Watch this recently unearthed footage of Elliott Smith playing "Clementine" on a morning show from 1995, flanked by a weird puppet and a snarky Tom Bergeron

This story is amazing! A Reddit user recently stumbled upon some footage from July 28, 1995 (one week after his sophomore album was released) of Elliott Smith performing on a morning show called Breakfast Time, which aired live on FX/fX daily from 1994 to 1996. He tells the story in this Reddit post. After spotting Smith on the show, he combed through the full 23-minute episode and created a shorter video with just the Elliott Smith parts. The appearance is bizarre—mostly because the host of the show, Tom Bergeron (who would go on to host America's Funniest Home Videos and Dancing with the Stars), interacts with Smith in a really cringey way, and Smith responds by looking down, quietly answering questions, and generally just seeming to not want to be there. It's also super weird because when Smith plays a beautiful rendition of "Clementine," a strange looking puppet called "Bob" is just kind of hanging out behind him, bopping his head along with the music. STEREOGUM, which calls the clip "the most awkward and fascinating video that you'll find online today," provides a great description of the pre-performance banter between Bergeron and Smith:

Tom Bergeron's conversation with Elliott Smith is a true time capsule of how it used to look when people from the underground rock world had to interact with people outside of their bubble. It was rough. Smith, quiet and downcast, mutters all his answers sheepishly. Tom Bergeron, meanwhile, brings the sort of glibness that would make him a broadcast-TV staple. Bergeron notes that Smith's album is out on a label called Kill Rock Stars, and he adds, "Feeling a little hostile, are we?" Smith: "It's not my label." Later on, when asked to describe his music, Smith says, "It's not really folk, but it's sort of like… that."

Everyone is having such a bad time! Tom Bergeron notes a couple of times that Elliott Smith is not a morning person, but there is no time of day when Elliott Smith would've been warm and chatty with Tom Bergeron. These days, we're all media-trained to some extent; it's a function of being alive in an internet age. This was not the case in 1995. In the interview, Smith and Bergeron are both clearly suffering. 

However, once Smith begins playing, the entire mood of the room changes, and the hosts who had been subtly making fun of him all seem to realize that maybe they've gotten it all wrong. Again, STEREOGUM: "Then Smith plays a quiet, hypnotic version of "Clementine" while this janky puppet nods along behind him. It's a truly surreal sight."