In case you haven’t heard, Billy Bob played the part of a whining baby on a CBC radio program today. CBC is our public broadcaster, a wonderful radio and television network that has been a huge part of my life. And my current favourite show on the radio side is Q, hosted by Jian Ghomeshi. I met Ghomeshi many years ago when he was in the band Moxy Fruvous, and I continue to listen to him today, and I can tell you that he is a genuine, decent guy, a stereotypically “nice Canadian.”
Which makes Thornton’s behaviour in the studio all the more bizarre. Basically, he had decided before doing the interview that he was no longer an actor, just a musician, because, as you know, that’s worked out well for Joaquin Phoenix. He was there to talk about his band, the Boxmasters, and that’s all. So he was hostile, angry and belligerent with Ghomeshi, who didn’t deserve it, because Ghomeshi mentioned acting, so he ended up not talking about anything that made any sense.
- Watch the video here. Yes, it’s video of radio. Anything’s possible, eh?
- Ghomeshi tells his story here.
I’ve run into this kind of attitude while interviewing celebrities before. Basically, they want to talk about what’s important in their lives at that exact moment, and they get all huffy if you dare ask them something else. Billy Bob, for instance, said something like “You wouldn’t ask Tom Petty these questions.” Of course not. Tom Petty isn’t an actor (if you saw The Postman, you know this)
The interviewer is in charge; it’s the journalist’s job to report for the public, not to make the star happy. Remind me to tell you my Shatner story sometime for an example of that.
Anyway, we’ve always known Billy Bob is a bit of a nutter. There was that thing with the vial of blood, and that whole thing with the refusal to use old furniture or something. But it doesn’t matter if you’re an Oscar-winning superstar or the guy next door, if a journalist agrees to give you access to an audience, a touch of respect is expected. And deserved.
CBC programming is also available as podcasts here or via iTunes. I suggest you give Q a try. It’s a wonderful program.
One more thing: Billy Bob called Canada “mashed potatoes without the gravy” or something. Billy Bob — don’t dis my country. I might have to toss my copy of Bad Santa in protest. I sure as hell won’t be buying your music, anyway. Not when I have Moxy Fruvous around.