James Brown was the Godfather of Soul and the hardest working man in show business, but he was also a man with a lot of issues that led to many an ignominious moment. One of the more infamous Brown episodes was when he was interviewed live on television and it did not go well for anybody involved. So bizarre and momentous was this TV clip that it has lived in a sort of second infamy on YouTube, and Jordan Peele decided to make a word-for-word reenactment featuring himself in the role of Brown.
In 1988 (Peele’s video says 1987, but CNN’s post of the actual video says 1988), Brown was arrested for alleged domestic abuse of his wife. After being released on bail, Brown went on CNN’s Sonya Live in L.A. to clear the air and speak about his next move in show business, which included a tour. The video does an impressive job recreating the visual look of the interview, but the real draw is, of course, Peele’s performance as Brown.
Again, this is a word-for-word reenactment. Peele did not need to spice up the weirdness of Brown’s actions during the interview. Peele’s video is posted under the title “Drunk James Brown,” and during the interview, Brown definitely seemed to be under the influence of something, though no one could ever confirm it.
The real video is kind of funny, but also disquieting since we are watching an actual person who acted completely bizarre and erratic while out on bail for a very serious alleged crime. Peele, though, is able to toe that line into something funny and uncanny. Key & Peele may no longer be on the air, but Peele’s comedic chops clearly are as strong as ever.
For reference, the original video below: