Nearly nine years after Kanye West proclaimed that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” in a national telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims, the man who stood next to him with a winced look on his face has voiced his support. “I’m, like, super proud to have been next to him,” actor Mike Myers recently told GQ. “The look on my face is. . . to be honest with you, I thought I handled it well.”
Looking back at the telethon, Myers recalled feeling surprised and uncomfortable. He said he wanted to do the telethon because he, too, felt “ironically, that if this was white people on roofs, the army would be there in five seconds.” When one of the show’s producers told him he would be working with Kanye West, Myers recalled not being familiar with the rapper’s work. “And then he said he was going to take some liberties with the thing.” Myers said he didn’t know that the liberty would be “calling out” Bush.
Myers told the interviewer, “I don’t mind answering the question [about Kanye] but the emphasis of it being that I’m the guy next to the guy who spoke a truth.” Moreover, Myers said, “To have the emphasis on the look on my face versus the fact that somebody spoke truth to power at a time when somebody needed to speak? I’m very proud to have been next to him.”
One month after the telethon, Myers and West appeared together on Saturday Night Live and lampooned the incident, with the Canadian-born Myers saying the U.S. government had revoked his citizenship while West looked aloof. As The Hollywood Reporter points out, West would later acknowledge that his comments might have been hyperbolic. “I would tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn’t have the grounds to call him a racist,” the rapper told Matt Lauer.
Elsewhere in Myers’ GQ interview, the actor revealed that the last letter George Harrison wrote in his life was to him. “That’s mind-blowing, dude, for the son of a Liverpudlian, a person who worships the Beatles,” the actor said. “The letter came on the day of Austin Powers 3 when we were shooting . . . the Hollywood movie version of Austin Powers’ life, as directed by Steven Spielberg, and it was the day George Harrison died.”
Myers recalled receiving the letter that day. “I cried like a baby,” he said.
As for the contents of the letter, Harrison wrote that he was happily sitting with his very own Dr. Evil doll. The former Beatle had reportedly been “looking all over Europe for a mini-you doll.” Harrison thanked Myers for the movies and even offered a correction for the actor, “Dr. Evil says frickin’, but any good Scouser dad will tell you it’s actually ‘friggin’ as in a ‘four of fish and finger pie’, if you get my drift.” He said, “Thanks for the movies, so much fun.”
Harrison also acknowledged Myers’ commentary on the Beatles’ Anthology special, in which the actor admitted getting teary while thinking about the final shot of A Hard Day’s Night when the helicopter with the Beatles’ band name on its door takes off. “I love the spirit of that film so much, that spirit got into Austin Powers and Wayne’s World, which is that it’s a party,” Myers said. “And he said [in his letter] ‘I’m sorry I left you on the helicopter that day, I promise I won’t do it again.'”
Myers said he did know why Harrison felt the need to write him a letter but would not share the reason, other than to hint that it is “fantastic and sad and awesome.”
Incidentally, earlier in the interview, Myers also revealed that he has named his dog “George Harrison.”