Is Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career a hoax? Is he trying to save his dignity?

Joaquin Phoenix has received only criticism for his fledgling rap career. Not even achieving mixed reviews, his premiere performance was branded an epic fail. So what is a man to do in this position? Turn a career change into an elaborate stunt to avoid embarrassment.

Following his widely panned three-song debut as a rapper at a Las Vegas nightclub on Jan. 16 — a shambling performance that concluded with the actor falling off the stage — two competing theories emerged: Either Phoenix is perpetrating an elaborate Andy Kaufman-style hoax (with an assist from his friend and brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who’s ostensibly shooting a documentary about his career transition), or he’s truly lost his marbles. The truth, it seems, is closer to the former. “He said, ‘It’s a put-on. I’m going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it,'” says one source who recently worked with Phoenix.

Though Phoenix’s interest in music is sincere (he earned Oscar and Grammy nominations for his turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and has directed several music videos), with this supposed career reboot he is evidently trying to both lampoon pompous actors and punk the media that covers them. Whatever his motivation or ultimate endgame, don’t expect him to break character anytime soon. “It’s an art project for him,” says a source. “He’s going full out. He probably has told his reps that he’s quit acting. Joaquin is very smart. This is very conscious. He has a huge degree of control.”


You know, maybe it is an elaborate hoax, from the ‘Bye, good’ on his fists, to the falling off stage, it does seem like stunt failure. His beard also seems a little too much like a costume, adding to the stunt element. I love the beard though, I love a hairy man, but I think I’m alone in my admiration. Rap music also seems a suspect choice – Joaquin has in the past directed music videos, presumably for bands he likes, which were of the more indie rock/electronic persuasion.

Joaquin Phoenix is shown performing on 1/17/09. Credit: WENN

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15 Responses to “Is Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career a hoax? Is he trying to save his dignity?”

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  1. Megan says:

    Attention seeking to-the-max.

  2. lway says:

    Can you say “Wack Job” ….

  3. lway says:

    This guys has gone from being a brilliant actor to a complete freak show … sad

  4. lway says:

    This guy has gone from being a brilliant actor to a complete freak show … sad

  5. Dorothy says:

    He is crazy there is no doubt. That beard it so gross i can barely look at the pictures. He was great in Signs and Walk the line, but now he should go to some sort of rehab.

  6. Megan says:

    If it is a ‘hoax’ why do celebrities feel the need to pull these hoaxes on everyone? Get a proper job, geez.

  7. czarina says:

    While other comedians considered Andy Kauffman to be brilliant, most people who saw him perform (particularly when he adopted-to the point of stupidity-the Tony Clifton persona) didn’t find him funny or want to see him.
    You can take a game like that way too far.
    When you make your whole life into “performance art”, mostly people just find you boring and uninteresting.
    It’s fine if JP does not really want a career in acting or in music–if he’s just entertaining himself for his own ego-driven purpose.
    But he’d better remember that audiences have short attention spans!

  8. KDRockstar says:

    Bye! Good

    Seriously, for reals.

  9. Kristen says:

    Joaquin is amazing… maybe just not at rapping.

    He’s still hot, hot, hot!

  10. Ash says:

    He looks terrible. I wish he would quit this crap and get back to acting because he was very talented. It saddens me to see him do things like this. I couldn’t even watch the video of him falling, that was just embarassing.

  11. vdantev says:

    Turning into David Koresh

  12. czarina says:

    Except David Koresh was better groomed!

  13. journey says:

    if it turns out to be a fantastical farce of a movie and has the public swooning over it like they did for borat, people will call him a genius. while others will continue to call him an idiot. trying to stretch and explore as an artist (in any medium) often leaves the onlooker puzzled, taken aback, and thinking that the artist is a whack job. sometimes they’re right!

  14. dubdub2000 says:

    I’m quite certain this is a hoax of some sort, the very fact that Jr Affleck is filming it so publicly is a dead give away. I take it as criticism of all those rappers who improvise themselves actors overnight and vice versa.
    Sometimes though there IS a breakthrough performance, such as David Hasselhoff and his “great” pop career in Germany (LMAO – I just wish THAT were a joke, but no, he WAS, after all, the soundtrack to the Berlin wall getting smashed to pieces!)

  15. santacruz says:

    He is attention seeking!