A video has surfaced of Elliott Smith making an awkward appearance on a ’90s morning show called Breakfast Time, and well, if you’re a fan of Smith, pre-digital time capsules, or just straight-up odd video content, this is a goldmine.
Smith stopped by the FX morning show on July 28th, 1995 to promote his self-titled sophomore album. The video was first uploaded to YouTube in 2019, but recently went viral after clips were shared on reddit this week. Airing from 1994 to 1996, the program was an “informal magazine show” featuring a goofy variety of interviews and segments, and even had a puppet co-host — all of which made it appealing for mainstream American television audiences, but a truly weird choice for the underground icon Smith.
Sitting down with hosts Tom Bergeron (of future America’s Funniest Home Videos fame) and Bob (a puppet) for an interview and performance of his song “Clementine,” the then-25-year-old singer-songwriter seemed to realize the absurdity of the circumstance as he was introduced.
“Let’s welcome a real morning person to the show,” Bergeron quipped before turning to an off-screen Smith to say, “It’s going to be alright, Elliott.” As it cut to Smith for the first time, he sheepishly acknowledged the camera before hiding behind a drink. Then, he and Bergeron dove into one of the odder interviews in music history.
Focusing on the “anger” behind it, Bergeron asked Smith to describe his music. “It’s really quiet,” Smith replied. “Some of it’s really angry, some of it’s not.” Digging in, Bergeron joked about Smith’s anger control. Smith tried to clarify himself by saying “I mean, [my music is] not particularly angry,” but he was cut off by Bergeron, who steered the topic to the Elliott Smith album art.
“I noticed on the cover that people are jumping off buildings… that’s not necessarily a good approach to deal with your problems. What’s the symbolism of that?” Bergeron asked, unknowing of the morbid irony of the question. “I don’t know, it just looked good,” Smith quietly replied, as Bob the puppet nodded his head.
After enduring all of this, Smith performed an inspiring rendition of “Clementine” before the show cut to commercial break. Upon returning, viewers get to see the wonderfully weird sight of Smith reading a newspaper in the background of the rest of the episode. “You’re craving a cigarette big time, aren’t you?” Bergeron asked. “Yes,” Smith replied before looking back down at the newspaper.
Watch Smith’s full appearance on Breakfast Time below.
Last month, six albums Smith recorded in high school surfaced online.