Matthew McConaughey Reveals Wild Details About That Time He Got Arrested While Playing Bongos Naked

Matthew McConaughey bongos
(Image credit: (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images))

Matthew McConaughey’s new autobiography Greenlights has just hit shelves and it’s already full of gems about his personal and family life. In fact, prior to release we learned the actor’s father had died during sex with his mother. Now the Magic Mike star has set the record straight on what happened that time he got arrested while playing the bongos naked.

When Matthew McConaughey was arrested for playing the bongos naked in his own home in 1999, the news was everywhere. He event notes that in Austin Bongo Naked t-shirts were sold following the incident and probably made a pretty penny. As for Matthew McConaughey, he says it was a nice night following 32 hours of partying and he just wanted to “smoke a bowl” and listen to some cool grooves. He wrote,

It was time to smoke a bowl and listen to the beautiful African melodic beats of Henri Dikongué play through my home speakers. It was time to stand over my drum set and follow the rhythm of the blues before they got to Memphis, on my favorite Afro-Cuban drum. It was time for a jam session. What I didn’t know was that while I was banging away in my bliss, two Austin policemen also thought it was time to barge into my house unannounced, wrestle me to the ground with nightsticks, handcuff me and pin me to the floor.

The actor was naked when the police came in to arrest him, and he says in Greenlights (via ET Canada) that he was not pleased the officers had just come into his home and ruined his peaceful, bongo-filled evening. He ultimately was arrested naked because he wanted to prove he was “mindin my own business!” He remembers having a plan to impress the cops, too, though things did not work out how Matthew McConaughey expected. The actor also wrote:

They escorted me out of my house through the courtyard entry on the way to the street. Still naked and reluctant to submit to the inevitability of my predicament, I got relative, and decided it would be a clever idea to run up the walls left and right of the gated passageway and do a somersault backflip over the Cornhusker cop who was guiding me from behind. My thinking was that in mid-flight, while upside down in the air, I would assume a pike position and then slide my cuffed wrists under my butt and up and over my legs, then stick the landing behind the Cornhusker, now with my fettered hands in front of me. My rationale at the time was that after pulling off such an extraordinary Houdini-like stunt, the officers would be so impressed that they would abrogate the arrest and set me free. I know, stupid, but remember, I’d been celebrating for 32 and a half hours straight.

At the time of the arrest, Matthew McConaughey did plead guilty to the class C violation, as he was actually playing the bongos pretty loudly at 2:30 in the morning. He ended up paying only a $50 fine for his troubles, but that’s one celebrity arrest that has lived on in infamy in the decades since.

When Matthew McConaughey married Camila Alves a few years later in 2012, the festivities were also a lengthy event. Three days of time with friends and family were planned, and many of these festivities went all day and all night, for those interested in staying up late. No arrests were reported related to those multi-hour shenanigans, and Matthew McConaughey has seemingly calmed down quite a bit from his younger days when he made headlines for naked arrests. Well, at least somewhat...

Matthew McConaughey did revisit his love for naked bongo playing in 2019’s The Beach Bum. You can revisit the moment with the full trailer for the Harmony Korine movie.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.