Matthew McConaughey is now setting the record straight about the one night he was arrested while playing the bongos naked in his own home. The incident happened back in 1999, and McConaughey revisited the story for his memoir, Greenlights, which just came out this week. The actor was arrested early in the morning on October 25th, 1999 during a disturbance at his Austin, Texas home in which “police said he was dancing naked and playing the bongo drums.”
In his memoir, Matthew McConaughey stated that before the naked bongo incident occurred, he had been up partying for 32 hours straight. “It was time to smoke a bowl and listen to the beautiful African melodic beats of Henri Dikongu&é play through my home speakers,” says the actor. It was time to relax and McConaughey knew exactly what to do. He explains.
“It was time to stand over my drum set and follow the rhythm of the blues before they got to Memphis, on my favorite Afro-Cuban drum. It was time for a jam session. What I didn’t know was that while I was banging away in my bliss, two Austin policemen also thought it was time to barge into my house unannounced, wrestle me to the ground with nightsticks, handcuff me and pin me to the floor.”
Matthew McConaughey was also doing his “relaxation” at 2:30 in the morning, which his neighbors did not appreciate. So the cops took the actor down and brought him outside, where he was still nude. After 32 hours of partying, McConaughey figured he knew what he had to do in order to fix the situation. You can read about his moment of clarity below.
“They escorted me out of my house through the courtyard entry on the way to the street. Still naked and reluctant to submit to the inevitability of my predicament, I got relative, and decided it would be a clever idea to run up the walls left and right of the gated passageway and do a somersault backflip over the Cornhusker cop who was guiding me from behind. My thinking was that in mid-flight, while upside down in the air, I would assume a pike position and then slide my cuffed wrists under my butt and up and over my legs, then stick the landing behind the Cornhusker, now with my fettered hands in front of me.”
Unfortunately, Matthew McConaughey’s naked acrobatics did not help his situation. He was booked into the Travis County Jail at 3am on suspicion of “possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting transportation.” The actor says, “My rationale at the time was that after pulling off such an extraordinary Houdini-like stunt, the officers would be so impressed that they would abrogate the arrest and set me free. I know, stupid, but remember, I’d been celebrating for 32 and a half hours straight.” It didn’t work out like that.
Matthew McConaughey did end up pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charges and was fined $50 for the whole thing. While the legalities of the evening were minor, the story sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry and McConaughey was known for the free-spirted nude bongo playing for years afterwards. And while the bongo story is pretty entertaining, it’s only the tip of the iceberg from the actor’s memoir, which is out now, via the official Greenlights website.