The curious case of Joaquin Phoenix continued last night in Miami as the actor/rapper performed a short, tumultuous set at the LIV nightclub. According to the AP, the performance was cut short when Phoenix jumped off the stage and attacked a clubgoer who was heckling him. Security guards had to restrain Phoenix, who was then escorted out. Of course, cameras handled by actor Casey Affleck — Phoenix’s brother-in-law and the director of the documentary detailing Phoenix’s plunge into hip-hop — captured the entire incident.
If Phoenix has any aspect of hip-hop down pat, it’s his mastering of the art of tardiness. Fliers for Phoenix’s performance listed a 10:30 p.m. start time, but nearly four hours later Joaquin finally took the stage. With his now-trademark beard, suit and cigarette in hand, Phoenix began rapping incomprehensibly to the beat. Then, as a video that was posted on YouTube but has since been taken down, showed, Phoenix began arguing with a heckler near the stage, calling him a “double expletive” (to quote the AP) and bragging about how much money he had in his bank account. Then Phoenix dropped the mic and dove into the crowd to confront the “double expletive,” who may or may not be in on what may or may not be an elaborate hoax. Security swarmed in and whisked Phoenix away, the DJ put on M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” and the “performance” was over.
If anyone in attendance last night had any question whether Phoenix’s pursuit of a rap career was real or not, the answer seems clear this morning. “[Affleck’s] camera was filming the whole time, so it makes me think he has ulterior motives,” clubgoer Luis Gendron told the AP. “He knows the game he’s playing, and he’s good at it.” Following Phoenix’s now-infamous interview with David Letterman, we were convinced that the whole ordeal was a hoax. Of course, Phoenix could prove this isn’t a stunt by, you know, actually releasing a song. Whether it’s all real or not, notoriety of Affleck’s documentary reached fever pitch after Ben Stiller mocked Phoenix while presenting at the Academy Awards.