Sean Penn is no stranger to controversy, but according to the many reports about his interview with Stephen Colbert on Monday night, he outdid himself. During the interview, Penn seemed to be in his Rebel Without a Cause-like mode, which works well for him in movies. It wasn’t necessarily working for him last night, as he smoked cigarettes on the real-life stage, defying the strict no-smoking laws in NYC.
According to the Daily Mail, this was breaking the law by smoking during that interview. He was in breach of the NYC law that bans smoking in all theaters. Colbert, who at one time asked him to stop smoking, just got a chuckle from Penn. He also quipped how his smoking was “job security for oncologists.”
When Penn first sat down for the interview he told Colbert he was still under the influence of Ambien. Then he lit up a cigarette and continued to smoke during the interview. After he was done with the first butt, he lit up again and continued puffing away while talking to Colbert.
According to People Magazine, fans were “bewildered” by Sean Penn’s appearance. It was a “memorable” appearance suggests the magazine. Social media was buzzing over the way he looked, his smoking, and pointing out that he was breaking the law by smoking.
Colbert handled the situation very diplomatically as he told Penn, who had smoke filling the air around him and the talk show host and that the smell of smoke reminds him of his childhood. It is a pleasant smell for him, Colbert conveyed, as his parents both smoked. But with that said he offered up how dangerous it is and that he would like to see Penn around for a while longer.
This is when Penn offered his “job security for oncologists” quip. He told Colbert that he took Ambien while trying “to get some sleep after a red-eye flight.” He also said that he was still feeling the effects of the sleep medication. At one point, when Penn took out another cigarette, Colbert looked annoyed.
He handed the actor an ashtray and said, “I thought you might.”
Penn was on the show to promote his new novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff. The novel’s main character has dreams of assassinating a Trump-like character and the book follows the man through his daily life. Colbert asked Penn what his motivation was for writing this book. He said it was like therapy for him living in a Trump-era.
Along with looking the part of a man who was sleepy from Ambien, Penn looked very disheveled. His over-all appearance left folks bewildered about what was going on with the actor. According to the Daily Mail, many folks hopped on social media to make a comment about Penn’s appearance.
The Daily Mail offered up a couple of samples of those comments from Twitter users, which are seen below.
“Why is Sean Penn smoking on Stephen Colbert show [sic], he can’t go without a cigarette for 10 minutes. REALLY,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another Twitter user asked, “At what point in his life did Sean Penn turn into Popeye the Sailor Man?”
You can check out the interview in the video at the top of this article.