Assignment: Garfunkel

•  Now it can be shown: Art Garfunkel bails on an interview

•  He opened up to the NY Times, then shut down at CNN

•  I didn’t set out to ruin his day

I wrote about Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon’s erstwhile partner, a year ago January in a piece about unpleasant experiences I had covering some showbiz celebrities, The Bad Actors.

At the time, I didn’t have access to the video of the awkward moment we shared. Now I do, but – a warning: it comes from a “Christmas reel.” That’s the compilation of funny on-air and behind-the-scenes bloopers and goofiness that television stations and networks often produce for laughs at end-of-year holiday parties.

The setup, from my earlier post:

“In 1991 Art Garfunkel came into our CNN studios at 34th and 8th to talk about an unusual project: the singer was walking across America, a few days at a time, over the course of a year or so. Walking a stretch, flying home, flying back out and picking up where he left off. The day before, the New York Times had run a story about how Art’s nose was out of joint because Paul Simon was holding another giant concert in Central Park and didn’t invite him. So, once again waiting until the end of the interview, I asked him about the snub. He got angry and said he didn’t want to talk about that. I said, “Wait — you talked about it with the Times; it’s in today’s paper. Won’t you talk about it with CNN?” He took his mic off and stepped down from the platform our chairs were on. In the dark beyond the studio lights, my executive producer, Scott Leon, had been standing, watching. He tried to calm Garfunkel down. In the control room, the techs swiveled the cameras to record the negotiation in the shadows among Art, Scott and me. I think it was a highlight of that year’s Christmas party blooper reel”

It was. Part of it, at least. Here it is, condensed for the Christmas reel and augmented with music by the wise guys who edited it:

(The blooper reel creators left out the shots of the failed negotiations to get Garfunkel back in the chair.)

I’ve Seen All Good People

When he asked me, “You sure this isn’t a soap opera?” and I replied, “No, but it could become one,” I wasn’t being flippant. The soap opera-ish comments had already been printed in the previous day’s newspaper. I didn’t know melodrama was moments away! He may not have wanted to rehash it on CNN, but when he came in to talk about his cross-country walk and the book he was writing about it, he had to know his snit about Paul in the paper would be on the agenda.

If you want to learn more about Art’s walking, it is quite interesting: Art Garfunkel

Want more about Art and Paul’s relationship? Not my job anymore.


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