Joaquin Phoenix Fights Audience Member at Rap Concert…Are We Convinced Yet?

Joaquin Phoenix

This story is for those of you (I’m looking at you Sean) who somehow still think there’s a chance that Joaquin Phoenix’s “I’ve quit acting to pursue rapping” career change could be real. Video has just surfaced of Mr.Phoenix attacking a heckler at a Belvedere IX (Whatever that means) party at Liv nightclub (Wherever that is) Wednesday night (Whenever that was). According to the New York Post:

Phoenix jumped into the crowd to confront a heckler. “But it was a fake fight,” said our witness. “Nobody threw a punch. They were just holding onto each other.”

Before you ask, yes Casey Affleck was in attendance and YES he just so happened to be wielding a video camera. It’s one thing to see the major news outlets covering the story with no sign of irony, but the web savvy bloggers?? Even the sharp as a tack pop-culture commentator’s over at Videogum seemed to take the bait. And of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, everybody thinks the whole thing is lame. I really don’t understand our generation. Too much cynicism, a need to be right and a sensitivity to all that is ‘fake’ has pretty much ruined entertainment. If people get the slightest sense that they’re being taken for a ride (see viral marketing…something I experienced first-hand last year) they get pissed off and defensive rather than have fun with it. Welle’s War of the World’s broadcast and Andy Kaufman’s Tony Clifton wouldn’t last fifteen minutes thanks to the blog-o-verse’s constant need to be the first to pull back the fucking curtain and find out who’s pulling the strings and exclaim ‘I’m not falling for it, asshole’. (I realize the element of hypocrisy in this statement, considering the fact that 1. I’m currently blogging, and 2. I’ve strongly stated in this post that I do believe this is fake. However, I do so only in response to those who think it’s real…not as a proclamation of my or lack of desire or inability to be ‘fooled’. I love being fooled. I think David Blaine’s street magic is 100x more entertaining than the viral video spoofs it’s spawned. I thought Luis Guzman’s fake freakout on the set of Waiting was amazing. If David O. Russel or Christian Bale came out and said their tantrums were staged, I would say ‘good show’. Got me?)

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  • RJ

    Well said Jay.

  • Yeah I guess I’m done thinking it’s real… or am I?

    Seriously though, people do get really defensive when they find out something is a hoax. I don’t think it’s just our generation either. The TV station that aired Peter Jackson’s Forgotten Silver got tons of hate mail afterward. What is a symptom of the internet generation is the need/expectation for instant gratification. So when someone does something weird, they don’t say, “I wonder what that’s all about”, they say, “Tell me the point or stop wasting my time.” They need to know how they’re supposed to feel about it, otherwise they just tune it out.

  • “So when someone does something weird, they don’t say, “I wonder what that’s all about”, they say, “Tell me the point or stop wasting my time.””

    Exactly.

  • swarez

    A better question is, “who gives a shit anymore?”

  • James Frey’s novel “A MILLION TINY LITTLE PIECES” is a great book and the fact that is fake takes absolutely nothing from it. So I agree with you Jay on the modern media world (Blogs, 24/7 News, Oprah!) can’t take a good ‘supplement joke’ with the material anymore.

  • rus in chicago

    Are you guys serious? You are comparing this age of complete individual freedom to broadcast your views over this medium called the internet to the time Kaufman and Welles pulled their tricks!? People had heart attacks and died the night of “War of The Worlds”! You don’t think the press beat him up and if technology like the internet existed at that time the public would have wrote, “Oh, you sure got my aged Grandma, you trickster, you.” Kaufman existed in a age of newspapers and talk shows and you know what? Lots of people still think he’s alive and going to come back! The blogos have not killed that idea. Movies, magic shows and practical jokes like Kaufman and Welles are all acts of deceiving the audience and making them suspend disbelief. Is the criticism on-line less about a generational attitude and more about just a bad idea performed badly on Joaquin’s part? Isn’t the criticism people are writing on their website just a vocalization of what a group of guys would be saying sitting around a room and watching a bad performance play out on the TV? I believe the web and the public just made the man behind a well done hustle a very rich man due to his good planning and performance – Borat.

  • It’s fake. Doesn’t mean it can’t be good.

  • Seriously well said, it’s extremely frustrating.

    I went to see Animal Collective when they played in L.A. in February. During openers Lucky Dragons, who I thought had a pretty interesting set, people were literally talking over them. This guy in front of me kept pulling out his iPhone, which was titled just right to shoot light right into my eyes in the darkness of the venue. I looked down once to see what the hell he was doing… he was texting a friend with: “OMG, this first band is CRAZY. They’re just like laying on the floor with weird electronic devices and drums and shit. You’re missing out.” He then went back to talking over their set. Gyah!

    Also, according to the last.fm page, apparently people actually said “Why are they just sitting down? They need to stand up. This is L.A.”… haha.

  • Bob The Slob

    if I was a celebrity (never gonna happen) everything I say about my personal life would be a lie…and it would only be funny to me and my friends.

    EXTREMELY WELL SAID JAY.

  • Christian

    Jay, you just summed up why a lot of people think they’re above watching pro wrestling. Saying you can’t enjoy pro wrestling because it’s fake is just like saying you can’t enjoy The Sopranos because you know it’s all fake, yet funny enough I’ve never actually heard anyone say that about The Sopranos.

  • I think Christian Bales outburst would lose alot of entertaiment for me if I knew it was fake. I would enjoy it on another level, but fake is all over the place, something real is cool once inawhile.

    I agree with your point, but I’m glad there are some real freakouts left to enjoy on their level, to go with all the other stuff.

  • murph

    i agree, henrik. It’d be funny still if Bale’s outburst turned out to be a hoax, but it wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining.

  • HoopersX

    All I can thing to say at this point is “Damn!! That was Krunk!!!”

    Seriously, if it was Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio or someone relevant, on a larger scale that JP, this all might be interesting or fun. But JP is hardly a household name. He’s that bad guy from Gladiator. Nothing more. I’m guessing that most people just don’t care. If this scam is to work, they will have to go WAY over the top to get the results they are looking for.

    Back when the whole Tony Clifton thing was happening, there wasn’t a giant 24/7 news/internet machine to dissect every little thing about it. But it’s a different world now. Short of a well faked suicide or murder I don’t see this thing ever reaching the level of the Tony Clifton capper.

  • Joaquin is a weirdo, but at least he’s succeeding at two things: marketing himself and he’s entertaining people