David Letterman has denied knowing that Joaquin Phoenix’s “Im now a crazy rapper” hoax” was in fact all a put on when the actor wigged out on his TV show 19 months ago. And he may have good reason to cover up what he really knew at the time.
Upon Joaquin Phoenix’s return to Late Night this week, Letterman went to great lengths to make Joaquin say that he knoew nothing about the hoax.
Letterman, seemingly trying to make clear to his audience that he wasn’t part of the joke, asked Phoenix, “I was not part of it, was I?” Phoenix said no to that and Letterman’s question about whether the two of them were working off a script.
And what the madia is ignoring is this NUVO interview with Letterman writer Bill Sheft, who wrote monologues for Letterman for 18 years. from August 2009, in which he says Letterman know all about the hoax, even takes credit for handing Letterman lines during the commercial break:
NUVO: Tell me what it was like backstage after the Joaquin Phoenix appearance.
Scheft: First of all, that was all an act.
NUVO: Even Dave’s part of it?
Scheft:: Yeah. Think Andy Kaufman without shaving. That’s what he was doing. And Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. He could do whatever he wanted with it. And he did, and 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.
Dave loves that. He had a ball. He likes anything that’s good television, and he knew that’s good television.
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. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It’s an act. I saw Ben Affleck’s brother taping the whole thing from offstage.
Why would Lettermant want to cover up his involvement? Credibility. Recall, after getting caught with his Worldwide Pants down in the Stephanie Birkitt intern sex scandal, in which he admitted to sleeping with his intern and paying for her Law school tuition, Letterman somehow any escaped sexual harassment discipline from either his own production company or CBS. Instead, he joked about it, and played the victim in the Joe Halderman blackmail case.
But Letterman’s credibility as this hickish Indiana-born married homebody took a big hit when it came out he was a bigger horn-dog as the philandering politicians (Bill Clinton) and celebrities that he has made so much fun of over the years.
And as Dave himself might say, who wants to be remembered as both a liar and a cheat?
According to the Montreal Gazette, Marc Allan, the writer of the article for NUVO is standing by the Letterman story:
Contacted in Indiana where he is now working in media relations at Butler University, Allan, who has free-lanced for the Los Angeles Times, said he quoted Scheft exactly right and even got a note from the Letterman writer after the piece ran telling him he did a nice job.
“I have no idea why Dave said that, why he is denying he knew about it in advance,” Allan said, adding “the whole thing is mysterious and weird to me.”
It is not mysterious or weird at all. After being caught sleeping with his interns and cheating on his wife, the last thing Letterman want now is a scandal that shows he is punking his own audience for fun and profit!
It is time for David Letterman to come clean. He was apparently a part of a massive hoax for 19 months, cashing in on the PR and YouTube clips to boost his own ratings.
Dave, if nothing else, do it for Roger Ebert’s sake, a man battling with thyroid cancer who got punk’d just like the rest of us, and who said of this movie: “If this film turns out tostill be part of an elaborate hoax, I’m going to be seriously pissed.