04/22/2009 AT 4:20 PM ET
Jimmy Kimmel did the same thing a Canadian radio host did – dared to call Billy Bob Thornton a movie actor – only this time the reaction was much less caustic.
During an interview earlier this month involving Thornton’s band, The Boxmasters, Thornton mumbled answers to host Jian Ghomeshi and insulted Canadian audiences, comparing them to “mashed potatoes without gravy.” The band got boos and catcalls when it appeared in Toronto as the opening act for Willie Nelson.
During Tuesday’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host asked: “Billy, is it OK I mention that you’re an actor? I don’t want to get off on the wrong foot here.”
Thornton explained he got rankled in Canada because the interviewer, Jian Ghomeshi, wasn’t supposed to discuss Thornton’s acting. “If they look you in the eye and say, ‘We promise,’ then that’s the deal,” he said. “If I tell some guy who lied to me, in my face, to not say something, it doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Ghomeshi explained that he was never told not to mention the acting, only not to ask questions about it.
“The fact that that was news was astounding to me,” Thornton told Kimmel. “But it gave humpbacked geeks all over the world something to do for a couple of days.”
The Sling Blade star, 53, who was divorced from Angelina Jolie in 2002, explained to Kimmel that he’s a lifelong music historian and fan of “cosmic cowboy music,” and he only wanted to be perceived as a musician while with The Boxmasters.
“I’m just in their band, I’m just one of those guys,” Thornton said.