Crispin Glover reads from his book, "What It Is, and How It Is Done"

Originally published at: Crispin Glover reads from his book, "What It Is, and How It Is Done" | Boing Boing


It takes a lot to earn the distinction of being one of Hollywood’s biggest weirdos but Glover really committed himself to achieving it.


it’s amazing how much he looks like his father–


I have to watch this clip every few months to keep my sanity (it’s been up on YT for years). The first half second blast of static noise still annoys the hell out of me though.

I have so wished for more of this to get posted but Crispin has managed to avoid the clutches of the internet somehow. I still kick myself for not purchasing a (signed) copy of this book when I saw it at a bookstore way back when. I thought $15 was a bit pricey for the thing. Now you can’t find even an unsigned copy anywhere (last time I looked anyway, it’s been a while and it had a $200 asking price).

This clip became even more meaningful when I had a daughter and she (at 10 yrs old now) is becoming a happy mutant, just like me.

Stay Weird Crispin!


Yeah, Letterman definitely didn’t get Glover.
Rather, he wanted to get away as far as possible.

So, he physically leaves the set? Letterman wasn’t playing along. He genuinely didn’t like what was going down. (If it was “funny” it was only so in a ‘Andy Kaufman’ way— totally not Letterman’s style.)


I remember when that happened, everyone assumed Glover was trippin balls but I guess he was in character from the movie he was promoting but no one knew.

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I’m pretty sure Letterman knew exactly what Glover was doing and played it exactly the right way to make it as funny as possible.

I don’t buy that some one in the audience would so clearly, damn near on mic heckle him with “hey! nice shoes” if it wasn’t all very deliberate.

I don’t think anyone has ever directly addressed it, “infamous” as is it is.

He was promoting The River’s Edge, I think the deal is he made a film about the character from the interview at some point later.

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The next night, the opening pre-credits bit featured Letterman talking with some of the crew. During this bit they talked about finding Glover and “harming” him. (I’m not certain exactly how it was phrased.) I’m sure nothing like this was done and I’m nearly as sure that Letterman was not happy at all with Glover.

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Have you watched much Letterman? The man can commit, and he did quite a lot of dead pan not into it.

Glover’s second appearance on the show would be just a month later:

Then again in 1990:


He showed up 5 times over the years, though I can’t find clips of the Late Show appearance. But it looks like Will Farrell was subbing that night.

And they kept the dynamic similar. Glover trips over himself, Dave gives him shit. They only discuss the original appearance. If Letterman was really that pissed, would Glover have been back regularly to continue the gag?

It’s notorious cause they kept it going a decade.

Meanwhile for 30 years Glover has sort of but not really refused to even acknowledge he’s ever been on Letterman. I don’t think Letterman has acknowledged it either.

Oh well that could never be part of the schtick. Right?


Or Glover successfully apologized. I dunno.


This book comes up every few months, and I check my normal haunts with zero results each time. Not even a single digital trace of the text. I’d be willing to pay (reasonable) money for the book, although right now I’d just settle for the opportunity to read it.

Dear Popkin,
If you love this you must read the essay collection, “How I Wrote Certain of My Books” by Raymond Roussel and then his masterpiece, the novel “Locus Solus” from about 1930. He was a master of alternative approaches to finding a story hidden amongst the odd thoughts filling his head. Unlike Glover, who is great in his own right, Roussel seriously commits to finding new approaches to making stories and lands some great whoppers along the way. It does start from a similar premise, connecting two unrelated images by inventing a story, but he aids the effort by teasing out hints from the language itself. Reading it is like having two thoughts at once as you follow the story and simultaneously ponder where the detail is coming from, because it is not obvious.
I feel pretty sure Glover was showing his own love of Roussel in this book and performance since his title mirrors Roussel’s famous essay on his own techniques, mentioned above.


After reading the article title this is all I can think of.


Steve Aylett wrote about this approach as well.


Crispin Glover is even stranger than Christopher Walken.
Change my mind.


Off the screen, I’ve never heard there’s anything especially strange about Walken, although I do recall an interview where he implied he basically had no friends other than his spouse. (That might have been a put on and/or just an urge to keep his off camera life as private as possible, of course.)


A friend of mine was his personal assistant for a while.

Apparently he’s kind of a homebody. Spends most his time with family. So he’s probably joking about himself.

I think the wildest thing the friend told me is that Walken golfs. But only because he thinks it funny.


kudos/thanks for wrangling up all relevant youtubes!

Yes. I know Mr. Letterman quite well. I know that, though an ostensibly public persona, as “quirky” as he portrayed himself to be, he is a deeply private, deeply inhibited person. I stipulate that all parts of a talk show appearance/conversation are well-planned and far from spontaneous. However, in this instance: Letterman was genuinely startled by Glover at the initial encounter. And, sure, he used that as a bit. It can be both at the same time. Both an occurrence that surprised and unsettled Letterman and something he (and Glover) later used as a bit.


What if…and just go with me here…what IF Crispin isn’t the “weird” one?

Perhaps, and given the past, current, and (most likely) future actions of of our species, Crispin is the NORMAL one, and it’s most of the rest of us who are actually weird? So, what he’s doing doesn’t make much (if any) sense, but c’mon…LIFE doesn’t really make much sense if you really look at it. Crispin is at least making the nonsense fun and enjoyable for the rest of us!

Stay normal, Crispin. Us true weirdos need you to remain there so we can hope to achieve oneness with true normalcy one day…