Cameron Crowe on When Musicians Act—and It’s Actually Not Terrible

Jack Nicholson and singer Art Garfunkel in 1971’s Carnal Knowledge.

From Vanity Fair:

There is a wonderful moment in Judd Apatow’s Funny People that is as surprising as it is funny. Seth Rogen portrays a struggling young writer-comic invited along on a corporate gig to assist his idol, a legendary stand-up comedian played by Adam Sandler. James Taylor is also on the bill, and in a casual moment after Taylor’s performance, Rogen asks him, “Do you ever get tired of singing the same songs over and over?” Taylor, playing off a long career based on graceful elegance, sharply replies, “Do you ever get tired of talking about your dick?”

For anybody paying attention to the long and tumultuous history of musicians crossing over into the dark and mysterious world of acting, this was a watershed moment. Taylor was operating far out of his comfort zone, throwing in with Apatow’s famously unruly gang of screen comedians. He nailed his moment with aplomb. This doesn’t happen often. The cinematic battlefield is littered with the bodies of musicians who have not fared as well. Though musicians and actors often long for each other’s career, succeeding is the Holy Grail.

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