Well, this is a little… I don’t know what. Disappointing? Annoying? In any case, apparently David Letterman was in on this whole Joaquin Phoenix “character” during their famous interview. Here’s what Letterman writer Bill Scheft had to say about it:
Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. It was great television. But I will take credit for the line, ‘I think I owe Farrah Fawcett an apology.’ That line was mine. I gave that to him during the break. I’ve told people that [everyone was in on the joke], and not only don’t people believe me, they tell me that I’m wrong and that [Phoenix] is a schizophrenic and he needs help and he’s going to end up like his brother [River, who died of a drug overdose in 1993]. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It’s an act. I saw Ben Affleck’s brother taping the whole thing from offstage.
It kind of takes away from it, doesn’t it? I guess on the one hand, Letterman is a comedian, and it was very funny. It’s his job to be funny! But on the other, even though Phoenix was playing a character, you expect Letterman to be playing it pretty straight. It feels like a bit of a betrayal of the audience’s trust. Not that it matters all that much, as this is late night TV we’re talking about; comedy audiences are willing to forgive a whole lot as long as it’s funny, which that interview definitely was. At least it was when it first aired and we were lead to believe that both men were being themselves.
In any case, it certainly kills much of the anticipation for Phoenix’s return to Letterman’s couch on Wednesday. Another awkward and unpredictable interview is what we were expecting, and two guys reveling in tricking the audience into thinking it had witnessed something spontaneous and real is what we’ll get. [via]