There isn't much to say about Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on last night's Late Show with David Letterman. Which is fitting, as not much was actually said—at least, not by Phoenix.
Throughout the squirm-worthy interview, which will surely join the ranks of fellow bizarrely awkward interviewees Crispin Glover and Farrah Fawcett, Phoenix mumbled, fidgeted and, at times, insulted his way through what can only be described as a contractually obligated appearance in support of his new indie flick—and acting swan song—Two Lovers.
In his opening gambit, Letterman inquired as to the unkempt and newly hirsute nature of his silent guest.
"I'm OK with it, but now you're making me feel weird about it," Phoenix said before beginning one of the interview's longest pauses.
To break the ice, Letterman posed his next question: "What can you tell us about your days with the Unabomber?"
Things only got worse from there.
When the topic inevitably turned to his music career, Phoenix confirmed that hip-hop was his genre of choice, a revelation that sparked laughter from the audience and ire from the actor.
"That's a joke? What do you have them on? What do you gas them up with? Is this nitrous?"
He went on to tell his increasingly annoyed host that he'd "love to come on the show and perform" when his music career gets off the ground, a sentiment which Letterman, who presumably could deal with his uncooperation no more, quickly shot down.
"You know, that seems unlikely," Letterman said, before telling his clearly put-out guest, "We'll certainly keep you in our Rolodex."
When not appearing to marvel at the audience's reaction to his bizarre interview—laughter, for the most part—he was lashing out at Letterman and Paul Schaffer, who apparently couldn't contain a guffaw in the lead-up to Phoenix's set up of his movie clip.
"Are you f---ing kidding? Are you serious, with the maniacal laughter?" Phoenix, clearly unfamiliar with Schaffer's role in the show, asked.
Shortly after, the pièce (of gum) de résistance came, when Letterman chided his belligerent guest's manners.
"We're having fun, relax, seriously," he said. "I'll come to your house and chew gum."
"I don't have to chew gum, I won't chew gum," Phoenix said, before taking out the offending piece and sticking it under Dave's desk.
At the end of the seemingly interminable interview, relations between the two men thawed slightly…but only slightly.
"Well, Joaquin, I'm sorry you couldn't be here tonight," Letterman said, adding that "we owe an apology to Farrah Fawcett." (for video of that exercise in awkwardness, see below)
"He's funny, you're funny," Phoenix said. "He's a funny dude."