Oh man. Oh man.
KTLA’s Sam Rubin – a “multiple Emmy winner,” according to his official bio – may never live this one down. On Monday, the Los Angeles entertainment anchor welcomed Samuel L. Jackson on air for a short interview to promote Jackson’s latest film, MGM’s RoboCop remake. During their chat, though, Rubin made what seemed to be a fatal mistake: He asked Jackson about his recent Super Bowl commercial.
At first, Jackson was confused. There was an awkward silence. Then, just as Rubin started to explain himself, Jackson let him have it: “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter!” he said, shaking his finger. “I am NOT Laurence Fishburne!” The actor, of course, was referring to a Matrix-inspired Kia spot that aired during the big game – one that featured Matrix star Laurence Fishburne, not not-Matrix-star Jackson.
Some other choice quotes from Jackson in the aftermath of Rubin’s gaffe, as the reporter tried desperately to change the subject back to RoboCop:
“We don’t all look alike! We may be all black and famous, but we don’t all look alike!”
“You’re the entertainment reporter for this station? And you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne?”
“That must be a very short line for your job outside there.”
“Oh heeeelll no. Really?!”
“There’s more than one black guy doing commercials. I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet?’ black guy. He’s the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy. You only hear his voice, though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne.”
“I’ve actually never done a McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial. I know that’s surprising.”
It’s worth noting that Rubin apologized profusely both on air and in a follow-up clip, in which the anchor claims that he was actually trying to ask about the Captain America ad that ran during the Super Bowl – which does feature Jackson. “I immediately felt so dumb I didn’t bring that up, and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved,” Rubin added.
It’s no wonder, though, that Jackson assumed Rubin has mistaken him for Fishburne: As Time’s James Poniewozik points out on Twitter, this sort of thing has been happening to the two of them for years. In 2006, Jackson complained that talk show hosts sometimes asked him about the Matrix movies. In 1995, Fishburne even signed an autograph with Jackson’s name when approached by a woman who said her daughter loved him in Pulp Fiction. And even more recently, the Kia ad has confused other entertainment reporters (check the tags). How many giant blockbusters and Oscar nominations does an actor need before everyone gets his name right? Maybe Sam should ask Amy Adams for advice on how to deal.