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An animated Willie Nelson talks about the time his lung collapsed

Considering his outsized public persona, it is no surprise that outlaw country legend Willie Nelson has ventured into the world of animation a few times. The Simpsons memorably gave him Pippi Longstocking-type braids in its “Behind The Laughter” episode. Over on Cartoon Network, Nelson amiably chatted with a costumed, interstellar crime fighter on Space Ghost Coast To Coast. And Aqua Teen Hunger Force had its own, very different “Willie Nelson” character as a villain. But now, thanks to the efforts of Collection Agency Films, Willie Nelson’s own true-life adventures are being animated, one anecdote at a time. “My company took some audio of Willie Nelson telling stories (while getting the recording crew high) and we animated it,” Dano Johnson tells The A.V. Club. “Willie posted it today and with the positive feedback, we’ll be making more soon.”

For now, the inaugural episode of “A Willie Nelson Joint” deals with the subject of Mr. Nelson’s much-abused lungs, which collapsed a few years ago when he was swimming off the coast of Maui. The genial singer-songwriter managed to drag himself back to shore, where he was rushed to a hospital, where he found out that the process of re-inflating a human lung is no kind of fun. While recuperating, Willie got the idea to hack off his famous braids, Samson style, with a pair of scissors. However ill-advised this impromptu makeover was, it did provide Nelson with the opportunity to play a little practical joke on his manager at the time. He seems to have more than made peace with the unpleasant incident now: It’s just another thing to talk about while getting high.


A Willie Nelson Joint (episode one) from Andrew Shapter on Vimeo.

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