Mr. Potato Head

Not since Dan Quayle spelled it with an "e" at the end has there been this much fuss about a potato.

More on that in a sec, but for starters, say what you want about Canadians; when it comes to manners, they could definitely teach a certain American a thing or two. Yes, we're talking to you, actor and erstwhile musician Billy Bob Thornton.

Your behavior on CBC radio made Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on Letterman look downright eloquent. And while Phoenix was merely clueless (and, many believe, play acting), Billy Bob, you were downright obnoxious.

Mashed Potatoes

For those of you who are just tuning in, Thornton and his band, the Boxmasters, were (until today), the opening act for Willie Nelson's tour of Canada. However, with his steely-eyed gaze trained on songs rather than soliloquies, Thornton apparently has no desire to discuss his career as an actor and interviewers who bring it up—even in passing—do so at their own peril, as Canadian Broadcast Corporation host Jian Ghomeshi discovered to his dismay during a sit-down with Thornton and his flummoxed-looking bandmates this week.

Thornton went on the offensive from the get-go when Ghomeshi mentioned the acting thing in his introduction to the interview. From that point forward, the thespian offered non-answers, non-sequiturs and sheer bile in reply to Ghomeshi's earnest and affable questions.

Falling back on the line "You wouldn't say that to Tom Petty, would you?" the former husband of Angelina Jolie acted like a spoiled brat and at one stage, even compared the Canadian people to mashed potatoes without gravy. He later claimed to TMZ that his remarks were taken out of context. But even that defense was an insult, as anyone who has had the stomach to endure the interview on YouTube will attest. Today came word on willienelson.com that the Boxmasters were suspending their tour north of the border "due to one band member and several of the crew having the flu." Right. Billy Bob, you owe Ghomenshi, your bandmates, Willie Nelson and the nation of Canada one whopping apology. And Mr. Ghomenshi, you deserve a Nobel Peace prize for your grace and patience. In the face of some of the most obnoxious celebrity behavior ever caught on film—and that's saying a lot—you comported yourself as a true gentleman. P.S. Billy Bob, if you think your musicality is on the level of Tom Petty, you've got another thing coming.

Care about manners? Sign up for the What Manners Most newsletter (coming soon) at

whatmannersmost.com