By now everyone has heard the Billy Bob Thornton deal – if not, in short, he was a prick on-air in Canada because he didn’t want to talk about his acting career in lieu of his music. Thing is, if you watch the video, I think ol’ Karl there went in to this interview with a major chip on his shoulder to begin with and decided he wasn’t going to play along with the radio host no matter what. Watch him at the beginning – he is clearly not paying attention even though he knows the camera is on him. His entire problem with the host is that he simply mentioned that he was an actor at the beginning – it’s not like they spent the interview talking about his movies or upcoming films. His acting career is never brought up after that. He simply throws a low-key tantrum because the host does what a good host does best: gives the often unaware listeners a frame of reference. As in, “why should I pay attention to this? Oh, it’s Billy Bob Thornton, cool. I’ll see why he wants to make music.” Billy Bob wants nothing of his acting/writing/directing career mentioned. Some have argued that he wants his current art to be taken for what it is and not judged based on his fame in other areas, but that’s just possible. If he’s so concerned about the bleed through of his fame, I have to wonder if maybe he’s also not concerned about how good the music of his band actually is? Zooey Deschaniel hasn’t had a hard time being taken seriously as a musician.
Let’s put that aside for a moment and look at something else: Bad Santa didn’t bother to show up with his drums, nor was he prepared to sing. What, exactly, was he going there to do? I believe he went into this interview/performance for the sole purpose of being a prick, wanting to make a scene. If he had walked in there in a good mood, ready to rockabilly-out, he’d have had his drums, and a better attitude. But he didn’t. Maybe he wanted to stage a Joaquin Phoenix-on-Letterman type of “hilariously bad” interview, but this wasn’t it. He was just an ass. Where Joaquin’s bizarre behavior kind of made him an internet hero of weirdness, Billy Bob has shown him to be what I kind of assume he really is – a difficult, angry, unpleasant man.
It’s probably a good thing he cancelled his Canadian tour after calling them “mashed potatoes with no gravy.” This will give him more time to write up a script for Armageddon II.