Let’s start 2021 with Crispin Glover.
The song Clowny Clown Clown comes from Glover’s first album, The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be. The album, which also featured Glover covering songs like These Boots Are Made For Walking and The Daring Young an On The Flying Trapeze, was released in 1989 and the liner notes invited anyone who could figure out what the “Big Problem” was to give Glover a call. The liner notes included a phone number that you could call, which was apparently Crispin’s phone number at the time. The number has since been disconnected so don’t waste your time trying to give Crispin a call.
Before making this video, Glover was best-known for playing George McFly in Back to the Future and for nearly kicking David Letterman in the head during an interview in 1987. Much like Joaquin Phoenix’s infamous later appearance on Letterman, it is believed that Glover was attempting an Andy Kaufmanesque stunt during his first appearance, as well as trying to promote an upcoming film. (The film was Rubin and Ed, which was filmed in ’87 but wouldn’t be released until 1991.) On March 28th, 1990, Glover returned to Letterman’s show, where he discussed his music and where a clip from the Clowny Clown Clown video was shown.
Below is Glover’s first appearance on Letterman:
Here is Glover’s subsequent performance, in which he attempts to explain himself and shows a clip of this video:
While I think it’s clear the Glover was playing a role in both of his appearances, I’m not sure if Letterman was in on the joke as he seems to be genuinely annoyed during both interviews. Of course, back then, genuinely annoyed was Letterman’s default interview style.
Back to Glover’s album, if anyone knows the Big Problem or its solution, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to get word to Crispin.