Last week, I shared a link of conservative icon William F. Buckley interviewing the poet Allen Ginsberg.
I am very amused by these sorts of interviews — ones where a strange or bohemian artist speaks to an ordinary talk show host. It’s a lot like the “the straight man” comedy routine, where you contrast “the funny man,” with the ordinary “straight man.”
David Letterman probably does this better than anyone. Check out these very strange interviews…
From Open Culture, Tom Waits.
In 1986, Letterman introduced Waits as “probably the only guest we’ve had on this program who was born in the back of a taxi,” which I assume still holds true. Just above, we’ve embedded his 1983 Christmastime sit-down, which Waits’ fans seem to regard with special fondness, and in which Letterman first learns this choice fact. Beyond that, Waits sings two songs and discusses his various unorthodox residences (motel, trailer, car), the use of brake drums as percussive drums on his then-latest album, and how he intervened when a schoolboy was suspended for bringing one of Waits’ records to show-and-tell. In Waits, we have the prime living exemplar of a certain particularly American style of performing and songwriting, and in Letterman, we have the prime living exemplar of a certain particularly American style of simultaneously silly and self-aware humor. What luck for the country that these two can get together as often as they do.
Harmony Korine is the heroin-chic avant garde writer/director who helped bring us Kids and Gummo, two mock-documentaries about how terrible stuff can be if youre poor, HIV-positive, addicted to drugs, or just leading a miserable, fucked up life. I know what youre thinking: laughs ahoy!
The famous Madonna interview,
The all time best, also from Cracked, Crispin Glover
Twenty years later, debate still rages in the lamer corners of the Internet as to whether this is footage of Crispin Glover, worlds best actor, or Crispin Glover, worlds highest man. Fake or real, its worth watching if only to see Paul Shaffer with slightly more hair.
What are your favorite awkward interviews with artists? Share in the comments!
From Andy Holloway, a delightfully bizarre interview Bob Dylan did with Playboy.