Like a cursed prince in a fairy tale who wished upon a monkey's paw...
August 20, 2019 7:29 AM   Subscribe

New York Magazine's "I Think About This A Lot" is dedicated to those little private fixations that play forever in our minds. In this case, about Dana Schwartz's fascination with that time Robert Pattinson made up a story on the Today show about watching a clown explode.
posted by Navelgazer (29 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I like to assume that 90% of everything that is said on celebrity chat shows is fake.

Except that story about Tiffany Haddish taking Will and Jada Smith on a Groupon swamp tour. That one was 100% real.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:38 AM on August 20, 2019 [21 favorites]

Ha—this reminded me of one of my favorite short stories: Saki’s “The Open Window.” Thanks for posting it.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:40 AM on August 20, 2019 [12 favorites]

It was a clown question, to be fair
posted by thelonius at 7:44 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Some people have standards to elaborately plan and spend $350,000 to create their fake stories.

Nathan Fielder, we don't deserve you.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:45 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

"I have to reapply deodorant before making a dentist appointment on the phone."
So, I'm not alone.
posted by PatchesPal at 7:48 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I never thought I'd have the appropriate forum to share this anecdote, but the one and only time I went to a Twilight convention, Robert Pattinson was there. I didn't see him on the expo floor but when I was heading up to my hotel room on the second night he got in the elevator with me. He didn't say anything, so I left him alone. When I got to my floor and stepped off I turned around just to make sure it was really him, and he was smiling this... awful smile. Not quite a leer, really - more like a happy grimace. I didn't know what to do, so I just stood there like an idiot. The doors started closing when suddenly there was a flash of light and a popping sound that made me close my eyes and stumble backwards. When I opened my eyes, the doors were closed and a slight haze filled the hallway. On the floor I saw something red rolling toward me.

A single foam clown nose.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:14 AM on August 20, 2019 [27 favorites]

The story is funny but the framing is a bit much. Pattinson a sociopath? No more then any other bored 25 year old, especially one catapulted to stardom at an early age, at 7 in the morning being asked if he likes circuses (which might be your definition of a sociopath so YMMV). But I'd argue that Pattinson isn't just trivialising being interviewed by Matt Lauer but trivialising celebrity interviews in general. I'm not wholly convinced that they actually add a lot to the advertisement of some films, especially if one of the actors is an unwilling participant. I mean they can be entertaining like this one but still.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:20 AM on August 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

excuse me but the most important rpattz anecdote is the one where he was so bored and overwhelmed with ennui during a film shoot that he went up to the fan who had been standing on the street outside his rental apartment in spain for 3 weeks and said "hey let's hang out, i have no friends" and she took him to her family's restaurant and he just drowned her in his existential darkness for 2h until she got up and walked away and never stood on the street outside his rental apartment again.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:32 AM on August 20, 2019 [53 favorites]

Matt Lauer opened the interview about the circus-themed movie by asking if Pattinson ever dreamed of running away to the circus.

I haven’t watched morning tv at home in many years, but once in a while I’ll be sitting somewhere waiting—in a doctor’s office, at the DMV, etc—and the Today Show or GMA will be playing and they are just so damn weird and fake and surreal. It’s the mental equivalent of eating 10 pixie stix for breakfast. It just can’t be good for you.
posted by sallybrown at 8:32 AM on August 20, 2019 [17 favorites]

posted by poffin boffin at 8:33 AM on August 20, 2019 [14 favorites]

The writer kept harping on how shocking it was that whatsisname didn't understand the negative consequences of making up an exploding clown story... Say what?? So I attempted to imagine the negative consequences for making up an exploding clown story, but I came up empty... as did the author, apparently, as there were no examples. I mean, gee, when comedians do this, it doesn't seem to cause such sturm & drang...

I couldn't shake the feeling the author was attempting to purge an intense obsession for whatsisname through cockamamie logic...

I plan on thinking about this ZERO times a month for the next several years....
posted by Empty Planet at 9:30 AM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

It’s almost like he was joking.
posted by Segundus at 9:44 AM on August 20, 2019 [13 favorites]

The interviewer was Matt Lauer. Matt Lauer sexually assaulted multiple people. In that conversation, rpatt is the sociopath?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:00 AM on August 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I think the joke is that being obsessed with such a silly triviality isn't the behaviour of someone with a well ordered set of personal priorities.
posted by howfar at 10:12 AM on August 20, 2019

God that's the least funny thing I've ever written. Way to kill a fucking joke.
posted by howfar at 10:13 AM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Don't sweat it howfar, we all know you're still shaken up by the autogyro accident you had last week. No capes!
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:29 AM on August 20, 2019

I did not see this press appearance in particular but RPatz and KStew's interviews as Twilight went on got more and more delightful and they gave fewer and fewer shits. That is not something you see very often in entertainment media, and it was HILARIOUS to watch. I don't generally watch late-night TV on purpose -- just when I happen to be up and the TV is still on -- but I religiously tuned in to watch KStew discomfit interviewers and drive Twilight's PR team crazy.

(I never saw a Twilight movie, but I probably saw every interview KStew gave on late night starting with the release of #2.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:56 AM on August 20, 2019 [10 favorites]

I remember very clearly hearing an interview with RPatz back in the background, only half listening, but he gave a very vivid description of the sounds of cheering fans sounding like the gates of hell opening that was just absolute perfection, and made me like him quite a bit more from that point on.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

I've actually been in this kind of situation as the interviewer, mercifully not live. In this case it was an 8am interview and I think that the interviewee might have still been under the influence of some drug, I will frame it as cold medication, and gave me a lot of details of her life that were pretty recognizable as Audrey Hepburn's since I'm pretty sure no one born in the late 60s lived in Nazi-occupied the Netherlands watching people being sent to concentration camps, plus a ballet career that no research uncovered about this person.

It's hard to describe the weird combination of enjoying being in on the joke (and in my case, improbably invited to hang out with said celeb) and horror and dread as you realize you are not going to be able to produce any usable text without going full gonzo, because the celebrity has decided that the goal is to see what ridiculous thing she can get away with. In my fantasy journalism life I did write that piece Hunter S. Thompson style.
posted by warriorqueen at 11:16 AM on August 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Be fair. If John Cleese were asked if he had any childhood circus stories, you'd be in for an extensive account of a disaster involving two tigers, a bearded lady, a hovercraft and a swan.
posted by SPrintF at 12:34 PM on August 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked the idea of this as an ongoing column, and then I saw that someone else's private obsession was why did Sheryl Crow tell America that you don't need more than one square of toilet paper to wipe your ass and I was instantly like OH MY GOD SOMEONE ELSE THINKS ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME TOO so now I love the idea of this as an ongoing column.
posted by chrominance at 12:53 PM on August 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I came in here thinking this was Robert Patrick and the deadpan delivery I imagined was gorgeous.

Then I realized I was picturing Mitch Pileggi.

If you followed me there welcome to deepest middle age.
posted by abulafa at 4:02 PM on August 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I’ve never understood the craze about Robert Pattinson or Twilight, I actually find him really unattractive to look at and he always looks miserable and like he needs a bath. Having said that, this anecdote makes me like him a whole lot more. I can totally see the vacuousness of the Hollywood news cycle and how eventually it just doesn’t matter what you say, so you might as well make it up! I’m surprised he still works (does he?) he looks like someone who should probably escape and retire from it all.
posted by Jubey at 7:03 PM on August 20, 2019

I’m surprised he still works (does he?)

Oh my, yes.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:21 PM on August 20, 2019

So I attempted to imagine the negative consequences for making up an exploding clown story

As near as I can tell, the negative consequences were people becoming interested in something Robert Pattinson said. I can see how that could be very upsetting for him.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:50 PM on August 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's sort of incredible that a movie as reviled as Twilight gave us both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 8:11 AM on August 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

It's sort of incredible that a movie as reviled as Twilight gave us both Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

The transformation of Kristen Stewart from object of ridicule to queer icon is maybe my favorite celebrity development of the past decade.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:49 AM on August 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Pattinson is also an incredible fucking actor. He was in this small gritty indie movie called Good Times, and he was just astounding.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:07 AM on August 21, 2019

Ok now that we’re talking about Kristen Stewart I need to point out that there’s a profile of her in the new Vanity Fair, with pictures. (I haven’t read it yet because my queer ass literally tripped over my own feet when I saw the cover in the store yesterday and now I am dead.)
posted by skycrashesdown at 11:07 AM on August 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

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