David Letterman Was In On Joaquin Phoenix's I'm Still Here Gag

joaquin-phoenix-letterman_500.jpgIf you can't trust your late night talk show hosts, who can you trust? Hot on the heels on director Casey Affleck's admission that I'm Still Here isn't really a documentary of Joaquin Phoenix's descent into Amish-bearded madness, it's been revealed that David Letterman was in on the hoax as well.

By now, Phoenix's gum-chewing, stupefied visit to the Ed Sullivan theater is the stuff of late night legend. Giving terse, mumbly answers and concentrating more on his gum than the show, Letterman gleefully skewered the Oscar-nominated oddball. But now Bill Scheft, one of his writers, says that Dave was a willing and able participant in the sham:

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.

I don't think this diminishes how hilarious the interview is -- funny is funny, after all -- but the next time some weirdo starts lolling his or her head around, seemingly to be looped out of their gourd, I'm going to keep an eye out for Casey Affleck and his camcorder. Check out the original below.

· I'm Still Here: David Letterman Was in on It Too [/Film]


  • The Winchester says:

    I don't know if Ill ever be able to trust a celebrity again. Thanks a lot.

  • Victor Ward says:

    I don't know that I'd call it a "gag," because I don't think it qualifies as a gag when the whole world figured it out a year ago while it was already happening and immediately groaned at the trite meta of the whole thing.
    Although I may have sort of bought it at the time, whatevs, but I think if you sacrifice a year of your career to look like a crazy person with the payoff of a CASEY AFFLECK film, then the joke's actually on you.

  • doodles says:

    See him take off the sunglasses after a friendly handshake when the interview is done. Probably thanking him for playing along, definately scripted. We'll see about the Affleck project, he is a brilliant, eclectic actor that absolutely lives his characters

  • RR says:

    I'll believe it when I see Phoenix back to serious acting in successful movies... otherwise, once you go flake, you never go back... like Andy Kaufman.

  • casting couch says:

    It was great television, but a year ago it obviously a stunt.

  • Tom Christensen says:

    Yawn! Boring, Why would anyone be interested in the ramblings of Joaquin Phoenix or Casey Afflecks new film for that matter? They're just not that interesting...If you think this stunt is brilliant, your bar is set awfully low. I guess talent is in low supply these days...

  • Jim Hughes says:

    Saw the sement when it aired, and it reminded me of (1)1969-When Dean Martin came on the Johnny Carson Tonight show drunk and put out his cigarette in George Gobel's drink and (2) 1970's- When Sly Stone (of Sly and the Family Stone) appeared on the Dick Cavett show obviously stoned on cocaine.

  • Jim Hughes says:

    Andy Kaufman was ALWAYS that weird. He wasn't a comedian as much as a really funny performance artist. And he didn't need a stage to be on.

  • maylane says:

    This whole thing is crap....never will I go to another movie with that werdo
    phoenix in it, also threw away all his movies I did own and now there goes cassy's movies....oh what fun did they have???? Why would you ruin careers?
    Hollywood have-at-um

  • Ivan Jones says:

    Actually, I think if you use the phrase "whatevs", the joke is on you. Actually, you are the joke.
    As for Casey Affleck... He's got blockbusters like The Assassination of Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone under his belt. I don't think he has anything to prove. But I'll be anxiously awaiting the next Victor Ward film to see how it matches up.

  • Victor Ward says:

    No, it just means I'm gay and adorable; don't be such a Mormon about it.
    And I'll be anxiously awaiting your next comment to see if you can figure out how to reply by using the "reply" link. Anticipation!

  • in the woods says:

    If Letterman was in the know, then watching it with that info makes me think that Letterman did all the work in that improv. He was much funnier than Joaquin.
    Also, Casey Affleck won me over in The Assassination of Jesse James and Gone Baby Gone as well. An excellent actor. It may be that Ben is the director and Casey is the actor, but you gotta let a guy have his fun, I say. Comedy is a harder task, in a way.

  • Chris, Atlanta GA says:

    If Letterman was in on it, i think it was well done for his part. Perhaps he was, and Affleck was, but i'm not sure Phoenix was/is.

  • Joaquin Phoenix finest Johnny Cash ever!

  • Q: How do you electrocute a blonde? A: Tell her to demonstrate the proper usage of an electric chair.