Mike Myers Crawls Out of the Woodwork, Speaks to the Kanye-West-George-Bush-Doesn't-Care-About-Black-People Episode
We haven’t seen Mike Myers onscreen in five years, since his small role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds, and the last time Myers was the lead in a film was 2008’s box-office bomb, Love Guru, which came five years after The Cat in the Hat. That’s to say that, in the last 11 years, we haven’t seen a lot of Myers (even if our kids have heard him in the many Shrek projects). However, he directed a documentary, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon about the career of music manager Shep Gordon, which necessitates that Myers do some promotion.
To wit: Myers gave an extensive interview with GQ, and it’s fascinating enough that we could’ve gone with any number of angles. He talks, for instance, about the fact that the last letter George Harrison ever wrote was to him, about why Love Guru failed to connect with audiences, he spoke to his experiences on Inglourious Basterds, and he talked about his future projects, which at this point don’t exist, although he’s open to an Austin Powers or Wayne’s World sequel, though in neither case is he seeking them out.
Basically, Myers is 50 now, he has a kid, and he’s chilling. He’s making home movies, painting, making music on iGarage, and basically farting around, which is not a bad gig if you can get it. He’s not a recluse. He’s not doing anything weird. Nobody is really sending him any scripts, and he’s not writing any movies for himself. But he’s content. He’s living the life.
It’s a great interview, and I encourage you all to read the entire thing, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll focus on the Katrina Telethon incident with Kanye West, if only because I don’t recall ever hearing Mike Myers address what is now one of those iconic moments in pop-culture history.
Do you remember what you were thinking as he said it?
I went there specifically because I wanted to help the Red Cross. I was supposed to be by myself, and I was, like, “fine”, then they said “Do you mind doing it with somebody else?” And I always remembered that Live Aid thing of “leave your egos at the door,” so I said, “Sure, of course.” And they said, “Would you do it with Kanye West?” and I said, “Uh, sure.” I actually wasn’t familiar with his work. And then he said he was going to take some liberties with the thing.
So he gave you kind of a warning.
Yes, but I didn’t know that the liberty would be calling out the president.
If you watch the footage, I don’t think he knew.
I don’t think so either. But the question itself is a little beside the point of what actually went down in New Orleans. For me it isn’t about the look of embarrassment on my face, it is truly about the injustice that was happening in New Orleans. I don’t mind answering the question but the emphasis of it being that I’m the guy next to the guy who spoke a truth. I assume that George Bush does care about black people—I mean I don’t know him, I’m going to make that assumption—but I can definitively say that it appeared to me watching television that had that been white people, the government would have been there faster. And so to me that’s really the point—the look on my face is, to me, almost insulting to the true essence of what went down in New Orleans … 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. Do you know what I mean?
I’m, like, super proud to have been next to him. The look on my face is…to be honest with you, I thought I handled it well. I was like “This is what’s happening…” Because live TV is my milieu, and improv is my training, you know. It has been painful that the culture has at times meditated on my surprise, when it’s really the message, dude. The message, the message, the message, you know. There’s a world of fail culture, and it’s hardly a fail on my part to be next to the guy that spoke truth to power at a time when horrific injustices… [he trails off, point made]
The interviewer, Chris Heath, pushed it a little more, but Myers clearly was trying to make a point of it not being about his face, but about the message.
The rest of the must-read interview is over here.
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