Joaquin Phoenix and late night: What's old is new again

Davidletterman_lIf you saw Joaquin Phoenix‘s hijinks on last night’s Late Show With David Letterman and worried that the ”retired” actor and aspiring rapper is losing his grip, take heart: People were wondering the same thing nine years and two Oscar nominations ago. Trawling through the EW archives we hit upon this item that seems like it could have been written this morning (with the words "The Yards" simply changed to "Two Lovers"), but is actually from Nov. 3, 2000. An excerpt:

"And the No. 1 bizarre talk show guest is…The Yards star[Joaquin] Phoenix! On a Late Show With David Letterman appearance, the actorcame off as hilariously dazed and confused, claiming he couldn’tremember his birthday or, at one point, where he got his tattoo. Thisfollows a May spot on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in whichPhoenix was so distracted Leno requested that he ”be here in person”next time. Phoenix’s camp had no comment, but Late Show execproducer Maria Pope replies: ”He’s been on three times now. The firstcouple of times we thought there was a gas leak in the greenroom. Nowwe’ve determined, no, that’s just Joaquin.”

So here’s what’s really the most bizarre thing about last night’s shenanigans — it’s 2009: How come I can’t find either of these older interviews on YouTube? Anybody got ‘em or remember them? Today’s your day to share!

More Joaquin Phoenix:
Ken Tucker: Joaquin Phoenix on ‘David Letterman’ : Huh????
Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career: An elaborate hoax?
Joaquin Phoenix’s publicist says his music act is the real deal
Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career: To believe or not to believe?


addCredit(“John Paul Filo/CBS”)

Comments (99 total) Add your comment
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  • RiverWasBetter

    OMIGOD — that guy is NUTS. I mean this desire to quit acting and start rapping is sincere, he didn’t help the cause last nite.
    And how pissed would you be if he was promoting your new movie and he did THAT interview instead?
    He needs an intervention. I think he’s on drugs.
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  • MCW

    “He’s been on three times now. The first couple of times we thought there was a gas leak in the greenroom.”
    Now why can’t the late night shows be THAT funny? That is downright hilarious right there :D
    Joaquin has taken his own personal attempt at Borat a bit to far, I think. I get what he was going for, but it just isn’t funny anymore. The glasses and beard hide his laughter well, as it must be hard to keep up this ruse.
    It’s a good ruse, but the gig is officially up.

  • Richard

    Maybe the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Anyone remember how, in the late eighties, River Phoenix told a reporter he’d lost his virginity when he was four? Many places ran with it and the debate ensued about if it were true. It was later revealed that Phoenix thought the reporter was being nosy asking a personal question like that so he decided to get back at the reporter by yanking his chain and giving a fake answer.
    I certainly hope Joaquin hasn’t made his last movie.

  • Gibs

    It works though…he could possibly pull off a sureal kind of hip hop. The radio head of rap???

  • Allison

    This behaviour is the total opposite of when I saw him on Regis and Kelly, about a year ago. During that interview, he was disarmingly charming and even hugged Kelly and they had an arm wrestling competition. I was shocked because I was expecting a much more aloof Joaquin.

  • Rick

    How come you can’t find old clips on YouTube??
    Have you heard of the Content Nazis? Everybody wants to protect their content…so protected, in fact, that’s impossible to find.

  • steve

    Remember, folks – he’s an ACTOR.

  • Tom Brazelton

    Here are a couple of theories people seem remiss to explore: 1.) Maybe he’s just a crappy interviewee? 2.) Maybe he’s such a crappy interviewee, he’s created this mumbling character to hide behind?

  • JContreras

    He’s putting up a gimmick to get us to talk about him; it worked. But whatever..

  • fromafar

    I saw him on Letterman a couple years ago. I could only guess he was high on ecstasy. All he wanted to do was hug Dave. Once again, creepy/funny/weird.

  • Tom
  • whammer

  • Walter


  • MJ

    It was an act. Before the camera cut away after the interview Joaquin stood up and whipped off his sunglasses,shook Dave’s hand and said “Good job.” Folks, it’s all just schtick.

  • KWise

    Drugs. He’s on drugs. Simple as that.
    I have seen some of his interviews before, including the one referenced above from Leno a few years ago. He certainly wasn’t being filmed by Casey Affleck that time. He’s just on drugs is my theory.

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