If you had the great pleasure of watching the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines defeat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in college football Saturday night on ESPN, at halftime you may have seen an interview with Eminem. If so, everybody in the room probably called out at roughly the same time, “Wait a minute, is he totally high right now?!” And then somebody probably hit rewind on the DVR so you could try to figure out what exactly you were seeing. It was a doozy.
Left out of some online videos from the interview — though at the start of the clip above and embedded as a GIF below (via Erik Malinowski) — is the moment a wild-eyed Slim Shady rocked back and forth as if about to lose it. We’re not here to speculate about Em’s sobriety, though we hope the rapper’s well-documented struggles with substance abuse are behind him. But if you watch the rest of the interview, yes, it’s awkward, but lucidly so — and those four seconds of Eminem behaving strangely guaranteed we’d still be talking about his Saturday appearance into the work week.
Sure, it was unusual that the Detroit rapper, when asked what’s most exciting about November 5’s MMLP2 (one of SPIN’s 50 Fall Albums That You Gotta Hear), deadpanned, “Uh, nothing.” And it was abormal, too, that he said, “Live TV freaks me out,” right after appearing to freak out on live TV. But in the first case, he was clearly just making an awkward joke about the record. And in the second, by all evidence he was speaking truthfully.
Still, when he went on to name interviewer Brent Musburger as a broadcasting legend alongside fellow football microphone vets Pat Summerall, Al Michaels, and John Madden, he was offering an informed opinion (he left out the legendary Keith Jackson). He knew what he was doing.
And what he was doing was promoting a new single, the back-to-basics “Berzerk.” A preview for the music video also aired, showing Rick Rubin and Kendrick Lamar, among others, alongside a casually clothed Eminem.
The song itself will appear weekly on ABC’s Saturday Night Football, so fans of college football had better get used to it. Eminem’s unconventional interview last week guarantees they’ve heard of it, and in the post-Miley, post-“The Fox” era, that’s a victory in itself.