Whenever a celebrity has to promote a new movie or project, he or she will often appear in the media and do interviews. These interviews are usually pretty straightforward: The interviewer asks some project-related and/or pre-approved personal questions, the celebrity responds to said questions, and all is right in the world – but every once in a while, an interview goes horribly wrong. This could be the fault of the interviewer asking inappropriate or off-topic questions, the celebrity feeling insulted or being in a bad mood, or the occasional (uber-entertaining) combination of both.
As you’ll see, horrible celebrity interviews can happen for a number of reasons, and the resulting drama is something like watching a bad car accident – hard to look at but nearly impossible to turn away from – especially when it comes to these 15 horrible celebrity interviews. It’s clear from the interviewer, celebrity or situation that something bad is probably going to happen, which is exactly why these interviews are so hard to forget. Were they as memorable for you as they were for us?
15. Robert Downey Jr. Walks Out
During an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, Robert Downey Jr. got so fed up with being asked questions about the “dark periods” in his life that he abandoned the interview completely. Apparently, RDJ was under the impression that he had been invited onto the show to discuss the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, not incidents involving his drinking and drug use from over 10 years ago. Instead of entertaining the b.s., RDJ got up from his chair and exited the building, later telling Howard Stern, “I’m one of those guys who I’m always assuming social decorum is in play, and that we’re promoting a superhero movie, a lot of kids are going to see it, and that just has nothing to do with your creepy dark agenda.”
14. Mel Gibson Acts Like Himself an A#$hole
Mel Gibson is no stranger to saying terrible things on-record and off. He’s admitted to wanting to kill a reporter, made insensitive statements about gay people, and insulted Hispanic, Black and Jewish people along with his ex-girlfriend via a string of leaked rants and arrest video. But during an interview with Dean Richards on WGN-TV, Gibson made terrible celebrity interview history by acting like a complete douche after being asked if he’s become a better person in recent years. As soon as he hears the question, Gibson immediately becomes passive-aggressive and sarcastic before ending the tape on a high-note – by calling Richards an a#$hole. Really, Mel?
13. Jerry Seinfeld Defends his Ratings
During a 2010 interview with Larry King, Jerry Seinfeld flew off the handle when asked if he’d willfully left his long-running sitcom, Seinfeld, or if it had been canceled. In response to the question, Seinfeld becomes pissed and launches a 40 second tirade against Larry King, CNN and anyone who dare question his obvious success. To make matters worse, Seinfeld laughs awkwardly throughout the moment and continually interrupts King with smart-aleck remarks like “can we get a resume in here for me?” Turns out, Seinfeld hasn’t just been a jerk on Larry King Live, he’s also displayed an arguably unpleasant attitude in interviews with Seth Meyers, David Letterman and Buzzfeed editor Peter Lauria.
12. David Blaine Says Nothing (Much)
During an interview with British TV host Eamonn Holmes, magician David Blaine, a man who’s been buried alive, frozen in time, drowned in saline, and suspended in air upside down, surprised the audience with a new trick – not talking at all during an interview. For whatever reason, Blaine is totally unresponsive to Holmes’ questions and just stares at him weirdly while muttering an unintelligible word here or there. Things get ultra-creepy when Blaine holds his hand up to show an eye drawn onto his palm. Apparently it’s to protect him from death, he says, but clearly not from awkward interviews. Holmes struggles to get through the rest of the segment and quickly sends Blaine on his way when he’s finished.
11. Jesse Eisenberg Does a Magic Trick
While promoting his film Now You See Me, Jesse Eisenberg (best known for his role in The Social Network) was surprisingly rude to young blogger Romina Puga. Annoyed by the fact that she’d written interview notes on her hand and referred to Morgan Freeman as ‘Freeman’, Eisenberg spurts out, “Do you know the comedian Carrot Top?” Puga answers, “Yes, horrible.” At which point Eisenberg replies douch-ily, “You are like the Carrot Top of interviewers.” Ouch.
Which is exactly what Puga’s face looks like before the two exchange a few more harsh quips. After the interview was over, Puga posted on her blog that she felt “humiliated” and like her self-esteem had been “butchered.”
10. Quentin Tarantino Shuts it Down
While discussing his 2012 film Django Unchained with Krishnan Guru-Murthy of the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, Quentin Tarantino was forced to defend his work after being accused of making violent movies and stirring controversy. Guru-Murthy is unrelenting in his questioning, and after about four minutes, things get a little off topic when he asks if Tarantino knows of a link between his violent movies and violent acts in real life. Clearly pissed, Tarantino refuses to answer the question and “dance to” his tune. Things get no better as the interview progresses. But a few awesome quotes do come out of the whole thing. The best one is hands down, Tarantino screaming “I’m shutting your butt down!” Check and mate.
9. Crispin Glover Karate Kicks
One of the more outrageously terrible celebrity interviews aired in 1987 on Late Night with David Letterman. Charlie’s Angels star Crispin Glover appeared on the show to promote the movie River’s Edge, wearing a strange outfit, platform shoes and tilted wig. What David Letterman thought would be a normal interview was actually a prank that ended in Glover challenging Letterman to arm-wrestle before kicking his platform shoe inches from Letterman’s face. Not down to deal with the b.s., Letterman walked off the set of his own show as cameras cut to commercial.
Glover didn’t appear back on the show until about a month later and wasn’t really much better, although at least Letterman probably didn’t fear for his life that time.
8. Sean Connery Agrees with Himself
In 1987 while interviewing Sean Connery, Barbara Walters brings up an old Playboy interview from 1965, in which Connery proclaims there’s nothing wrong with slapping a woman. When asked if he remembers making this statement and if he’s changed his mind, Connery shockingly says, “I haven’t changed my opinion.” Although anyone with common sense and basic human decency could probably see the wrong in a man slapping a woman, Connery proceeds to dig himself a deeper hole by providing an example of why exactly a woman might deserve to be slapped. His example is garbage and his sorry attempt to justify his reasoning is totally hilarious.
7. Gene Simmons Gets in Trouble
In 2011, Gene Simmons and his girlfriend of over 26 years, Shannon Tweed, made the talk show rounds to promote their reality TV show Gene’s Family Jewels. During an interview with Joy Behar, things got incredibly tense when Behar brought up the long time rumor that Simmons slept with 5,000 women by asking the incredibly insensitive (and not sarcastic at all) question, “How’s your back, Gene?” After his answer, Tweed rolls her eyes dramatically, hits Simmons in the back, snatches off her mic and storms off the set. The two gave a similarly painful interview earlier that day proving that good reality TV does not always make for good celebrity interviews.
6. Joan Rivers Slams a Book
What started out as a well-intentioned interview, quickly crashed and burned when CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield, accused Joan Rivers of being mean on her red-carpet fashion review show, Fashion Police. Rivers immediately went on the defensive which for some reason prompted Whitfield to continue asking questions about Rivers’ more negative statements and actions on things like the death of Casey Anthony’s daughter, Princess Diana’s dating history and her wearing fur on the cover of her book (despite being an animal rights activist). Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Rivers who slammed her book down, defended her comments and comedy, and walked clear off the set. Whitfield claimed she thought the whole thing was a joke until she heard Rivers screaming “four letter words” off-camera.
5. Tom Cruise Embarrasses Himself
Tom Cruise basically declared himself bats#$t crazy in 2005 when he visited The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss War of the Worlds and ended up jumping on her couch while declaring his love for now ex-wife Katie Holmes. But that wasn’t even the end of it. After assaulting Oprah’s couch, he went on to practically assault her by grabbing her hands and shaking her, falling to the floor and banging the ground, laughing hysterically, grabbing Oprah’s hands again and hugging her before being sent off to fetch a clearly embarrassed Katie. Thankfully the interview ended soon after (though our concerns about Cruise’s mental state have not).
4. Tom Cruise Embarrasses Himself (Again)
But hopping on Oprah’s couch wasn’t even the lowest of Tom’s interview moments. Later that same year, he appeared on The Today Show with Matt Lauer to discuss War of the Worlds and his engagement to Katie Holmes. Things took a turn for the weird when Lauer and Cruise began discussing Scientology and then prescription drugs for postpartum depression. Earlier that year, Cruise and Brooke Shields had been bickering in the media about prescription meds and the topic was clearly a sore subject for Cruise. Before Lauer knew it, Cruise became extremely defensive while arguing his point, and called Lauer “glib”. Despite the drama, Lauer has said in recent years that Cruise has been nothing but friendly to him and that the two have a great relationship.
3. Morgan Freeman Falls Asleep
In 2013, while promoting his film Now You See Me with co-star Michael Caine on Seattle news station KCPQ, things got a little boring. So boring, Morgan Freeman fell asleep … on air. Over the course of a minute and a half, cameras capture the iconic actor dozing off while Caine talks about the movie’s CGI effects, magic tricks and other obviously dull topics. The only thing funnier than Freeman’s sleeping figure is Caine’s total unawareness of what’s going on. When later asked about the mishap, Freeman hilariously explained, “I wasn’t actually sleeping. I’m a beta tester for Google eyelids. I was merely updating my Facebook page.” Genius.
2. Samuel L. Jackson Schools Somebody
In this interview, Samuel L. Jackson showed just how bad things can get for interviewers who don’t take the time to know who they’re interviewing. KTLA reporter Sam Rubin made the unfortunate mistake of confusing Jackson with Laurence Fishburne, a mistake Rubin will probably never forget, we hope. For the remaining four minutes of the interview, Jackson schools him on all the black actors he is not, including Morgan Freeman, Michael Jai White and Dennis Haysbert.
Rubin admits that the whole thing is a “well deserved spanking” and the interview ends somewhat productively – although still horribly (and hilariously).
1. Gary Coleman Gets Mouthy
During a 2010 interview on The Insider, Gary Coleman was put in the hot seat after attorney Lisa Bloom, a guest panelist, started grilling him on his relationship with his wife. Bloom asserted that Coleman was in an abusive relationship and Coleman, not so politely, told her to drown in the ocean. He argued that it was ridiculous for him, at 4’7’’, to abuse his wife, who was 5’6’’. He then went on to tell Bloom to “go f$%k herself” before storming off the set. Coleman died a few months later but left us with the memory of the one of the worst celebrity interviews ever. RIP, Gary.