably still has some issues.

FWIW, I think he's a great actor. Not sure what was going on here.
posted by bardic at 7:52 AM on February 12, 2009


He may be a prick about it, but IMO he's a prick with the right intentions.

I wouldn't even call him a prick about it, really. Dude's got a job to do. You want free publicity for your work? Pretend you want to be here.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:57 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


He seems to lose his act a few times though. When Letterman makes the "Unabomber" joke, there's a brief smile on his face... he's definitely playing.
posted by Harry at 7:58 AM on February 12, 2009


What a bunch of self-indulgent crap.
posted by up in the old hotel at 8:02 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the full clip, and a preview of his exciting new future, and later where he fell of the stage. In comparison, here is Joaquin Phoenix on a past Letterman. To be fair, that crazy hair might be because of the things crawling out of his scalp.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


To tie in several comments here is an article talking about how he was like Crispin Glover, how he's filming a documentary, how it all is probably a hoax, etc.
posted by namewithhe1d at 8:06 AM on February 12, 2009


I'm pretty sure it's been established that this is all some kind of farce on the part of Joaquin Phoenix for a faux-documentary being directed by Casey Affleck.

established where? I'd very much like to see this establishment. imdb does list a casey affleck helmed documentary about phoenix's transition to a rap career. presumably it's not a mockumentary since it isn't listed as such, but these things can be hidden until closer to release. so yeah, i'd be very interested in reading the establishing material.
posted by shmegegge at 8:06 AM on February 12, 2009


Please Joquain Phoenix, leave this to the professionals. I give you the best:

Harmony Korine on Letterman in 95

Harmony Korine on Letterman around 98

And just because I'm apparently on a Harmony Korine kick, I give you:

Harmony Korine remember Ol' Dirty Bastard "When I first met him, he was having an argument with a telephone pole, and I think Ol' Dirty Bastard is what makes America great."
posted by geoff. at 8:08 AM on February 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


Aw, he was probably just distracted by the sensation of his brain being eaten by frogs.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:09 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


That is nuts.
posted by chunking express at 8:11 AM on February 12, 2009


I think people want it to be a huge put on because the alternative is so terrible. We may be watching Joaquin Phoenix cracking up before our eyes.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:12 AM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


established where? I'd very much like to see this establishment. imdb does list a casey affleck helmed documentary about phoenix's transition to a rap career. presumably it's not a mockumentary since it isn't listed as such, but these things can be hidden until closer to release. so yeah, i'd be very interested in reading the establishing material.

Well, I would start here. Granted, perhaps I was a little premature in my use of the term "established". It's not established, but it's the front pony hypothesis.
posted by kbanas at 8:12 AM on February 12, 2009


I think you slipped up on the copy-and-paste for that first link, geoff. Fascinated by the octoplets, are you?
posted by Mapes at 8:13 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's got to be plain old weird for him to be filmed by another high profile actor's brother trying to seem like he's gone off the deep end. If not weird, in extremely poor taste. I'd stop talking and never mention it again but that would be even weirder.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 8:14 AM on February 12, 2009


Also, Ol' Dirty Bastard is the Osiris of this shit. Wu tang Forever. Mother Fucker.
posted by chunking express at 8:15 AM on February 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Oh the Hip Hop line and the reaction really seems fake. But either way it's pretty crazy and Dave seems confused.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:15 AM on February 12, 2009


I think you slipped up on the copy-and-paste for that first link, geoff. Fascinated by the octoplets, are you?

Um, must have been someone else, um who was using the computer ...

Harmony Korine on Letterman in 95
posted by geoff. at 8:17 AM on February 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I hope it is all a deliberate farce, 'cause if so that was pretty funny. The 'I'll come round to your house and chew gum' followed instantly by the 'I don't have to' and sticking it under Letterman's desk was brilliant.
If it's not deliberate... Ouch!
posted by opsin at 8:19 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


He's fakin it. Trying to pull a Crispin Glover, but he just isn't as good.
posted by orville sash at 8:23 AM on February 12, 2009


also, Phoenix was later heard to remark:

"my friend show me. I show letterman. why no?"
posted by shmegegge at 8:24 AM on February 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


Man, we haven't heard from Britney Spears in a long time.

I sure hope Joaquin's playing a game here, but it makes me sad and nervous. Because River Phoenix was a great talent and totally fucked up his life and died way too early. I'd hate to think it runs in the family.
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on February 12, 2009


Let's not forget:
on October 31, 1993, his brother, River Phoenix, suffered a fatal drug overdose and died, outside the famed Hollywood nightclub The Viper Room
Younger brothers often follow their older brothers, that was a very public OD in a very public place.
posted by stbalbach at 8:25 AM on February 12, 2009


Some other memorable Letterman appearances :

Richard Simmons and his exploding steamer (which may or may not have been rigged)
Dave embarrassing Bill O'Reilly (zing!)
Michael Richards embarrassing himself (again)
Dave trying to embarrass Paris Hilton, instead comes off as kind of a dick. (note to self: NEVER schedule an interview with Dave and not show up)
McCain "is forced to utter the three words that can kill a Presidential campaign" (note to self : see above)
Harmony Korine being either an insufferable hipster, on drugs, or both
Harvey Pekar being Harvey Pekar (what else did Dave expect?)
Madonna shows up high and gives Dave a run for his money. (Actually, this is quite brilliant, and probably one of the best moments of unscripted TV ever. Watch the whole thing - it's worth it.)
Crispin Glover, apparently appearing as a character from one of his movies that I've never seen

(stolen shamelessly from here)
posted by Afroblanco at 8:26 AM on February 12, 2009 [35 favorites]


What about Drew Barrymore's Boobs?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:30 AM on February 12, 2009


I hope he's just mocking the mentally ill and not actually mentally ill.
posted by I Foody at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2009


Afroblanco, I'll see your Madonna and raise you a Cher on Letterman
posted by zippy at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2009


I'll come to your house and chew gum. Priceless.
posted by fixedgear at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2009


Stoned Madonna is my new favorite thing.
posted by The Whelk at 8:46 AM on February 12, 2009


Come on, it's so clearly a put-on. The sunglasses, an obvious affectation of "stoned in public"? The overdone slurring, to the point where he's trying to slur as opposed to trying not to? And here we are talking about it, would we be talking about it if he had done a straightforward interview? He may have actually been high, but even if he was, he's playing it up.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:50 AM on February 12, 2009


Joaquin Phoenix is here to kick ass and chew bubble gum.

Fortunately for Letterman, he still has some bubble gum left.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:51 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


And here we are talking about it, would we be talking about it if he had done a straightforward interview?

I totally agree. Even if this really is fake, and self-indulgent, and overdone, and uncreative, seen-it-before schtick, we're still talking about it. Even if the whole outcome sucks, the PR is working...
posted by namewithhe1d at 8:56 AM on February 12, 2009


"What about Drew Barrymore's Boobs?"

I think everyone involved enjoyed that.

Although it did rattle Dave more than most people have been able to do.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:00 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I miss Brother Theodore.
posted by RavinDave at 9:03 AM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's a sign that I read too much gossip, but I'm having deja vu with this story breaking twice. The whole WTFJoaquin? followed by the "eh, supposedly it's a documentary" angle happened several weeks ago on the gossip blogs, and having it all show up in the mainstream media is really weird.

I'm used to knowing about something because I read it on Defamer a little while before it shows up on MSNBC's entertainment page, but to watch a story break, then wait a few weeks, then watch it break again exactly the same way, with exactly the same commentary coming from different people, is new and a little strange.
posted by padraigin at 9:04 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't know what the big deal is. It reminds me of being on acid and eating dinner with my girlfriends parents.
posted by Sailormom at 9:08 AM on February 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anybody else get a Chester vibe from this interview?
posted by Pope Gustafson I at 9:10 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I totally forgot about Brother Theodore. Talk about someone with an incredible story... now there's a man who had some very valid *reasons* to have gone literally insane yet was only pretending to get laughs.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:12 AM on February 12, 2009


padraigin,
Us non-subscribers to gawker, perezhilton, defamer, et al are just a little slowww
posted by namewithhe1d at 9:13 AM on February 12, 2009


well, if it is a put-on, he should give it a rest. so should glover, et al. warhol did it best in 1964: no is-he-cracking-up-just-too-high-omigod-i-hope-not-he's-so-talented, just pure meticulously affected indifference. uh, here.
posted by barrett caulk at 9:13 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a meltdown! No, it's a documentary! No, it's really a melt down! No, it's not!

Can some one wake me when we know for sure... because if it is a put-on, unlike say Sacha Baron Cohen, it's not really funny in and of it's self (the only point I laughed was Dave's Unabomber quip) and if it actually is real, then it's REALLY not funny.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:17 AM on February 12, 2009


3 things to do tonight:

1) use my own urine to clear up that athlete's foot
2) smoke some endo
3) clean my panties

*not necessarily in that order
posted by gman at 9:20 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


1:24 in, he smirks.
posted by gman at 9:23 AM on February 12, 2009


I read a Rolling Stone interview of Letterman many years back where he outlined his expectations of guests on his show. Basically, he expects all guests to entertain his audience, and Dave has absolutely no respect for people who just come on to plug their latest project and not contribute some entertainment value in return. He may be a prick about it, but IMO he's a prick with the right intentions.

Sometimes I watch Dave and he seems like he totally understands where he is, what he's about, what's going on, and he works magic. Other times, he and Paul seem completely out of it, not even trying. But when he's on, and when he's obviously firing on all cylinders, you see why People In Charge had him on no less than three television shows before finding his right one.

I have a memory, long ago, where he had a great interview with someone, and they came back after a commercial break, and he said "You know, Paul... some people, they come out here on stage, and take a five minute nap. (Interviewee) doesn't take that nap. What a great interview."

I always felt this was Letterman's strength, both being in and out of the moment.
posted by jscott at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


warhol did it best in 1964


I don't think you can count Warhol as a put-on. Dude wasn't acting like that, he was like that.
posted by The Whelk at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2009


Re: Brother Theodore.

I love his tombstone.

"As long as there is death, there is hope."
posted by RavinDave at 9:26 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


respectfully, the whelk, i disagree. his persona was a product like any of his silkscreens or movies. the public warhol was a piece of pop art.
posted by barrett caulk at 9:33 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm concerned, Joaquin Phoenix can do no wrong. I'll listen to his rapping.
posted by Hildegarde at 9:35 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll listen to his rapping.

You've been warned.
posted by NationalKato at 9:39 AM on February 12, 2009


Oh yeah? I dare you.

Better watch what you wish for, Hildegarde.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:43 AM on February 12, 2009


I dont think he was faking it. It seemed to me that Joaquin Phoenix was really struggling and I found Dave's behavior a little sadistic.
posted by mert at 9:43 AM on February 12, 2009


What NationalKato said.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:44 AM on February 12, 2009


Since we're posting interviews that went off the rails: Fred Durst on Tom Green, somehow, against all logic, made me fall in love with Fred Durst.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:04 AM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think he may be doing the Andy Kaufman thing. Didn;t he already admit the rap thing was a goof?
posted by Sassenach at 10:12 AM on February 12, 2009


I watched it last night and thought Letterman needled him from the get go. Phoenix did seem a bit serious, maybe depressed. Letterman doesn't seem to have a lot of respect for some of his guests these days--they're just tools for his shtick. Even his praise sounds forced and condescending. When he could have turned things around--when Phoenix said he'd like to come and perform his music on the show--Dave had to turn it into an insult joke. Neither Letterman nor his time slot can handle depth.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:14 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


This vexes me. I'm terribly vexed.
posted by stargell at 10:20 AM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Joaquin's setting up to do a Nat Tate-sort-of-thing on the music industry, and is also making fun of celebrity reinvention (see Chris Gaines).

All while poking fun at Rick Rubin's beard and sunglasses? Or something?
posted by limeswirltart at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2009


is this another Crispin Glover episode?

The only difference is Joaquin didn't try to kick Dave.
posted by mike3k at 10:24 AM on February 12, 2009


The Hip Hop line was undoubtedly a joke .There's no way in hell he'd seriously consider that- except to shock people.

I'm assuming it's all a put-on. But still, you gotta have nerve of steel to go through with that on stage.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:31 AM on February 12, 2009


I love how Dave's last line of "Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight" was so funny and witty

So Letterman is stealing lines from Jay Leno now:
Jay Leno was so frustrated by an incoherent Phoenix that he suggested the actor "be here in person next time."
posted by dhammond at 10:44 AM on February 12, 2009


Richard Simmons and his exploding steamer (which may or may not have been rigged)

It was absolutely rigged, yeah. Richard Simmons is the rough equivalent of Dame Edna or Pee-Wee Herman. The oil, short-shorts, and bedazzled tanktop mean he's in character. Letterman is famous for his ongoing "feuds" with longtime guests, which mostly means he razzes Regis a lot, but also sometimes means he sprays Richard Simmons with a fire extinguisher or rigs a cooker to burst into flame (make of that theme what you will).

Anyway. Joaquin is, I'll say it, one of the most talented Hollywood actors in recent memory, and always seemed to be--as much as a Hollywood celebrity can "seem" to be anything--among the least douchey. I really hope this is an act, but at the same time, even that would be a bit...odd.

(And, since the post is about beardy white rappers, and Potomac mentioned his name, let's not forget that Tom Green did it first, as in before Phoenix, and first, as in before he made a career of blowing goats on cable access, he was a rapper. He's actually damned good--in an old school way--even if cred is hard to come by for a middle-aged, one-testicled, white, dorky, ex-Barrymore talk show host from Ottawa living in the Hollywood Hills.)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:46 AM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the Brother Theodore links! I always loved him on Letterman back in the day, but I never really knew anything about him.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:52 AM on February 12, 2009


Dave has always tortured his guests. That was what made him great. The last few years he seems to have softened a lot.

I think Dave was a little harsh on Joaquin, but then again, that's Letterman. Come on his show and do your job. It's 5 minutes. Just be there. On the other hand, I find these interviews to be my favorites.

I do hope Joaquin Phoenix is not unraveling before our eyes.
posted by Xoebe at 10:52 AM on February 12, 2009


That Madonna clip is priceless!

Seems like for all the cries of Letterman's death he keeps making news. The McCain thing, Bill Hicks, and now this. When has Leno last done anything of note other than sign new contracts?
posted by painquale at 10:56 AM on February 12, 2009


One thing that is AWESOME about the whole Joaquin Phoenix transformation is that the hounds over at TMZ don't know what the fuck to make of it. The longer it goes on, the less (entertainment-)newsworthy it is.

I wouldn't be surprised if this is an anti-publicity stunt.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 AM on February 12, 2009


I felt for Dave through most of that because he doesn't seem to have been let in on the joke, and you could sort of see how having to carry the whole "promote your movie oh how interesting" gambit kind of made him feel like a hollow tool.

On the other side if this is a put on the glasses off at the end of the interview might have have been the reveal.
posted by cavalier at 11:08 AM on February 12, 2009


Strange. Tom Green and Blackalicious. I hadn't heard that Organized Rhyme track in years.
posted by chunking express at 11:11 AM on February 12, 2009


Tom Green owns Xzibit in freestyle... dude is pretty good for a white boy.
posted by GuyZero at 11:15 AM on February 12, 2009 [12 favorites]


If his skin tone wasn't so light, I'd swear he was acting the part of Thelonious Monk.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:23 AM on February 12, 2009


Neither Letterman nor his time slot can handle depth.

That was depth?
posted by rocket88 at 11:23 AM on February 12, 2009


Wow. My respect for Tom Green has basically gone through the roof.
posted by oddman at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2009


I would actually watch Letterman if there were more of this.

As far as television goes, I found this very entertaining. It's certainly a whole lot better than celebrity x, y, or z coming on retelling the same anecdotes, showing the same clip, broadcasting the same, tired PR agenda.

The Madonna interview reminds us that Letterman used to be irreverent, playful, and full of surprises.
posted by minkll at 11:29 AM on February 12, 2009


I wish the recording were better, I want to hear what he's rapping about. Your youtube videos do not scare me.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:46 AM on February 12, 2009


And suddenly, reading this thread, I realized for the first time that River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix are related. I'll just be over here smacking myself in the head, okay?
posted by marginaliana at 12:08 PM on February 12, 2009


Genius on that tom green bit. Pure genius.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 12:20 PM on February 12, 2009


Aw, if he is going off the deep end I'd much prefer he start thinking he is an 18th Century priest than a rap star. *schoolgirl sigh*
posted by JoanArkham at 12:27 PM on February 12, 2009


Still, artifical interview weridness never matches honest train-wrecks. I give you Farrah Fawcett stumbling around like a drunk toddler.

At the end of the interview, Dave said "We have to apologize to Farrah Fawcett."
posted by msalt at 12:29 PM on February 12, 2009


Whither Courtney Love?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:44 PM on February 12, 2009


Aw, if he is going off the deep end I'd much prefer he start thinking he is an 18th Century priest than a rap star. *schoolgirl sigh*

Would you settle for a Greek Orthodox Priest?
posted by mazola at 1:03 PM on February 12, 2009


Just watched the Tom Green vs. Xzibit vid. WOW. I love how Xzibit is just blown away by him.. He was expecting some honky white boy pretend rap, instead he was flowed over. Wow again, Tom has my respect back.
posted by namewithhe1d at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2009


... if he ever had it to begin with.
posted by namewithhe1d at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2009


"When he could have turned things around--when Phoenix said he'd like to come and perform his music on the show--Dave had to turn it into an insult joke. Neither Letterman nor his time slot can handle depth."

It's called being a pro. As an entertainer, if you're not prepared to come on a talk show and be professional, then expect to be skewered. If it's Dave's show, which is very high profile, you can count on it happening on air.

Come on. Phoenix is not a child. If this is or isn't an act, he's pretty lame for trying to pull an act like that or showing up so torn up he can't hold a conversation. That's called not being a professional, and he deserves all the scorn he gets. It's not Dave's job to coddle someone like that. It's certainly not entertaining, at the least. Dave did the best he could to turn it into something that was entertaining, and IMO he succeeded, but it was despite Phoenix.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:24 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


That was the saddest thing I've seen in a good long while. My fingers are crossed it's all a put on. Otherwise, just damn.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:01 PM on February 12, 2009


"As an entertainer, if you're not prepared to come on a talk show and be professional, then expect to be skewered."

That's the weird thing. I mean, I have some wit. Done some improv (purely amateur) etc. And I'm pretty damned good. Of course, that's like saying I'm one hell of a little league pitcher in the company of major league ball players. There are a lot of people out there who really work very hard at that and I suspect if I could equal their passion and dedication I might be able to achieve that kind of excellence in performance. Maybe. After years.

But damn, how hard is it to show up on time and sober and give the nice people a show? I've got nowhere near this guy's ability. And ok, we all have personal problems. And acting is a pretty heavy thing if you're serious about it. But is showbiz that freaking hard on the soul you can't make a few jokes and be in front of people?

I suppose it'd be different if every single showbiz personality was a trainwreck, but they're not. There's really no excuse for this.
Still, were I a studio and I had millions of dollars invested in stuff this guy's done, I'd maybe think about looking after him a bit. It can't be easy all the fame, money, all that.
I know I don't want any part of that. I just like making people laugh, think, etc.
I don't want them peaking in my windows trying to get a photo of me in my tightey whiteys.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:15 PM on February 12, 2009


(Although Madonna does keep giving me her panties)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:19 PM on February 12, 2009


Maybe it's time for Werner Herzog to step in again and save the day.
posted by medeine at 2:31 PM on February 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I miss Brother Theodore.

I miss Larry "Bud" Melman (played by Calvert DeForest).
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I realized for the first time that River Phoenix and Joaquin Phoenix are related.

Yep...it was Joaquin who called 911 when River collapsed onto the sidewalk outside the Viper Room in West Hollywood.
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on February 12, 2009


Well, @DrDrew went on record:

"Make no mistake Joaquin Phoenix is not a hoax. This man is seriously ill and his life is in danger. Stand by for trouble."
posted by RavinDave at 3:19 PM on February 12, 2009


He was probably distracted by the BUSY LITTLE BEEEEEESSSS.
posted by JHarris at 3:42 PM on February 12, 2009


It was obviously all an act, and for me calls into question Phoenix's actual acting ability. Harmony Korine and Farah Faucett were truly fucked up on whatever when they went on Letterman, but Joaquin was so trying to make headlines with this. Mission accomplished.
posted by zardoz at 3:42 PM on February 12, 2009


I don't think it's an act and I feel sorry for him.
posted by emd3737 at 4:12 PM on February 12, 2009


I want to boldly go on record as not knowing what to think about this.
posted by everichon at 4:19 PM on February 12, 2009


I want to boldly go on record as losing interest in this.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:39 PM on February 12, 2009


(Had a blast with the vintage David Letterman clips, though.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2009


I want to boldly record as no man has ever recorded. I have a comedy gig in Smelterville Idaho on March 7, that should work.
posted by msalt at 4:47 PM on February 12, 2009


Interesting ... everyone is worried or feeling sorry ...

Joaquin Phoenix and Harmony Korine look to me like the only two Letterman guests I've ever seen that I could imagine having a good time at a house party with.
posted by mannequito at 4:51 PM on February 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clearly, it was Josh's turn in the secret portal.
posted by saffry at 4:53 PM on February 12, 2009


"Make no mistake Joaquin Phoenix is not a hoax. This man is seriously ill and his life is in danger. Stand by for trouble."

This sentence took away any vestige of credibility I may have ever granted Dr. Drew. If you are going to make an assertion this confident, then how about offering a paragraph instead of a fucking text message? Or even better, why not just not make claims if you aren't willing to attach a reasonable amount of support to them; especially if you are posing as an authority.

Am I retarded? Am I missing something? Is there anything about Phoenix's behavior in the last, what 3 months of play-acting, that doesn't communicate that this is artifice? Come the fuck on. Quitting his celebrated acting career, refined over decades, on a whim for a RAP career, that he has revealed no prior interest or practice in? His silly performances were so obviously incongruous with the craft and work ethic that defines him -- an artistic self-respect that showed no signs of deterioration mere months ago.

Did Casey Affleck suddenly following him around with a camera for a Mystery Project make him go "crazy"? Did "crazy" somehow reverse his personality overnight and make him shy and awkward? Does that new socially maladroit persona match a persona that one would adopt for a rap career? Would anyone without total brain damage think that they could be successful at a craft they have no previous experience at, and that requires total insouciant machismo, by adopting the persona of Stuart from Mad TV?

The closest precedent to this nonsense is Andy Kaufman, which of course, doesn't work to support the case for mental illness.

In sum, fuck Dr. Drew and the Carolla he rode in on.
posted by dgaicun at 5:01 PM on February 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


I want to boldly record as no man has ever recorded.

/as/where/, damnit. No wonder I'm playing Smelterville.
posted by msalt at 5:03 PM on February 12, 2009


@dgaicun

I want to boldly go on record noting that I merely reposted DrDrew's tweet so that we could mock him mercilessly in a few weeks or so.
posted by RavinDave at 5:09 PM on February 12, 2009


I think we can confidently agree, then, that Joaquin Phoenix is.
posted by everichon at 5:12 PM on February 12, 2009


JOAQUIN PHOENIX IS QUITTING ACTING!...ing
posted by P.o.B. at 5:48 PM on February 12, 2009


RavinDave, just to clarify, the "you" in my comment was all directed at D.D., not you, RavinDave, you. Sorry, if there was any confusion there.
posted by dgaicun at 6:02 PM on February 12, 2009


I'm going to derail HORRIBLY right now and say this:


Afrobrlanco's Madonna/Letterman link really, really reminded me why I used to like Madonna. Not just the childhood joys of bouncing around to pop music, but why I liked her as a Pop Creature. Direct, talky, kinda spacey but quick-witteded and not playing the game with David playing the first straight man/line feeder. It's kinda great, she looks so free and happy and funny. "Why can't we just talk to each other?!". The whole interview seems unthinkable in modern T.V, there is peeing in the shower and random sex jokes and freeform crazy talk. It's why Liked David Letterman and Madonna when I was little. They both seemed so willing to fuck with the established forms and not give a bit. "Because we have other guests" "but why?" "Well, not anymore."

I never actually liked her music, aside from a few singles (c'mon, Beautiful Stranger is catchy) but I always liked Madonna as a pop figure. When her and Courtney Love collide it is a beautiful thing. Madonna now is like the 14th Cylon. All crazy and werid and cold. I want old crazy f-bomb dropping Madonna back.
posted by The Whelk at 8:35 PM on February 12, 2009


"Dave has always tortured his guests. That was what made him great. The last few years he seems to have softened a lot."

I remember seeing the show when Madonna asked Dave if he'd smoked endo. It was one of those things you don't expect to go well or remember very long, and it ends up being totally worth it. She was right. He was already getting soft by then, as he had moved to CBS in the earlier slot. When he was on really late, he could have guests like Brother Theodore, throw things off a five storey building and be the guy on the street asking people what's in the bag. I have a lot of respect for Dave through to today and have seen him since his earliest days, but he could take more chances before he moved into the earlier timeslot. The show's still pretty good, great at times, but they can't get away with the stuff they used to do. Although somehow I knew this is the sort of way he'd end up, because he admired Johnny Carson and wanted to end up with the sort of gig he's got, and he's getting older and a bit more philosophical. And you can't stay in the after midnight slot forever.

Conan turned out to be much better than I expected and was able to take a lot of risks, but he'll mellow in his seat at the Tonight Show, just like Dave did, although Conan's interviews really aren't as good. He's a bit too scattered and into doing his shtick to dig into someone and make it interesting. Not sure if he'll work out the way Dave did. Not sure about that Fallon guy ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:37 PM on February 12, 2009


Suddenly I find myself experiencing melancholy pangs of mourning... I really miss Larry Bud Melman handing out towels at the train station.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:58 PM on February 12, 2009


I loved how they introduced Conan to an audience who didn't have the slightest idea who he was (which was virtually everyone). He didn't even have significant name-recognition from "The Simpson" yet. They showed a tape of him arriving to work, happy, jovial, "no pressure", waving to various people, shooting a broad grin and giving a confident "thumbs-up", going into his office ... and casually throwing a noose over an overhead ceiling beam.

I was sold pretty quickly.
posted by RavinDave at 9:05 PM on February 12, 2009


When people are really good at pretending to be crazy, they're no longer pretending.
posted by zippy at 11:06 PM on February 12, 2009


On Letterman: Since 9-11 he's attained the kind of straight-talk gravitas and moral center with politicians that doesn't occur on real news. I've never seen that interview with O'reilly before and it was awesome. The motherfucker, is THOUGHTFUL. What other entertainer could hold a presidential candidate accountable for skipping his show? In 20 years people will be dissing Jon Stewart for selling out and being stuffy too, but they have the same basic human aspiration: to point out the crassness and dishonesty of all spheres, with no more agenda than to give their viewers a hint of truth and, despite its ugliness, help us feel like it's going to be all right. Goodnight everybody!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:28 AM on February 13, 2009


Aaaand here's the guy who allegedly made Joaquin want to become a horrible rapper...

allegedly.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:51 AM on February 13, 2009




all a set up. no doubts in my mind.
posted by htotheizo at 9:34 AM on February 13, 2009


That’s 72 unforced errors for Richie Tenenbaum. He’s playing the worst tennis of his life. What’s he feeling right now, Tex Hayward?

I don’t know, Jim. There’s obviously something wrong with him. He’s taken off his shoes and one of his socks and… actually, I think he’s crying.

I think you’re right.

Who’s he looking at in the friends’ box, Tex?

That’s his sister, Margot and her new husband, Raleigh St. Clair. They were just married yesterday, Jim.

Oh, yes.

I’ve never seen anything like this.

Neither have I.

Strange day out here at Windswept Fields.

posted by From Bklyn at 1:29 AM on February 16, 2009


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