Being an entertainment reporter is a pretty low stress job. Smile. Ask pleasant enough questions. Act excited. It’s not biochemistry. That being said, it is pretty important you at least know the credentials of the person you’re interviewing. Otherwise, you could well end up with an embarrassing situation like the one seen above.
The interview in question was conducted by Sam Rubin of KTLA. As you can see, he was interviewing Samuel L Jackson when he asked about his Super Bowl commercial. Unfortunately, the actor in the commercial he was thinking of was actually Laurence Fishburne, and he did not let the entertainment reporter forget about it. In fact, Jackson decided to devote pretty much the rest of the interview to discussing other black dudes who are not him.
The effect is one of hilarity and awkwardness. It’s pretty amusing to watch Jackson play up the ridiculousness and turn the interview on its head, but it also makes you feel bad for the poor interviewer. Should he have done his homework a little better? Of course. Should he have been scolded and embarrassed briefly? Absolutely, but it seems highly unlikely there was any real malice behind his mistake. He could just as easily have mixed up Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney.
If nothing else, this fiasco is a great reminder of why Jackson is such a wonderful interview. He’s never opposed to moving off topic, and he has the confidence to shoot from the hip. That’s not to say he’s going to reveal sensitive information about a project he shouldn’t, but there’s about a mile between that and the standard 3 word responses most celeb gives. He lives in that grey area, and we should all celebrate that more.