Joaquin Phoenix’s new rap character is the Bermuda Triangle between Borat, Tony Clifton, and Charles Manson. Or maybe Zach Galifianakis. There’s too many to choose from and that’s why Phoenix’s “I’m quitting acting to play music” story is itself, undoubtedly, an act.
Our best evidence arrived Friday night, when Phoenix took to the stage of Las Vegas club Lavo and performed publicly for the first time since the start of this whole shtick. Watch the video of Phoenix’s new rap songs here:
It’s pretty clear he is playing mostly to the camera slightly offstage. Unlike Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat though, Larry Charles is not directing this stunt; it’s Casey Affleck. You know, not someone who makes you think comedy. He hasn’t directed Seinfeld and I doubt Affleck has even seen an old Charles-directed episode of Mad About You. That’s where Andy Kaufman’s Tony Clifton comes in. To pull off a stunt of the Kaufman variety, one must make the public wonder if the instigator is unstable, on drugs, or just good ol’ crazy. Check. Check. Check.
Joaquin Phoenix has everybody feigning worry for the actor, whose brother died of a drug overdose by his side in 1993, and who knows if that was all part of the plan. I don’t think folks of the Perez Hilton or TMZ ilk are actually worried about Phoenix though. It’s all just part of the show.