Does Samuel L. Jackson Look Like A . . . ?

If you’re going to interview Samuel L. Jackson, there are a few small things you should probably do. Treat him with respect. Ask him about his newest project. Oh, and the biggest one? DON’T MISTAKE HIM FOR LAURENCE FISHBURNE.

We could seriously watch Jackson yell at entertainment reporter Sam Rubin “We don’t all look alike!” all day, every day.

On today’s episode,  #TeamBlackness discusses what makes Tyra Banks cry, the sad story of getting jail time for trolling yourself, and how we’re inching toward Black Male Achievement.

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The Morning Crew discusses the 12.1 Black unemployment rate (33:30), the GOP senator that thinks providing access to health care will just make people lazy (39:30), and a chemical spill still causing trouble in West Virginia a month later (47:30).

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66 replies
  1. 1
    dedc79 says:

    There was a great episode of that show “Extras” where this happened

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    That’s even more embarrassing than you think, because Sam Rubin has been doing entertainment reporting in LA for, like, 15 or 20 years. And he still doesn’t know Samuel L. Jackson from Laurence Fishburne?

    ETA: I mean, sweet Jeebus, for one thing, Fishburne doesn’t wear glasses!

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: That is just… mindboggling.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    At least he didn’t confuse Samuel L. Jackson with Oprah. #smallfavors

  5. 5
    Baud says:


    He took the red pill.

  6. 6
    Cassidy says:

    Why is Danny Glover so pissed?

  7. 7
    aimai says:

    My husband has very bad facial recognition skills and he has passed it on to our daughter. Watching movies with the two of them is horrendous and funny at the same time–they can’t remember who is who from one scene to the next and they consistently mistake one actor for another making films much more surprising than the directors intended. “Why is he shooting him? Isn’t that his brother?” “No,” I explain patiently, that’s the murderer from the first scene. He looks nothing like the character’s brother.”

    I know this has happened to Samuel Jackson more than once because I heard him tell the story before but there are a lot of people who just have face blindness–among them Oliver Sacks who reports failing to recognize his own therapist who he has seen for decades.

  8. 8
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Wow, first time I’ve ever seen Denzel Washington lose it like that.

  9. 9
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @Mnemosyne: Idiot couldn’t recognize Morpheus from Mace Windu? What kind of a Hollywood reporter is he, FFS?

  10. 10

    Not to excuse the reporter at all, because it is his JOB to report on Hollywood, but I confuse actors all the time, black, white, Asian, whatever, the only actor I tend not to confuse is Keanu Reeves because I desire him on toast.

  11. 11
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    Roy Blunt would freaking know! He’s had access to some of the best healthcare in the country for about 17 years and that motherfucker may put in a little less than half a year of actual work each year.

  12. 12
    Howard Beale IV says:

    Speaking of cognitive dissonance, it’s the 40th anniversary of Blazing Saddles….

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    @aimai: True enough, but I would imagine your husband and daughter are not planning a career in show business reporting, where knowing which famous face you are talking to is in the top ten of job requirements.

  14. 14
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @aimai: I am very bad at mapping faces to names and vice versa in real life — but I am very good at recognizing how the guy from that commercial is also that guy in the other commercial and so forth. It’s much easier for me to do it on a screen than with actual flesh and blood people. Weird.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    Al Jolson really has a temper.

  16. 16

    @FlipYrWhig: I am great with putting names to faces, it is why I told my boss not to speak to any clients while I was on vacation he asked why “because you don’t know who they are” I told him. On rare occasions where I have not met a client prior to us representing them I am at a loss but as I said that is a rare occasion.

  17. 17
    shelly says:


    And if you’re interviewing Laurence Fishburne, for god’s sake, don’t call him Larry.

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    FWIW, Samuel L. Jackson is extraordinarily recognizable facially, due to a unique nose and brow shelf combination. Look and compare:

    Do these look like guys separated at birth?

    But there’s also that VOICE. Please, m****f***cker, do you really think Mr. Fishburne sounds like Mr. Jackson?

  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I love opera, but I could never tell the difference between Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle.

  20. 20
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Mnemosyne: When I first heard this, I thought what flyover state entertainment reporter screwed this up and then I heard it was Sam Rubin I was floored. Glad Laurence Denzel Danny Samuel L. Jackson took him to task for it. Kind of inexcusable.

  21. 21
    WaterGirl says:


    And if you’re interviewing Laurence Fishburne…

    That’s the “wake the fuck up!” guy, right? (it’s okay mr. jackson, i’m just kidding)

  22. 22
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Kathleen Battle is a true diva-especially if you talk to hotel concierges.

  23. 23
    Anna in PDX says:

    Wow, I am embarrassed to admit that I have done this, with black actors, more than once. (I have done it too with white actors and it seems to happen with female ones more tham males, for some reason).

    The worst example I can think of recently is where I was absolutely SURE that Samuel L Jackson was the black American character in the Brendan Gleeson vehicle “The Guard” and was quite embarrassed to find out at the video store that it was Don Cheadle. Yeah they look absolutely NOTHING alike at all, do they? God that was awful.

    I am not as good at faces as I’d like to be! Thank God that I don’t spout my ignorance and confusion of faces in any public fora.

  24. 24
    Hawes says:

    “What does Laurence Fishburne look like?”
    “What country you from?”
    “What? Wha?”
    “What ain’t no country I ever heard of. They speak English in What?”
    “English motherfucker, do you speak it?”
    “Yes, yes.”
    “Then you know what I’m saying.”
    “Describes what Laurence Fishburne looks like.”
    “Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again. I dare ya, I double dare ya, motherfucker, say ‘what’ one more goddamned time!”
    “He’s…he’s… black.”
    “Go on!”
    “He’s bald.”
    “Does he look like me?”
    “What? I…”

    (shoots interviewer)

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Howard Beale IV:

    So I’ve heard. (My comment was snark, BTW.) I never worked with Battle during my years in behind-the-scenes stuff, but I have known a married couple (both famous performers) who were the most appalling divas ever.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    I’m pretty good at facial recognition, but The Departed threw me for a loop. Because the first 20 scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg had them all in front of the same background, with the same shirt and tie and haircut, playing undercover and then talking about being undercover….

    If it weren’t for the varying Boston accents I would have been totally lost.

    This is a bad habit of some modern filmmakers, like every bit-part woman in the film is a twenty-something brunette with the same hairstyle. And such roles don’t get much in the way of closeups.

  27. 27
    Comrade Jake says:

    @Hawes: outstanding!

  28. 28
    Howard Beale IV says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s worse if you’re a hotel concierge-I had a personal trainer who doubled as a concierge, and he told me about Batelle’s rider. It’s as bad in the tech field when competing for talent:

    I’m sorry, but you don’t get to Prima Donna status until you develop a few more anti-social behaviors.

  29. 29
    Jinx says:

    Jeez, I know a lot of people think that interview was funny because the interviewer looked like an idiot and *definitely* should have known better due to his position/location, but it seriously made my heart hurt for Samuel L Jackson.
    He’s a celebrated actor who has achieved much deserved success and hopefully feels a modicum of happiness/acceptance/respect from his peers in this world as a result. Then this. It’s a gut punch.

  30. 30
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jinx: I hadn’t even watched the video until I read your comment just now. I’m sorry, but I have tears running down my cheeks from laughing. Wow, did Samuel Jackson handle that well!

    But yeah, on another level it really is sad. Heartbreaking. If this happens to Samuel Jackson, I mean, jeez, how famous does a person have to be not to look like all the other black guys?

  31. 31
    KG says:

    Y’all are forgetting one important point: Sam Rubin is a twit of the highest magnitude

  32. 32
    shecky says:

    I think this goes beyond the “youse all look alike to me” thing. I’ve heard this is a pretty common mistake, along with late Paul Winfield and Morgan Freeman being sometimes confused for each other, due to similarity in age and roles taken, which I think might factor in with Fishbourne and Jackson. Among white actors, I’ve heard Kurt Russel and Jeff Bridges sometimes mistaken for each other, or going back a few years, John Saxon and Don Gordon.

    It was fun to see Sam Rubin squirm like that, though.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    What the fuck is wrong with you guys? Don’t you know Will Smith when you see him?

  34. 34
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @shelly: Unless it’s the 80s.

  35. 35
  36. 36
    WereBear says:

    @shecky: I’m familiar with the fact that most people notice with about 10% of their bandwidth.

    There have been perception studies, like young adults approaching middle-aged or older people (or vice versa) asking directions or some easily answerable question. In the midst of the conversation someone would walk through with a big piece of plywood, and the initiator of the conversation would be swapped with someone else.

    And something like 60% of the subjects would not notice. The greater the age difference, the less they could tell. Even if the gender switched.

    But really, John Saxon and Don Gordon? Maybe a straight guy can’t tell the difference, but one of them is distinctly handsome and the other is not-really.

  37. 37
    PurpleGirl says:

    Wasn’t it written down anywhere who Rubin would be interviewing? Weren’t there notes for him to review and base his questions on?

    I don’t blame Samuel L. for being mad. I think he handled it quite well. But, sheesh.

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Sorry, but those wake the fuck up ads about the election were much more fun!

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    “There must be a very short line for your job.”

    Samuel L., FTFY.

  40. 40
    Roger Moore says:

    The two I tend to have a hard time with are Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly. Supposedly their own mothers couldn’t tell them apart when they were in full Amidala makeup.

  41. 41
    Walker says:

    For years I would confuse Kevin Costner with Mark Harmon.

  42. 42
    PurpleGirl says:

    @WereBear: I don’t know who Don Gordon is and I had crush on John Saxon for years.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Bills Paxton and Pullman

  44. 44
    Lyrebird says:

    @Baud: Ohhh yeaah…

    & Thank you Elon James for making sure we saw that! I could easily spend all day watch Samuel Jackson talk about anything, anyhow, but JEE PERZ!

    Laurence Fishburne was fantastic as Dap in School Daze… the beginning of his “wake up” calls to others…

    ETA: Face blindness is very real and very difficult, yes, and I am a champion foot-in-mouth Miss Malaprop myself, but I do not have a teleprompter, a staff preparing notes for me, or any of the other resources this reporter has. So he’s earned his grilling, imnsho

  45. 45
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:



  46. 46
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Walker: 41: are you joking? Because I have done that for real.

  47. 47
    WereBear says:

    @PurpleGirl: I don’t know who Don Gordon is and I had crush on John Saxon for years.

    Yup. No comparison.

    And we are watching old Hawaii Five-O episodes on Netflix and Mr WereBear recognized the adult Johnny Crawford, who was a child star on The Rifleman.

    He’s goooooooood at this. Perhaps he should be the Entertainment Reporter!

  48. 48
    Emma says:

    I have the reverse — know the face, forget the name. But in this case, honestly, if you have a TV show interviewing celebrities, don’t you, I know know, have a fking SCHEDULE in front of you so you don’t screw up? Don’t you prep questions in advance?

  49. 49
    Lyrebird says:

    @Emma: Does anyone else wonder if maybe this _was_ prepped in advance? I mean, until today I’d never heard of this Rubin guy or his show….

    ETA: note that if you’re thinking “is this person that clueless or is this person a concern troll?” please vote for “clueless”

  50. 50
    Mnemosyne says:


    But in this case, honestly, if you have a TV show interviewing celebrities, don’t you, I know know, have a fking SCHEDULE in front of you so you don’t screw up?

    Yep, this. It’s one thing to be one of us ordinary schmoes who gets actors mixed up. But doesn’t Rubin have a staff? A teleprompter? A piece of paper to tell him who he’s talking to?

    Personally, I had a run of thinking every middle-aged white British actor was Brian Cox. Now every time I don’t recognize an actor, G says, “Maybe it’s Brian Cox.”

    It’s funniest when it turns out to actually be Brian Cox and neither of us recognized him.

  51. 51
    Anna in PDX says:

    I also wanted to say that this happened to me when I was stationed in Nigeria, a Nigerian coworker mixed me up with another white American woman and I still remember how weird it felt when he said, yeah you all look alike to me.

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:


    As I said above, Rubin’s been on local TV in Los Angeles for 20+ years and the clip is from a local news broadcast. Maybe he just had one hell of a brain fart, but jaysus. I guess now we know why he’s still on local TV. I don’t think KTLA even rates as a WB or UPN station.

  53. 53
    MattR says:

    FWIW, Sam Jackson does appear a couple times in a Super Bowl commercial this year.

  54. 54
    TS says:

    Still plenty of people here giving the white guy the benefit of the doubt – he sure doesn’t miss identify any of the white folks.

  55. 55
    Mandalay says:

    Pretty good, but I like this one even better. A news anchor congratulates Mo Farah for winning a half marathon in record time in New Orleans, and asks him: “Haven’t you run before? This isn’t your first time?”.

    Farah barely skips a beat, and politely doesn’t mention that he had won Olympic gold medals at 5,000m and 10,000m six months earlier. The interview ends, and the anchor remained clueless about who she had just interviewed.

    ETA: TBF, the interviewer’s failing here is pure ignorance, which somehow makes the error less egregious.

  56. 56
    Lyrebird says:

    @Mnemosyne: Tnx. People do odd things for publicity sometimes. Hard to believe this could have been staged — not bc I doubt Samuel L Jackson’s ability to act surprised or whatever, but bc the local reporter dude seems extremely sincere in wanting to turn back time and make his gaffe go away. Sounded like a bunch of “sorry sorry okay see I apologized could we pretend that never happened like right now?” to me.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    Subconscious racism on Rubin’s part? Sure. I doubt Rubin did it on purpose to embarrass Jackson — if nothing else, that studio and/or PR firm is going to punish Rubin for this.

    But those of us who have seen Rubin in action before know that he’s just the kind of overconfident fucking idiot who would do something like this.

  58. 58
    Annamal says:

    I’ll admit that hollywood actors tend to blur into one amorphus mass for me (voice actors on the other hand I can usually distinguish in a heartbeat Keith David being the example that springs to mind).

    However my entire job is not centred around these people. Dude had one job and just screwed it up royally.

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    I’m very good at recognizing faces that I know or actors that I’ve seen a lot. Putting a name with the face? Not so much. But then I do everything graphically and have to put names, places, dates together with them and that doesn’t always work. If I’m trying to think who is this person I will frequently draw a blank. Once I quit trying to connect a face and name it will generally pop in my head in less than a minute. On the other hand I’m not doing interviews with people and should know the persons name when they are sitting across from me even if I can’t recall their name. I mean didn’t he know he was interviewing Jackson? He does no prep whatsoever?

  60. 60
    MattR says:

    @WereBear: The TV show Perception did an episode based around that concept. Coincidentally, that episode is being repeated on TNT tonight at 11 pm eastern.

  61. 61
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @shecky: I used to get Nick Nolte mixed up with Jeff Bridges. But Nolte looks way more decrepit these days. And this Cracked page has Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze as an easily confusable pair, and Nick Nolte and Gary Busey.

    So we have the chain of Busey – Nolte – Bridges – Russell – Swayze, though nobody would confuse Patrick Swayze with Gary Busey.

  62. 62
    jayjaybear says:

    “I have had it with these motherfucking Agents in this motherfucking Matrix!”

  63. 63
    taras says:

    I only read the comments here occasionally,, but is there some sort of competition between here and mcmeg’s commenters? ,
    Wouldn’t there like be a director or producer on the show, or someone there that mentions to the talking head what the next segment is about and just might happen to also mention the interviewees name or something?
    please tell me I’m missing the shark. Totally possible as I’m usually clueless about those things.
    the only thing sadder is that Sam has never won an Oscar, in fact I remember a few years back at the exact same time the Oscars were airing, 3 other national networks were airing one of sam’s movie.

  64. 64
    Fred says:

    Recall Sam Jackson on SNL declaring that he is not Morgan Freeman. Was it hot off wining an Oscar? Anyway he seemed to feel really triumphant. With all the films he is in he must be the hardest working guy in Hollywood.

  65. 65
    SFAW says:


    Because the first 20 scenes with Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, and Mark Wahlberg had them all in front of the same background

    Wait, they’re black, too?

    @Roger Moore:

    The two I tend to have a hard time with are Natalie Portman and Keira Knightly.

    I don’t think I’d have a hard time with either of them. Next time the opportunity presents itself, I’ll let you know if I was right.

  66. 66
    SFAW says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    Was listening to NPR some months ago, Oliver Sacks was being interviewed, apparently he suffers from prosopagnosia, a/k/a “face blindness.”

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