February 12th, 2009
12:05 PM ET

Joaquin Phoenix: Least forthcoming interview ever?

Joaquin Phoenix was on “The Late Show with David Letterman” last night, and Letterman’s interview with him brought back memories of the legendarily uncomfortable Letterman interviews of the ‘80s - as in, Crispin Glover or Farrah Fawcett uncomfortable.

Phoenix, who has been described as “mercurial” by director James Gray, appeared to still be asleep. As Dave peppered him with questions -– at one point asking the heavily bearded Phoenix, “Can you tell us about your days with the Unabomber?” - Phoenix gave monosyllabic answers and acted genuinely perplexed by the audience’s tittering.

Now, of course, it could all be an act. But it’s still surprising to see, in this age of polished, “tell me about your movie” interviews, interactions that go so obviously wrong.

Anyway, take a look for yourself.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer

Filed under: Celebrities • television

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soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. loki

    I find it entertaining, awkwardness in interviews. I mean, most celebs have the prefect anecdote, the funniest story. But the most interesting ones are when the hilarity is from the uncomfortableness of the people involved. Is he joking or isn't he? Classic. And that get-up, absolutely ridiculous. I was waiting for a flock of baby birds to fly out of his beard. I'm not surprised at all by one of the Phoenix's clan acting like a complete crackhead...crazy hippies! And the best thing is you can continue the jokes long after the event of weirdness has occurred. We havent heard the last from Joaquin!

    February 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. S

    Idk. It could be drugs, but the guy looks like he's lost his mind. Ugh its so depressing! Not funny in the least

    February 24, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dean

    the show was set to be cheeky i suppose.
    J.Phoenix was acting like that on purpose...
    yeah it was funny ..but different...maybe he was trying to put through a under laying statement.

    February 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Xela

    man, this was hilarious....
    Joaquin was excellent.....

    February 24, 2009 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. nearlynormalized

    Is he doing the same drugs that killed his brother? I liked Ben Stiller playing the boy at the Oscars.

    February 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. peter

    slum dog millionaire will win it

    February 22, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Floria Gingigglesworth

    The guy is obviously high. Those who have never done drugs may think it's a hoax, but those who have know exactly what this dude was thinking at the time. He actually held it together ok and didn't freak out like Crispin Glover or whatever his name is did, but it is clear he was under the influence of probably acid, mushrooms or heroin. Duh.

    February 21, 2009 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. amy williams

    the sad truth is nothing can stop addiction most times, its one of the deadliest illnesses out there and not a moral issue, not your brothers or mothers or childs death can sober you up, its not a rational disease, it usually only exaserbates it or makes it worse when a family member dies, just like the throat cancer patient who smokes. He has nothing to prove artistically, he comes from a place that is a bit higher intellectually and he doesn't really give a crap what we think, he's really nervous , could be a lot of thngs, drugs included ,he is probably annoyed and has possibly gone to overload emotionally, most importantly he is still grieving, if anyone really knows what grief is, it never leaves you especailly if you have a unbalanced base to begin with,the love he felt for his brother was monumental and that comes from parents who knew something about love, his family is beautiful and talented and tragically affected like many great minds and artists, its life , i love him as an artist and a human being , its all ok if he sorts it out and I with the universe am rooting for him

    February 21, 2009 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gloria

    it looked like he had maybe just gotten sarah palin pregnant, you know, that stunned sort of complete removal from earth sensation that anyone who has gotten sarah palin pregnant must feel, that sort of psychotic horror or disbelief.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sean

    Somebody has seen the end of 'the Doors' one too many times

    February 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Caroline

    If he didn't care about the biz anymore, he wouldn't have shown up on Letterman.

    Looks like he's gone mental. Man might need some therapy.

    February 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Scott

    Let's focus less on Joaquin's odd performance and instead applaud Letterman's great skill. Dave managed to make what could have been a dull 5 minutes include a very funny clip that everyone's talking about.

    February 20, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. paul

    he wasn't faking he wasn't doing anything. he just doesn't care anymore about the biz.

    February 20, 2009 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. jozilla

    ... anyone who doesn't understand this as an act doesn't understand acting.

    prior to this interview, JP was all about his veganism, his spirituality.

    total publicity stunt. ... or the aliens.

    February 20, 2009 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    As an ardent fan of Mr. Phoenix and one who believes he deserved the Supporting Oscar for Gladiator and Best Actor Oscar for Walk the Line, whether he was acting with Mr. Letterman or not, the failure by the Academy of Motion Pictures to recognize his talent highlights a systemic failure of their body politics, which if characterized by an actor I would expect to look like the person Mr. Letterman interviewed.

    February 20, 2009 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  16. Maxwell

    And the Oscar goes to.........

    February 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. ndiezel

    "PR" and "getting himself in the news"? If a marginal C lister did this type of thing I would say you are correct. But c'mon! A publicity stunt? That's like saying Tom Cruise was jumping up and down on a couch to "get himself in the news".

    February 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Nikki

    I hope its an act, but didnt he just recently "retire"?? But ya never know he grew up in a cult and sometimes it make you alittle off. But again I hope its an act.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Ben

    He's definately doing schtick, and he's apparently fooling a lot of people!

    February 19, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Jessica

    I honestly think, it's all an act. At least I hope it is.... otherwise WOW.......

    February 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  21. JP

    Has anyone ever seen when Jim Carrey accepted some award dressed as a hippie and appeared to be high? No one said he was a whack job... but instead everyone loved his "character"... these Hollywood entertainers love to be in front of camera...

    February 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Letterman fan

    Phoenix isn't the point here...its the brilliant Letterman. This is a great lead in for the droves of fans that will bail from NBC to CBS once they force Jay to leave. I've liked Leno and Letterman enough to consider them both options, but switching to Letterman makes my Top Ten list of 2009.

    February 18, 2009 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  23. Celia

    It's really sad when people think someone with an obvious problem is "faking it" or trying to be funny. I feel sorry for this guy. He was slurring words and his responses were delayed. He was not all there. I hope we don't hear about Joaquin dying of an overdose, like his brother. Get help, Joaquin.

    February 18, 2009 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  24. Testamie

    His friends and love ones need to help him soon. He is using big time! Next year we will all be saying "We should've seen this coming". HELP HIM IF YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO KNOWS HIM! Now is the time to step in and do something!!!!!

    February 18, 2009 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  25. sara

    Just shows how messed up our world is...everyone blames "drugs" as the culprit...probably the same people accusing Joaquin of using "drugs" are on multitudes of prescribed "drugs". "But, those aren't drugs...(sarcasm)". Anyhoo, the interview was WACKY...I don't think anyone-except Joaquin could explain it. Celebrities are human also...just remember how hard it was to stand-up in front of the class and give a speech-I WISH they made a drug that could help that stagefright. We are in a grave state of "judging everyone all the time." Relax, lighten up, enjoy life...and let others do the same without projecting your "judgement"...LOVE!

    February 18, 2009 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  26. Ronda

    David Letterman was the only genius on this show! This is exactly why people LOVE Letterman, and as for the other guy... who really cares what he is up to?? He looked like he needed a shower! The only thing that I am thankful for is that I got to see it firsthand. I miss the days when everyone in the audience seems to be in on a joke and the only ones wondering what is going on are the celebrities onstage. This is why I watch Dave, I miss the old Cher/Madonna interviews!!

    February 18, 2009 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  27. M Scott Nyland

    Alright guys, here's the deal. Just do some simple research and youtube an older interview with the two of them. It's a standard celebrity BORING interview. Generally, Celebs always end up telling silly stories about their cats, or their dumb dogs or their young children and the audience politely laughs and the host sounds so interested and intrigued. That's stupid.

    This, as in this most recent interview with Jacquin, was TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT. The laughter from the audience was genuine, loud, nervous, excited. They didn't know how the hell to figure out what was happening in front of them.

    Pay close attention and you'll see a couple minor slip ups from Jacquin. Otherwise it was genuine theater and entertainment. Not a boring celeb interview where they're talking at endless lengths about themselves and their movie. Make sense?

    February 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  28. kame

    what movie?

    this is a brilliant stunt, way to go boys, have fun with it.

    February 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Maxine

    I love him. He has been fantastic in every single movie. I love the fact that we are talking about him and not his latest movie! I love Letterman too. I was crying with laughter by the end of the movie. I think Joaquin should look into comedy!

    February 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Lois

    Personally, I think David Letterman is the one who is to blame for a lousy interviewl. He's supposed to talk to his people but all he ever does is insult them, say insulting things in a joking manner, and be rude to them. I can't imagine who anyone would even agree to be on his show.

    February 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  31. amanda

    Yeah, so – he was CLEARLY faking it. Look to his small smirks and laughs. And Dave knew exactly how to play off him. Now, I didn't think was an extremely good sketch (because that's what it was, it wasn't an interview) – but it made me smile, faintly. The thought that it is part of a larger mockumentary – would LOVE to see that. And hey, if you can train yourself to sing like Johnny Cash and play guitar to more fully portray him – sure, why not, pursue that hip hop career 🙂 Clearly he's creative, and maybe this is indeed part of a larger creative scheme. Give it time 🙂

    February 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Tom

    Sad, considering the plight of his brother some 18 years ago. Given the case of his brother, it's hard for me to imagine that he is just "putting on an act." If he is, then he has even more deamons to deal than just your run of the mill drug addiction. – excuse the cynicism.

    February 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Tom McCormick

    Brings back remembrances of Andy Kauffman and his appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. And we all know what happened to Andy. Get some help, Joaquin, or order your pine box early before the price goes up. You need serious help.

    February 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  34. liz

    seriously, nobody cares..he acted like a fool. & he's FAT!!!! based on that one appearance, Id skip his movies in the future. He had an opportunity....he blew it. too stupid for me.

    February 17, 2009 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  35. Rikki

    I think his beard is sexy!!! Yeah!

    February 16, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Michelle Lauer

    All I could think was "what the.........". What a waste of incredible talent.

    February 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Debbie Shaver

    I think that it was sad,and down right RUDE of Letterman to treat him that way. Come on Letterman had to of seen Joaquin before he went on air. And in knowing this Letterman could of just not let him on. Granted Joaquin was out there and that was sad to see, but to speak to him and demean him that way in my opinion is Rude and unforgiveable. At best as soon as Joaquin sat down at the very begaining Letterman could of said folks we are going to take a break here be right back and have Joaquin leave the set, But no .....He had to humiliate him. I don't know what was wrong with Joaquin but it is clear he needs some help and a REAL FRIEND to talk to. This man has talent and something is really wrong in his life. I say SHAME on Letterman! And a note to Joaquin.. Get some help PLEASE. You were put here on this earth for a purpose. Listen to your heart , You know in your heart who your only true friend is.You have all these people telling you what you do for nothing else but for what you can give them. Letterman I sure do hope that you don't fall from your high tower and make a mistake and someone is rude and humiliates and treats you in public like you treated Joaquin. Nothing like kicking a dog when it's down huh? You need more human compassion! I for one am done with your show. SHAME ON YOU!

    February 16, 2009 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  38. Bill

    As stated previously, "Who gives a F&%K?!" He's a marginally talented douchebag. I stopped watching this late night crap when it obviously became mini-promos for crappy movies. Letterman gives 30 minutes to the idiot former Gov of Illinois and a mere 2 minutes to Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins?! And when is the only time you see the likes of Harrison Ford on these shows? When he's got a crappy movie to promote. Turn off your TV at 11:30 and go to bed!!

    February 16, 2009 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  39. Jennifer

    drugs are bad – good example!

    February 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  40. BEK

    If he was acting, it was neither funny nor interesting. A genius??? If that is genius we are in some serious trouble. If this is a planned "act" of some sort, what exactly is the point?

    February 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Suzanne

    Does anyone not think that David Letterman was very rude! He started out making insulting comments. Who wouldn't respond in the same way. I think that Joaquin acted appropriately considering he was being made a joke by Dave. So what if he has decided to change his look. The public may not like it but it is not for David Letterman to ridicule.

    February 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Nichi71

    I believe Joaquin is a brillant actor as was he brother, Phoenix. But he doesn't need to do this "Andy Kaufman" thing to get ratings....his acting speaks for itself. He may just have forgotten, sidetracked from his singing. He will be known as one of the best actors of our generation, but if he is in fact on drugs than he will follow in the same path as Phoenix....and it will be our loss!

    February 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Rick Ryan, Jr.

    Hopefully he doesn't end up like his brother did..

    February 15, 2009 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  44. Joe

    i feel kind of sorry for Joaquin Phoenix because he does seem genuinely disoriented and Letterman gave him a hard time about it

    February 15, 2009 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  45. Chris

    It is my opinion that this is some kind of hoax for a project he may be involved in, coming up in the near future. Or perhaps for a role he may be researching for. This definitely does not seem real. Guaranteed it will all be exposed at a much later date that this was all for a project he was working on. Perhaps a documentary of some sort....or just another movie role.

    February 15, 2009 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  46. Curt Campbell

    Heroin, an Autistic Nature, Depression, Social Anxiety? He could have some really bad weed too!!! He might have been paranoid...From the Weed or the Drugs he is on...

    People who struggle with social anxiety feel extremely self-conscious and afraid in social situations. Meeting new people, going to a party, public speaking are all sources of fear and anxiety (those situations can induce feelings of discomfort in all of us but social anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder is marked by extreme feelings of fear). Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that's fairly common.

    February 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Prof. Pye Chartt


    Assuming it wasn't some staged "mockumentary" bit...

    I think it's sad that our society has devolved to the point that the entertainers (actors, musicians) whose behavior is least respectable are the ones we often seem to worship on some bizarre level. It used to be that there were certain ways to destroy your privileged career. Now, I'm not so sure there are ANY. Behaving like an imbecile seems to fuel the career by setting an entertainer apart from the boring ones who attentively and graciously smile, laugh, converse, and act respectable and polite (ie. normal). We seem to hatch obnoxious, egomaniacal, undereducated rappers on a famous-farm somewhere, and we love the spoiled celebrity actors who crash their cars while intoxicated, get in a domestic fight, chastise our politics, or refuse to honor or respect the fans that made them rich and "successful."

    We don't want to admit it, but, it says a lot about us...and it ain't good.

    February 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Jennifer

    I think if you walked out on stage and everyone started to laugh at you and contiued to laugh at you for 20 minutes, you might be a bit defensive as well. just a hunch.....

    February 14, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Jimmy

    I also think he was getting into the role of what he thinks a rapper should be...high all the time.

    February 14, 2009 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  50. Jimmy

    The guy was stoned out of his mind!

    February 14, 2009 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  51. Elizabeth

    YyYYYYAAAAAAYYYYYY Jaoquin, Good job. I will always be loyal to you and am not judgemental to you because I dont have a right to be just like noone else is. I personally think it is an act and would be something you would do. You are very smart and I wouldnt put this past you. I hope it is and I think you are great no matter what. I wish the best for Jaoquin. THis will not hurt his career at all. He is a great actor and always will be. This probably will help it. HIs brother was great too

    February 14, 2009 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  52. alex

    maybe he is promoting a film, casey affleck was filming it could be a future film, he was looking for a response and he certainly got one, i mean come on just look at the comments on here, if he was trying to prove people would be shaken up and talk about it all day, he was right

    February 14, 2009 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  53. Lisa

    He’s Bipolar. Cut the guy some slack. He can’t help it.

    He's up. He's down. He's great. He's wierd. Above all he's often a great artist. He's just in a strange place right now.

    Bipolar people like him don't need illicit drugs. They naturally produce their own highs and lows.

    In fact, he may not be taking any drugs and that is his problem.

    Casey Affleck needs to stop filming JP and escort him ASAP to a doctor.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  54. eeg

    He appears to be a great thinker like Thoreau or Socrates.

    February 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Melissa

    Emily Jane–I agree with you that he seemed incredibly sad and detached. And pray for him, yes. I found myself feeling really sad for him as I watched it. But, then again–he IS a fabulous actor–maybe that was an act. If it was, he should get an oscar.

    February 13, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Melissa

    I agree with the person that wrote 'a la Andy Kaufman'. I really really hope that Joaquin Phoenix is not taking the drug road as far as it appeared–I always thought he would be smarter than that. I think that this is just part of his own personal satirical joke of what Hollywood stands for in society. Let's face it, the man can do whatever he wants–just please don't die of an overdose for God's sake!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  57. becas

    Way to get yourself talked about for you upcoming movie... if you are wacked out on Drugs.... poor you...!!!!! if you think that you need to do that to get attention...

    February 13, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Brian Henley

    Look...This is Phoenix's attempt to do a Kauffman-esque bit. But it is just that a bit. And a rip-off of Kauffman's style. While I greatly appreciate the attempt and thought the Letterman interview was hilarious. Phoenix is not original and this performance lacks heart.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Frank

    He needs help, its plain to see that he's on a road to destruction, and he won't know it until he hits rock bottom. Hopefully not like his brother did.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Tet

    I think he's just acting...He almost cracked up at the earlier part of the interview but he did finally smiled at the end.

    February 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Banana

    It's a hoax...and actually, it's also a planned art project for Phoenix. Casey Afleck is filming a documentary style film of Joaquin's "transition" from acting to a hip-hop musical career, and Joaquin is pretending to have a 'nervous breakdown' throughout the whole thing. If he didn't have ridiculous publicity stunts, and public calamities, who would want to watch this film when they're finished? In other words...he's just f*%^ing with us. Sheesh...hasn't anyone ever heard of Andy Kaufman??

    February 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Mike

    He's a lummox. Maybe now that he's leaving acting he'll fall off the radar for good. I'm sure he's lived a hard life and woe is Joaquin, but it's getting tedius. His movies aren't that great – he won't be missed for very long.

    February 13, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Kimba

    take a minute and google this guy..back on Jan. 1 there is an article about the slippery slope and how his friends are worried about him. The guy was on drugs pure and simple...possibly heroin, oxycontin, or some sort of painkillers. I've worked in rehab, trust me, this is no Andy Kaufman act. I was really bummed to see the audience laugh the way they did, no one seemed to get it.

    February 13, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Tina

    I love the part when he puts his gum under the desk......

    February 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Chase

    "Joaquin, sorry you couldn't be here tonight".....love it !!!

    February 13, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Chase

    Love the 'Signs' reference Papi.

    Papi February 12th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

    "...rap away there phoenix boy..rap away!!

    February 13, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Marie

    He definitely looked and acted like someone nodding etc. on heroin...if that's not it then I think he is trying to sabotage his own career...

    February 13, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Emily Jane

    I think that instead of picking on him and giving the situation such ridicule perhaps everyone should just pray for him. It would be more beneficial and thoughtful. Although he is a celebrity he is still a person.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  69. Emily Jane

    Could something just have happened that he was in shock and in grief over? He seemed incredibly sad and detached to me.

    February 13, 2009 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  70. Sam

    I like Joaquin as an actor but in reality he is just another Hollywood wierdo strung out on dope making millions, who would a thunk it?

    February 13, 2009 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
  71. kate

    Are you people telling me that you've never seen anyone stoned before? I like Joaquin also, I liked him when his name was "Leaf", but he obviously has some chemical issues to deal with here.

    February 13, 2009 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  72. Jackson

    He's channeling Andy Kauphman.

    February 12, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Aireez

    What an incredible embarrassment.

    February 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  74. curtis martin

    We could assign all kinds of "artistic" motivations behind his recent activities, but I think the most obvious conclusion drawn from observation is usually the most likely true. I think he's just stoned out of his mind.

    February 12, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  75. LoveIsAllAround

    It's very hard to believe that a guy who watched his beloved older brother OD on the sidewalk right in front of his eyes would ever turn to drugs. If that doesn't steer you clear from addiction, what on earth ever could? I hope to God Joaquin was in character for something because otherwise, he's an incredibly dull, spacey personality. I've never seen him interviewed before that I remember. I pray this isn't the norm. I've thought he was a great actor ever since GLADIATOR.

    February 12, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  76. gus

    Maybe he is acting- or preparing for a role
    the whole rapper thing and the way he looks – reminds me of
    Rick Rubin the famous producer for muscians like jay z

    February 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  77. CrispinGlover


    thanks for taking the pressure off. i am no longer the worst guest in letterman history.

    February 12, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  78. fuq-the-norm

    Whether faking it or not, it's great to see someone buck the "norm". IE: Extreme plasticity in today's media is very robotic & to me he acted like he was disgusted with the whole charade. Kinda like Ken Kesey would do if he went on there, kind of directly making fun of how serious we are (instead of say a Andy Kaufman "charade" joke on us all). I hope it's not an act! Even tho he prob is faking & is talented enough to pull it off.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  79. steven

    Man ppl, do some research- its for a movie he's doin. jeese i guess ppl do believe everything the see on the boob tube.

    February 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Mary

    I think he is screwing around with the idea of celebrity. It's pretty fishy that Casey Affleck is running around filming him. I think they sat down one night over some beers and came up with the idea to create this crazy scheme to act crazy. In about a year, they'll have a mockumentary about the whole thing.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  81. RL

    Stunt or not, Dave was hilarious!

    February 12, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Jayla

    Very sad, imo. If it was an act, it was a poorly chosen act and ill-timed and only shows how strange Joaquin is. No doubt the weirdness of that cult he grew up in has started to manifest itself as he ages. If it was for real, the man needs help and I hope he gets it. Sounds like Casey Affleck could use a bit of help also.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  83. P D

    To the family of Joaquin Phoenix,

    Hello, Hello, Get Joaquin to rehab immediately. He is in terrible condition.

    To other bloggers, this could not be an act.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  84. julie

    Joaquin has been rumored to be a very private person which might explain his decision to grow a full beard......maybe hide behind that hair, who knows, but it's very sad to see such a talented actor display (if it's not an act) some sort of emotional problems. But it's a disgrace for Letterman to deliberately invite people who he perceives to be in an unstable psychological state as he show's guest. Shame on you, Mr. Letterman, for the sake of ratings or publicity, you hit below the belt and laugh about it. I hope that Joaquin resumes his brilliant acting career. If he doesn't, I wish him good health and the best.

    As for Mr. Letterman, I've never like his show and now even less.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Jon

    I think this is all an experiment in performance art. Casey following him around, the rap career, and this interview are all evidence of something bigger. I think it would be awesome to document the life of a rockstar actor (in my opinion) going down the drain. I mean, listen, how many stars have taken this path for real in the last few years? I think it is a way to poke fun at the industries as a whole, including movie, music, and media – all which have gotten to be more unbelievable than this interview with Dave Letterman.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |

    Crispin glover was tripping when he did Letterman. Phoenix was merely acting reclusive. im guessing it was for his upcoming movie,along with the beard and his hip-hop career. but if it isnt, that will be sad to see both phoenix's going down the same route.

    February 12, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Rockm

    I am pretty sure this was a scam. At the end of the interview and JP was getting ready to leave, he took off his sunglasses and gave Dave a handshake with both hands, as if to genuinely thank him for helping him pull it off. I think they both knew what was going on. Dave was licking his chops when JP came out, as if he knew exactly what was coming. Also JP snickered a little bit at one of Dave's rejoinders, like he couldn't help himself. Dave is really, really good at this stuff...a perfect foil....it was great tv. Hilarious.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Kila

    Obviously the Phoenix family does not take care of their own...This sorry spectacle was downright unsettling. Even scary. I don't think it was dope alone. Psychotic break plus dope...it seemed pretty authentic to me. Poor Dave, a total pro he is.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Cheryl m.

    I believe it could possibly be a stunt and he's acting to launch his singing career. I must say my instincts told me he wasn't acting, but he was such a fine actor, one can't be sure. His physical appearance, that wasn't just for the show as a gag, seems to indicate some real issues. The fact he's retiring from acting also suggests he has a problem of some sort. Also, singing rap at that age is pretty strange. My overall feeling is he's been brain damaged from drugs.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Collin

    I'm not sure if its an act or drugs either way that interview was hilarious.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Big Daddy

    This Phoenix character that is bush league. I don't have the slightest interest in wasting 15 minutes to watch this complete immature idiot act or what he thinks is funny, cute, etc. He deep down is a complete freak already like most hollywood ignorant rich actors, he doesn't need to act it out when promoting a movie. Lastly, with his money don't you think he could get that hair lip scar either lightened or made less visible?

    February 12, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  92. victor semerjian

    It was good to see Letterman back in true form. My favorite quip from last night was "I think we owe Farah Farrah Fawcett an apology."

    February 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Doz

    People who think this is an act aren't very bright.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Tim W.

    After watching him last night, I would not hire him to sweep the floor at the local movie house much less for any type of acting ! YouTube had him singing and I would not buy any of his music !

    February 12, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Lauri

    OK, I hate Joaquins "new" look; I truly hope it's an act, but both he and Dave were hilarious!

    February 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Gene

    Right on Dennis!, Joaquin was just trying to display his newly acquired persona to build a kind of Rap image. It was pretty clever and funny I thought but difficult to tell if Lettermen was playing along or genuinely perturbed by it. In either case I'm surprised people are rushing to be cruel, Joaquin is a sensitive artist merely tripping over his feet a bit as he trys to follow a different path.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  97. gina

    I have been a fan for his entire career. If it is a hoax more power to them if its not why must the media keep on embrassing peopel? Didn't you guys learn anything from Britney? Maybe he needs help! Could you even imagine to watch your brother die and then be compared to him for years? Don't judge until you have lived it.

    February 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Fred

    First, that wasn't heroin for all the folks that think it was. Trust me. I know. If you're interested in what effect heroin has on a person from the safety of your own homes, watch Intervention, Celebrity Rehab or Sober House and you'll notice the difference.

    Maybe publicity stunt? Maybe his Afflec film? Maybe he was annoyed that he was contractually obligated to do a promotional junket for his film when he's only interest is being as anti-Hollywood as possible. He was on Leno a few years back and was similarly odd (albeit not as bad as last night). So maybe by his behavior he's telling the producers of his film "You want to make me show up and promote this thing? Watch how big a mistake that is."

    Or maybe, as the doctor said, he is truly losing his mind.

    Who knows. Nonetheless, I've been watching Dave for over 25 years. You show up on his show and act like a moron, he's gonna have fun with you .

    February 12, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Growler

    Ok I've read the comments so far (wow, I forgot how snarky it can get!). But I still think a lot of you are missing the point (well my point) from much earlier:
    Are YOU going to see the new movie because of the Letterman interview?
    Are you NOT going to see it because of that?

    I have no clue, still, what the movie's about. And after after the "interview".. I have no desire to see it... and I won't. Mocumentary or no, that's just not the way you do business if you are an actor promoting your film.


    And to whoever compared it to Borat/Sacha's appearance.. no it's not taking it a step further. It's like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Ken in Miami

    Judging from all the drinking and gum chewing my guess is the guy had a serious case of cotton mouth. He was baked.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  101. mdy

    I don't know what's sadder...his interview or my spending 10 minutes reading this crap.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  102. Travis

    First off this is most definitely an act, he was trying not to laugh the entire time, every joke dave mde he had to stop himself from laughing. He is done with hollywood he doesn't care what the execs. or anyone has to say or think. He is basically is flipping the bird at hollywood. Awesome! Way to go!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  103. Craig

    Dave got suckered...it's an act for a mockumentary Joaquin is filming.

    Borat's not real either...

    February 12, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  104. ma belle

    I continue to be amazed at how naive our society really is. Anything with the words "asleep" or "sleepy" immmediately points to "nodding out," which is a slang term for being high on heroin. Of course, he could be on any downer class of drug like benzodiazepines or tranquilizers to be in the nod. It's too bad more parents, teachers and bosses aren't aware of the symptoms. More kids and adults would be held accountable. Sad for him, whether it was recreational, habitual or addictive. Sad, because either he's got a problem or he's feeling really embarrassed today.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Justin

    If this was an act to drum up movie goers, it had the opposite effect on me! This guy needs a check-up from the neck up! Get Help!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  106. Patrick

    I think the whole Johnny Cash thing got to his head, and now he's on some hevy drugs. I doubt it's a hoax. If you saw some of the interviews he did after filing the Cash movie, he was clearly under the influence and not acting. And let's not forget he was arrested for driving under he influence not too long after the cash movie.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Abby

    I dunno, he SEEMED out of it, but I think he was effing with us. Look how quickly the gum comes out of his mouth and ends up underneath the desk. You really can't move that quickly and fluidly if you're under the influence.

    I think he's just an eccentric weirdo. Nothing wrong with that. I kinda dig it.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  108. Jana

    Well I'm doing my part and have emailed this to all my friends to spread his embarrassing behavior throughout the internet & posted it to my MySpace blog & posted it on my facebook page which i hopefully they will do the same.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  109. Katie

    I read that it's an act. Both Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly have reported (months ago) that Phoenix's brother-in-law, actor Casey Affleck (brother of Ben), is shooting a documentary with Phoenix as the central character. It's supposed to be about an actor who is bloated and puffed up with himself and leaving acting to rap. It is also targeted at the "idiot" side of tabloid media.
    So, CNN, hello! Do some research before jumping the gun.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  110. Eos

    Two words – Andy Kauffman. When I watched him last night I thought he was playing us just as Andy Kauffman used to do. I was really surprised he was still on the show after David Letterman came back from a break. I thought he would be gone.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  111. Jason

    It's an Andy Kauffman type act... Phoenix has spoken about doing this type of character. People that personally know him, know this is true.
    Wait till you see the final act!!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  112. Heather

    If he is acting, I find that very sad and disappointing, especially since his brother, River, died from a heroin overdose. He needs to rethink his actions and the potential impact that his actions may have on young people who look up to him. He is a great actor, it's a shame that he feels he has to stoop to this level for attention.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  113. bobbie

    Just another overpaid, full of himself actor who thinks he can shoot up and go on a show looking like the wrath of God and be considered 'cool'. I wonder when the last time was that his hair saw shampoo!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  114. Jen

    C'mon guys, it's obviously a hoax. This will all be part of Casey Affleck's film in a year or so. What I love about this whole situation is the reaction he's getting out of the more naive among us – "he's on drugs" or "he's lost his mind" or "he's turning out just like his brother!!" Watch the clip a little more closely and check his reactions. They're sharp as ever.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  115. Ryan

    The only reason actors do talk shows is to promote. He doesn't currently have anything to promote, and that should be the largest clue of all. You don't get asked on Letterman for no good reason.

    From what I've heard, Letterman doesn't talk to the people he's interviewing before the show, making him the perfect late night host to pull one over on for the sake of filming something you want to look real.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  116. Nicole

    the link is not working on CBS....

    its a stunt though....he's brillant like a Leaf :OP

    February 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  117. muttley

    I enjoyed it because in the absence of any interaction it clearly portrayed Letterman for the self-rightous sanctimonious smarm swine he truly is. He plays happy but he's really mad.

    Whereas I don't and won't give a tinker's darn about Joaqin's rap career, I appreciate him for owning the entire skit.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  118. Robert Heapes

    He is not interested in Hollywood/movies anymore and most likely was contractually obliged to promote his movie from before his music epiphany. He probable begrugingly went on the show for his manager/contract or whatever and decicded to get lit up beforehand. He should sort himself out – has problems and I doubt we will see him on Dave's show again he earned his pay dealing with that BS yesterday. okay back to work....

    February 12, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  119. N

    I think this is clearly an act. Phoenix just seems as if he's improvising his way past Dave's questions, and Dave appears to be a bit annoyed, as if he's thinking, "God, not again, it was awkward and weird enough with Crispin Glover, and only kinda funny."

    February 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  120. Adam G

    J. Phoenix is acting as if he is on drugs. He can't sit still, Slurring his speech, moving his hands a lot. He is really nervous. Lets face it. People do drugs. But if your going to do them , have common sense and don't go on live t.v. where the whole world can view you as an idiot. If you need help with drugs, go to a clinic. On another note, Just because J. Phoenix played as J. Cash in a movie, does't mean he can really sing! Stick to the movies Phoenix! Thats where you belong.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  121. Marie O'Brien

    I thought that skit (whether it was for real or not) was hilarious. I laughed out loud and I think Joaquin wanted to laugh out loud at times, also. David Letterman is so great in this type of situation and his very sharp comments made the interview even funnier.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  122. Clay

    Most of these actors and actresses, in spite of being obscenely wealthy, which seems to be what matters most to the media, are dumb as posts. Now tell the truth: How many of you actually enjoy celebrity interviews on the Daily Show? When the celebrity interview starts, I go feed the cats.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  123. rb

    OMG, what does this even tangientially have to do with George W. Bush?

    You people are ridiculous. Get a life and move on.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  124. Mama

    Oh, and p.s. this is just like classic Sasha Baron Cohen and his Borat, Ali G and Bruno characters. Sasha is far superior to Joaquin ... no sunglasses and he isn't silent trying to keep his composure ... Sasha carries on entire conversations and spends hours with people in character!!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  125. Steve

    He is an excellent actor faking it...

    February 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  126. Mama

    I'm with Dan P (12:27) – it was obvious that Joaquin was trying reeeally hard not to smile – and failed periodically.

    That's why he had on sunglasses ... if he could keep from smiling, he would succeed, but even if he didn't smile with his mouth, his eyes would twinkle and react ... remember, they are the window to the soul.

    For all the signals that he was messing around, Joaquin failed.

    Dave, on the other hand, was astoundingly patient and wonderfully silly!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  127. matt

    man on the moon!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  128. Matt Z

    Casey Affleck is filming an "art piece," following Phoenix around as he transitions from a film actor to a white rapper. I suspect this "documentary" film, and the way Phoenix is acting, are related.

    I don't think Joaquin is truly pursuing a music career as a rapper. I think this film by Casey is not what it seems...

    February 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  129. ksgirl

    I'm thinking... he will definately be joining his brother, River, soon if he doesn't snap out of it! Definately under the influence of something! OMG!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  130. MSquared

    What a beautiful, wonderful train wreck. Dave is the best...despite every effort of Joaquin to have an awful interview...Dave keeps it funny. Dave – "So it must have been fun working with whoever?" ..........JP – "Yeah".......Dave "Got any interesting stories?"......JP – "..." WOW!! I don't know of Joaquin was high, or just putting on a show. I think we'd better put him on a suicide (or drug overdose) watch...just in case he's got it in his head to be like Heath Ledger or his big brother River. WOW!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  131. Maddie

    I loved it! So he wasnt brown nosing David he was being HIMSELF!!! Something we don't see alot from actors these days. Fake is in obviously and genuine is out!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  132. squeegee

    lol nice one. its incredible how odd behavior puts ppl on. thats the fun of it. some people may think he was high, or crazy, but perhaps he was just bored. how many of us, when we are bored, just stare at random ppl or something like that just for the entertainment of their reaction?...just me? lol whatev, its entertaining enough.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  133. JoaquinsWife

    I love you babe!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  134. notahugefanofhisanyway

    He's probably acting AND on something! This guy has creeped me out since his role in Gladiator! It will all come out eventually!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  135. Meredith

    Are we sure that was Joaquin Phoenix- kinda looked like Rob Zombie.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  136. Gilda

    I was watching his face closely and his mouth kept shaking subtly. It didn't look like an act to me, though that would make the most sense.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  137. Carl

    I think he is trying out for the roll of Mr Rick Ruben( Record Producer). he sure looks like him and.I think he is acting. But at the same time if you saw him walking down the street bet you would cross to the other side. kind of Sad. But who know whats up, I am to Busy trying to find work to worrie about This Guy.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  138. Sam

    Can't believe how many negative comments have been pouring over this...look people...the guy is hilarious.....it was the David Letterman Show....things are supposed to be funny....the fact that most of you morons are ready to pull an intervention on the guy makes the whole act even funnier....nothing funnier than pointing out the ignorance of society.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  139. Kathy

    I think he was acting but it still made me uncomfortable....

    February 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  140. Dave T

    I thought it was an act. Letterman was hilarous in trying to get him to say something, anything.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  141. Nottasukka

    I say he's acting. He's giving pause to the laughter, if he was really out of his mind he'd still be rambling through the laughter and Daves funny faces. I see some "back and forth" between the two of them going on. Plus his hair looks fake. All part of the plan folks.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  142. Suzy

    I hope it is an act – and that he is not going to end up like his brother River. Either way, I think it is a real waste of his talent.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  143. wendy from RI

    clips like that make you remember why you like Letterman- I mean, that could've been just awful, but instead we were all laughing with him...HIP HOP? fantastic.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  144. James Dean

    wasn't the best James Dean act I've ever seen – he's getting PAID to PROMOT$E his movie that I still don't know what the name of that movie is or what it is about – if it was an act – it was boring – the only reason we laughed was because it was such a pathetic showing – my hats off to Dave – the only true professional that showed up – bring on Mickey Rouke!!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  145. elle

    Please, please, please let it be an act b/c it was HILARIOUS and I would really feel bad for laughing that hard at someone with a drug problem.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  146. Timmy

    Hilarious. Great banter. Nice response by Dave. Loved it.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  147. Al

    What a loser... how could someone with such a great role in Gladiator fall this far... if anyone saw him rap in Las Vegas you'd know this guy is just a druggie bum faggot

    February 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  148. Timothy H

    I don't think it was Joaquin Phoenix. I think it was Jack Black posing or acting as Joaquin Phoenix. Probably part of some stunt....

    February 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  149. script girl

    He's an actor. Period.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  150. Lynn

    He's not the first actor to do this. I think Jim Carey did the whole long hair and beard weird guy too. Honestly, who cares?

    February 12, 2009 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  151. RIGal

    I think it's all hysterical! I doubt he's on drugs, I think he's just being a goofball. Who cares what he's doing, doesn't bother me. I love him as an actor, and hope he does go back to films in the end!

    February 12, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  152. Seshat

    Didn't watch and don't care.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  153. galdena

    I would bet money that this is all part of the mockumentary that is being filmed about his supposed new music "career". And I'm sure this Letterman clip will be part of the mocumentary. He's smiply playing his character being interviewde by Letterman. This is called ACTING. And a fantastic job it is as apparently everyone is falling for it.

    February 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  154. b

    I think people should leave the guy alone. It can kinda suck being a celebrity. Yeah, there is money there, but you never really know if anybody likes you and it's all too easy to become a real shmuck. Maybe he's getting tired of all of the phoniness and posing. I'm glad I don't have to put up some false front for anybody.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  155. Karen

    If he's trying to be funny, he isn't. If he's not trying to be funny, I'm worried about him. I hope he's okay.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  156. Pangou

    Acting....for a documentary

    February 12, 2009 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  157. Mel

    He's an actor folks.. hello??? He's awesome and I wish him the best always..

    February 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  158. christopher

    He's an idiot.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  159. brillant

    totally acting and it's funny. for those of you who think he's using...while you might be right...he's not high during this interview. and while i don't consider myself a fan, i can't wait to hear what he does with his music. it will be interesting in the least.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  160. Joel in Seattle

    Pure Genius. Taking Borat style of comedy one step further. With Borat the Audience was in on the joke This is more llike what Andy kaufman did where the audience is not in on the joke and the audience is wondering if he is crazy or just joking. He is Joking people.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  161. Kristin

    Loved when Dave apologized to Farah 🙂 Dave was great!!!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  162. Mac

    I agree with Lee Clark, my first impression was that he's on heroin. He deserved to get ripped by Letterman. I thought Dave was hilarious.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  163. Voig Nederlander

    I guess your own brother, laying dead in a pool of his own vomit outside a nightclub does not serve as sufficient warning about the perils of habitual substance abuse.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  164. JC

    He's brilliant. And should do comedy. It was the funniest thing I've seen in forever!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  165. Chris Greene

    I'm amazed people think this was a bad move on his part. If it is indeed an act, which I believe it is, it's genius. If he had gone on the show and just done a normal interview, nobody would have even noticed. But, by doing what he did, everyone is talking about it. That's brilliant marketing.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  166. Jay

    Nancy February 12th, 2009 12:17 pm ET

    If he’s “acting” (which I think he is . .) I’m not sure what he thinks he’s gaining. If he’s not acting, then he needs psychiatric help.

    Nobody is interested Joaquin.

    If nobody is interested than you wouldn't be watching or commenting would you? His Schtick seems to be working....it worked for Andy Kaufman.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  167. JR

    I love all the references to Andy Kaufman, he was mentally unstable also.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  168. roxanne

    Im in the medical profession and sadly this appeared to be something worse than a drug overdose, perhaps he's having his first schizophrenic break. I found his antics on Dave to be more disturbing than comical. I only hope those close to him will be able to help him through whatever his issues may be.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  169. Bart

    I think he has had a breakdown and no one has helped him... It is sad!! Where is his family??? If he is acting he did a great job!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  170. MM

    Typical Hollywood punk.. Drunk, Drugged up, or too "cool"...Great Example Joaquin..Either Hollywood turns them into these types of freaks, pay them outrages salaries, or they were rised like spoiled brats..Way to go Joaquin, Stay in the Silly State work on your Heroin Addiction.. oops i mean music!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  171. Karen

    I have long been a fan of Mr. Jaoquin but i am very sad to see this side of him. He certainly needs help of some kind. He used to be a wonderful and handsome actor. Very sad to see.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  172. Jo Turzynski

    I feel that the actions and inconsideration shown by Joaquin Phoenix to David Letterman are deplorable. There is a downward decline of showing respect and courtesy in this country. Letterman has earned the right to be shown consideration and his class act in trying to keep the interview positive and his quick wit showed why he has become the mainstay of late night. I don't agree that those in the entertainment industry should be hounded, however, when an entertainer shows up on a legitimate reputable show, he or she should show professionalism. No matter how 'quirky' or 'unique' Phoenix believes he is, his actions show a disregard for the entertainment industry and the fans that provide him his wealth with the ability to go off and experiment in new venues. When people stop watching him perhaps he will start realizing the ramifications of his actions.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  173. Jessie

    I think he's a genius. Whatever this is–new career move, total hoax, drug induced–I love it.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  174. ddd

    anybody that doesn't realize this is a joke of sorts needs a vacation. Not every joke is a spur-of-this-moment kind. Some are very long in the planning. Yes his behavior is Kaufman-like, but he is doing his own thing. Anybody who can't see it is a joke is very naive (and judgmental as I have seen here). That said, he could be losing grip on reality, or blurring the lines. That's never good.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  175. michael H.

    Who gives a f....

    February 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  176. Chris

    What a waste case. Phoenix is a decent actor in some roles and annoying in others.

    He does not have the skill to create this as a put-on. As for a Casey Affleck and Phoenix documentary, HAHAHAHA. Phoenix is a genius compared to his dim-bulbed brother-in-law.

    Phoenix just made himself unbankable in a cruise like way.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  177. river

    In the ever famous words of bugs bunny, what a maroon.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  178. Susiedarling

    I'm sorry, but I think Joaquin who may be a genius in some respects is suffering either some kind of mental illness or is on drugs. Since he has quit acting, I do not think this is a stunt to promote his acting career, what would be the point. I think Dave was totally taken back by Joaquins behavior but rose to the occasion and was at his very best. Cudos to Dave. I sure hope if Joaquin has some close friends that they will try to get him some help. Is it a coincidence that his brother overdosed. The entire interview was nervewracking and if it wasn't for a pro interviewer like Dave, I would not have been able to stand one more minute of it.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  179. Aaron

    Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Plus he has most of you completely duped.

    I love it!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  180. Beth

    Seriously? Where's the Joaquin that we all know and love. This version is definitely on drugs...

    February 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  181. Michael

    I think he was acting, but it was very uncomfortable to watch. Dave was getting annoyed and taking shots at him. He was not on drugs because he understood the shots Dave and Paul were taking at him. (He asked Paul why the maniacal laughter).
    At the very end, after he said goodbye, he turned around to Dave again and took off his glasses and said something to Dave.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  182. jay

    Another non-story. the old media like Letterman act as if they're entitled to have actors/musicians "perform" on their shows for the hosts benefit. Did it ever occur to a has-been like Letterman that people don't need to jump through their hoops.
    I think Phoenix was just appearing for the publicity they must do for their movies and he could care less about appeasing Letterman or his moronic audience.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  183. Chuck

    Its the hipster-doofus effect. People get so full of themselves in Hollywood that, well, this is what happens. I don't think its drugs for Phoenix. Its the fact that nobody told the emperor he has no clothes on. He'll snap out of it in in a few years, once he drops the idiotic hip-hop record idea.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  184. MichaelTSG

    Poor Dave. Letterman is an excellent interviewer, but it certainly helps to have an even slightly cooperative subject. If someone goes on the show and does nothing more than sit there like a bloody fool and create dead air, as far as I'm concerned, he or she is fair game to his razor sharp wit. You caused this, Mr. Phoenix. Too bad for you.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  185. LBW

    Talk about shooting himself in the foot. He was brilliant in Gladiator. I didn't see Walk the Line. I know that he learned to play the guitar for the part. Pretty impressive but what on Earth makes him think that he can make a living doing that? He has always been cocky, but this person I am seeing now is down right dumb looking. I saw him perform some off his rap music and he fell off the stage.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  186. Steve McNaughton

    It's pretty obvious to me that he's desperately trying to change his persona as an entertainer. No I don't think he's high and no I don't think it's an Andy Kaufman thing he's doing. I think he's just trying way, way, way to hard to be perceived as an obscure and complex artist/musician, which Letterman successfully ridiculed last night. Quite comically if I might add. The only thing that's sad about this is how desperatley he's trying to be "weird". I think he'd better change his tune quick (no pun intended) and start doing some serious damage control so he can at least salvage some of what was once a successfull carrer.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  187. Rob

    This was all a boring stunt. You could tell Letterman was totally complying with the gag. Really. When Letterman was king of LATE late night in the early 80's the "strange" guest was a weekly occurence (re: Emo Phillips, Nastasia Kinsky, Kauffman, Chris Elliot, Cindy Lauper and many others...) – it's a ratings draw for both parties. I was too tired and shut off the artsy indulgence (str8 from the Andy Warhol playbook) But it's good you kiddies are being exposed to something other than rap music and regurgitated corporate bird-vomit entertainment.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  188. Bud

    He is an idiot. He has now wrecked his career thinking he can be someone he is not.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  189. gideon

    or maybe its fake.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  190. hutfless

    He has mentally checked out of the acting game, that is apparent to me, and yes he is probably loaded...but who really cares? He has always been aloof and maybe he will say hi to River soon....hope not.....

    February 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  191. Austin

    Clearly on something. Not to pass judgement on how people choose to spend their leisure time, but this was business, and he didn't get the job done. Just a poor decision. You wanna be an addict? Do it in the gaps of time life allows around doing your part in society, not when you're supposed to be promoting your product. I don't get up in front of a conference room full of executives and start playing World of Warcraft, I manage to wait until I get home.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  192. Arin, Buffalo, NY

    I too think it was a set-up, part of Casey Afleck's documentary or something. Joaquin did a good job, but yes, David Letterman is BRILLIANT!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  193. RiverWasBetter

    What a whack job!

    He must be on drugs.

    What a career killing moment.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  194. Lindsay

    I think Joaquin is an impressive actor, for every role or character he's done I've believed it. He has a way with drawing out raw emotion. It's no wonder he acts like he does, drugs or not, if you understood his past – who his parents were, the name changes, moving around so much as a kid, his brother's death, etc. Give the guy a break, not everyone has a personality to conform to the glamour of Hollywood. He's a great actor and we either enjoy his work, as I do, or we don't. Now he wants to be an R&B singer, let him do it. Everyone has a dream and wants to be something whether they're good at it or not – just watch American Idol for confirmation there. Let him be.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  195. treekan

    The comments that he is on H seem off base to me. He seems disinterested and aloof but not high.

    I am sure the studios want him to promote the film but I guess once he shows up he can do what he wants.

    I do love his acting

    February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  196. Vanessa

    I think he was punking all of us. He was very aware...watch the clip again and notice how he is so cognizant of the response of the audience, and how he had quick comebacks to Letterman.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  197. Shell

    i think he is so totally acting...and it is great! anyone that could act like that and keep a straight face is brilliant. if its not an act, the boy needs help. anyway i still think he is very talented.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  198. John Smith

    Phoenix is just trying to be different. Can you blame him? He a drunk with an f'ed up scar on his face. He should've grown that grubby beard years ago. He's always been weird as far as I'm concerned. Now, he's finally reached his potential...as a drunken, homeless, grubby, nobody. He's a typical eccentric, Hollywood-type. Letterman ripped into him. Jay Leno wouldn't never have done that. Kudos to you Dave! Here's a message to you Phoenix, lay off the booze, or you'll end up like your brother.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  199. Josh

    He's an actor. His act is interesting...it makes me want to see where he is going with it. For those that assume he is just drugged out...his act is working. Look forward to the zenith of this little experiment. 🙂

    February 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  200. makeufeelmylove

    Wow. Apparently Joaquin got replaced with a Pod Person. This is disgusting. What a sad downward spiral for what used to be a talented actor.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  201. David

    Seriously, you would think that by now, Mr. Phoenix would be well versed in how to get through a live interview. How does he ever get through the day. I suppose this is his version of a Jim Morrison style break down...the beard, the glasses. he purportedly has left acting, but I think he has left the conscious world as well.

    His late brother River was noted for some similar interviews in the early
    1990's. It looks like intervention time, whether substances like alcohol or other drugs are involved, who knows. At the very least he needs a psych evaluation.

    I have enjoyed his movie performances in the past, but good grief this appearance is Way more disturbibg than the previous one with Crispin Glover on Letterman in the 1980's..eeek!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  202. Salvatore

    That was the most awkward interview i've ever seen. I'm not too sure if that's an act. If he was dressed as himself and just acted strange, that would be one thing. But that hair and beard took time to grow. There is no way that he just though, 'Hey, let's have some fun with this interview.' I don't know what happened to him, but this is truly sad. Talk about somebody self-destructing in front of your eyes. Does this remind anybody else of the Anti-War Lennon?

    February 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  203. Perla

    Extremly funny clip. Joaquin is a great artist but his attitude towards Letterman is irrespectful. .. and besides what about the movie? We heard about his bear, weirdness but nothing about the film he should be promoting. Nonetheless, Joaquin is an excellent artist.

    Good luck to him (he might need it)

    February 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  204. Buck Maelstrom

    I saw a 5 minute clip of the show and Letterman was hilarious!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  205. ReubenQ

    He was once again brilliant, with David Letterman. I wish he has more time to finish setting up, his project and build interest in it. One that I call his "Andy Kaufman-like character" It could prove to be entertaining. Best luck to him.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  206. Cass

    I always knew Joaquin was a genius and now he is proving it. Come on people! The fact that cnn.com has a video AND a blog about this subject should be proof enought that he is masterminding this entire scheme for publicity! If someone asks "why," I say "why not?" He won't loose a thing when he finally admits to the stunt. If anything, all of the directors and actors he has worked with will be thankful that he was not crazy after all and will be knocking down his door to work with him again!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  207. Dennis

    What you witnessed last night on Letterman was nothing short of sheer brilliance. Not since Andy Kaufman has a stunt like that been pulled off with such convincing elegance.

    Dave was brilliant. Joaquin was brilliant. I loved it. Every minute of it!


    February 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  208. MellyMel

    From what I've read at various sites: this is indeed a hoax. It's part of a mockumentary. Only time will tell if this is true.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  209. Staci

    this is like a flashback of andy kaufman doing a character

    February 12, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  210. Dan P

    I think its all part of some bizarre hoax JP is putting on. The whole giving up acting to become a hip hop star, and now acting like a drugged out zombie.

    It seemed like at times JP wa fighting to keep from laughing or smiling. That's why he kept looking down at his hands; if he met Letterman's eyes he was going to crack up and blow the whole charade.

    Either that or he truly is mentally ill or on drugs and needs some help. His brother did OD so drug problems run in the family.

    But my money is on hoax ala Andy Kaufman.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  211. Matthew

    Uh, he was either high or pretending to be high. It really doesn't require much analysis. The only thing more absurd than his interview is major news outlets being like "OMG what on earth was Phoenix doing?"

    Is there some secret rule where we can't talk about celebrities being on drugs? Truth is the ultimate defense to libel, after all.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  212. Papi

    I hope that was not an act because that was hilarious!!!...your boy was on something real good there..rap away there phoenix boy..rap away!!

    February 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  213. Growler

    Whether it was an act or not, he's a total idiot. You get paid to act, and the studios make money by fans coming to your movies. You're there to promote the film! Not act like an opium-induced zombie! If I was the studio execs I'd be outraged!
    That said, Dave was at his sardonic best last night! Must-see viewing for Dave fans!

    As for Phoenix, he could take up residence in the Hasidic diamond district in Brooklyn!

    (ps.. Joaquin sticking his gum under Letterman's desk may have been rude, but George W. Bush using the exec producer's sweater to wipe his glasses during a 2000 campaign appearance was much ruder!)

    February 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  214. Steph

    The guy is on drugs! Am I the only one that thought this? It is quite obvious...

    February 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  215. Giliane Meyer

    We're all talking about him, aren't we? Brilliant PR, I think for the movie.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  216. Nancy

    If he's "acting" (which I think he is . .) I'm not sure what he thinks he's gaining. If he's not acting, then he needs psychiatric help.

    Nobody is interested Joaquin.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  217. lee clark

    Oh my GAWD! I think he just shot up? Ever see anyone after shooting Herion????

    Just check on Joaquin!


    February 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  218. Becky Bryant

    Saw the clip on Morning Joe. I have always liked J. Phoenix but could not help but think it is just some way of getting himself in the news. Weird and sad at the same time.

    February 12, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |

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