Daylight came a bit too early for Harry Belafonte Friday morning. And, from the looks of things, he almost certainly wanted to go home—and straight to bed.
Viral videos are born from the unlikeliest of places, and the newest entry into the hilarious, time-wasting panoply comes to us from Bakersfield's KBAK morning show, which last week had scheduled Belafonte as a guest to discuss his new book, My Song.
Unfortunately, they never quite got that far—when they cut to the satellite feed of their interviewee, he appeared to be sleeping. And, try as they might (and oh, how they tried), they were simply unable to rouse him.
"Hey, good morning, Harry," the newscaster began, before an awkward few seconds of silence and her sudden realization—thanks to a quick glance at the monitor—that the 84-year-old singer, with his eyes closed and arms crossed, seemed to be sleeping.
"Harry, wake up," Layla Santiago urged. "Harry? Wake up, wake up. OK…this is your wake-up call, Harry…OK, I'll tell you what. He's meditating. He's taking a little nap. He's OK. He is OK.
"He's just taking a little nap, it's a little early guys, come on," she said, attempting to defend the actor against the ribbing of the rest of the chuckling morning news team.
"Let's just say this, the way this works is they do a lot of interviews all in the early morning," her coanchor added. "And obviously he can't hear us, there were some technical…"
Some technical somethings, that's for sure.
"Was he in a REM sleep?" another anchor asked.
Though there's really no stopping the viral train now, Belafonte's rep is nonetheless jumping to his client's defense, telling E! News that the audio on his satellite feed simply dropped out and that rather than sleeping, Belafonte was simply resting his eyes in between interviews on the junket.
"After weeks of literally hundreds of interviews promoting his HBO documentary, memoir and CD, Mr. Belafonte had an early morning satellite TV tour this past Friday," Belafonte's rep, Ken Sunshine, said. "True to form, there was a technical glitch int he feed to a local station in Bakersfield, Calif. His earpiece wasn't working, so he decided to take the time to meditate before the rest of his Day-O."
The newscaster may have been joking, but looks like she hit on the truth after all.
"Mr. Belafonte is 84 years young, but sharper and more awake than most who have been interviewing him. Maybe the world would be a better place if more people took a moment to meditate."
Better and funnier—just so long as they did so on live TV.