I knew Andy Kaufman. Andy Kaufman was a friend of mine. Joaquin, you're no Andy Kaufman.
The Internet is abuzz after Phoenix and his late stage Jim Morrison beard showed up with rather unpredictable results at "Late Show with David Letterman" last night.
As you can see from the clip -- which the AP hailed as an "instant classic" -- the "Walk the Line" star stumbled and mumbled his way through an interview segment that saw him forget the name of his “Two Lovers” co-star, Gwyneth Paltrow, stick gum under the edge of Letterman’s desk, and appear to swear at bandleader Paul Shaffer for laughing at him (isn't Shaffer always chuckling like a stoned teenager about something?)
That Phoenix recently quit the biz so he could become a "hip-hop star" only added to the intoxicating intrigue, I guess.
It's good water-cooler talk, but in the era of "Punk'd," fake political outrage and other reality show fabrications, it would appear to this unbiased observer that Phoenix is simply conducting a social experiment for the sake for his own amusement (or maybe just more money.)
I applaud that kind of effort, even if it isn't nearly as groundbreaking as when Andy Kaufman wrestled toothless Southern chicks back in the day. And if anyone knows what a "work" is, it's Letterman -- who had a front row seat for all the Kaufman-Jerry Lawler nonsense that viewers legitimately didn't know was real or fake until decades later.
So is Joaquin having a hearty laugh today knowing that he's generating buzz by creating audacious headlines with audacious behavior? Is that a social statement worth making following the media's obsession with the Britney Spears' and Lindsay Lohan's of the world?
Also, is there a reason Casey Affleck is following him around with a camera? Or why this Newsweek account of another bizarre interview also reeks of fabrication?
Or maybe Joaquin Phoenix is really an out-there dude hopped up on goofballs? Actually, that would be good news to the producers of VH1's "Sober House."
Not like it matters, but I say it's all a ruse. Then again, I'm a pessimist by nature. I mean, a hip-hop career? C'mon. Everyone knows you adopt a fake Kazakhstan accent if you really want to fool someone.
Anybody else have thoughts on the actor formerly known as Joaquin?
-- Thomas Rozwadowski, email@example.com