CBC’s Q Show host Jian Ghomeshi learned a valuable lesson when interviewing the Boxmasters, the band led by actor Billy Bob Thornton: Never refer to Thornton as an actor. Ghomeshi’s introduction, in which he refers to Thornton as an “Oscar-winning screenwriter, actor and director,” for some reason infuriates Thornton (watch his eyes roll) and makes the actor come down with a serious case of the Joaquin Phoenix, resulting in one painfully awkward but hilarious interview.
“Billy Bob, you guys formed only in the last couple of years, right?” Ghomeshi asks Thornton. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” responds Thornton. Ghomeshi later asks Thornton what Willie Nelson is like, since the Boxmasters are opening for the Nelson on tour. “I’ve never met him, I don’t really know him,” Thornton responds. At first we’re led to believe that Thornton is just spaced out, but following an incredible off-topic story involving Thornton’s subscription to a monster magazine — the question was what music did he like growing up, fast forward to the 5:10 mark — we learn that Thornton is just being a difficult interview because Ghomeshi had the audacity to introduce him to the radio audience as an actor, despite Thornton telling the show’s producers not to mention his other career.
From there, Ghomeshi and Thornton verbally spar on air, finally call a truce, continue with the interview and the Boxmasters go on to perform one of their songs… without Thornton’s drumming, as the actor stood cross-armed watching his bandmates play. (The performance wasn’t included due to rights issues but you can catch the CBC full audio stream here.) We have to give credit to Ghomeshi for keeping his composure throughout the tumultuous interview, which after a few more viewings might edge out Joaquin’s Letterman performance to win the Oscar for Best Actor Acting Awkwardly Promoting Their Music Career.