Out here in the sticks, despite the fabulous inventions technology has brought us, news travels slowly. I like Letterman but don’t often watch the show because I’m usually either writing or in bed at 11:30 P.M. Besides I am a little put off by Dave lately because his political bias has been showing through on the show. I am not, however, one of those folks who won’t watch anyone I don’t agree with politically. I don’t want my entertainment choices to be limited to Gary Sinise, Tom Selleck, Toby Keith and Lee Greenwood but sometimes I just can’t take the bleed through.
So I was a little behind the curve on the whole Joaquin Phoenix being weird on Letterman last Wednesday night (Feburary11, 2009). I had to watch an edited version of the interview on The Huffington Post. Settle down, my conservative friends, yes I just mentioned the dreaded Huff and not only do I read items there I used to write for their 23/6 political site. Someone has to keep an eye on them.
I also went and found clips of Mr. Phoenix “rapping” and announcing his retirement from acting. It seems to me that Joaquin isn’t moving into hip-hop as much as he is moving into comedy and channeling the spirit of Andy Kaufman. For some of you younger folks, Andy was a comedian who took his act off stage and into his life 24/7 with his Tony Clifton character and later with his foray into professional wrestling. Andy never broke character either as Tony or when he was doing his wrestling thing. The joke was never over, that was part of the beauty of the comedy, it was all set up and no punchline. The really odd thing is that David Letterman was at the heart of both of these pieces of great performance art.
As I watched the Joaquin interview he never got tired of or angry with Dave’s insults or belittling attitude. Odd, don’t you think that a guy who is has a reputation for being a little touchy about his work never gets angry that neither Dave, nor the audience is taking him seriously. Even when Paul Schaffer jumps in with a laugh it all seems too planned. While I respect David Letterman as a comic some of the lines he gets off in the alleged interview seem a little rehearsed. So I say let Joaquin have his fun as he spoofs the hip-hop world and the rest of us with his career change but keep in mind that wrestler Jerry Lawler dropped Andy Kaufman on his head. Or was that just part of the joke?