Senior Editor
02.12.09 27 Comments

Joaquin Phoenix was a guest on Dave Letterman last night (watch the video after the jump), ostensibly to promote Two Lovers, but really to stay in the actor-turned-rapper character he claims not to have invented for Casey Affleck’s documentary.  You have to give him credit, his schtick is really consistent – earnest but confused, sensitive, always wondering why everyone’s laughing at him.  Early on, Dave (who doesn’t seem to be in on the joke) asks him about his beard.

DAVE: You look different than I remember. (laughter)  You’ve got, uh, a nice beard going.
JOAQUIN: Yeah.  Thank you.
DAVE: How is that, the beard?
JOAQUIN: (looking around) …In what way?
DAVE: Well, is it comfortable? Is it itchy? Are you pleased with it?
JOAQUIN: …I’m okay with it.  …But now you’re making me feel weird about it.

And it goes on like that, with Dave trying to make jokes, Joaquin giving one-word answers and pretending to be offended, and the crowd laughing uncomfortably until it sort of comes to a head when Dave asks him to introduce a clip from the movie (4:35 of the video).  Joaquin says he doesn’t know what the clip is, Dave implies he’s unprofessional, Joaquin gets offended, and Dave makes a crack, “No, that’s fine.  I’ll come to your house and chew gum.”  At which point Joaquin says, “That’s fine, I don’t have to chew gum,” and sticks it to the bottom of the desk (pictured).

Like the tag on his shirt, the gum-under-the-desk moment is one where I think you can tell it’s a joke because he took it one step too far.  Nikki Finke even goes so far as to call it a “career-ending appearance.” But honestly, if you’d rather watch him promote a Gwyneth Paltrow movie than this, I don’t think we can be friends.

[Thanks to RoboPanda for the tip]

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