Interviewer: You once walked out on the stage to 500 people and remarked, “The person here in the most pain is me.” Could you ever have said something like that and not laughed out loud?
Leonard Cohen: Well I can’t even remember saying it! It is a hilarious line, though. I think Steve Martin could have delivered that line better than me. If I ever said anything like that, I hope I was laughing.
From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).
DrHGuy Note: The incident referenced by the interviewer and forgotten by Cohen is described in Leonard Cohen: The Poet as Hero by Jack Batten (Saturday Night, June 1969):
Then there was the concert at York University a couple of years ago,* just before his first record came out. “What he did, he mesmerized the five hundred people in the hall,” Alice [Freeman] says. “He walked on to the stage and lit some incense and looked out in the audience and said very quietly, ‘The person here in the most pain is me.’ Then he went into a soft chant and got everybody in a nice trance. After that, he talked and read and sang for three hours and every single person worshiped him. It turned into a Leonard Cohen love-in night.”
*Leonard Cohen played York University (Toronto) Feb 16-19, 1967
View more animated gifs at Leonard Cohen Animations
Note: Originally posted Dec 28, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric