Billy Joel ‘wasn’t surprised’ CBS abruptly moved out his special: ‘I’ve always kind of been cut short by TV’

Billy Joel may be a big shot everywhere — but, he says, not when it comes to TV.

That’s what the 75-year-old Long Island legend claims in the wake of his CBS special “Billy Joel: The 100th — Live at Madison Square Garden,” being unceremoniously cut off right in the middle of “Piano Man” when it originally aired in April.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Joel told Variety about the snafu snip that sent legions of Joel fans into a TV-izzy . “I wasn’t surprised that it got cut off short because I’ve always kind of been cut short by TV.”

“I’m never crazy about doing TV. I don’t think I’m telegenic anyway,” said Billy Joel. Michele Crowe/CBS
Joel’s fans were enraged after CBS cut his live show short in April. Michele Crowe/CBS

But for the “Uptown Girl” crooner, it just further proved why he has never had big love for the small screen.

“I’m never crazy about doing TV. I don’t think I’m telegenic anyway,” he said. “I think I’m one of those artists who should be heard and not necessarily seen.” 

And despite classic clips such as “Uptown Girl” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” that’s one of the reasons why Joel has never been a big fan of doing music videos.

“I don’t like being on camera. I’m camera-shy,” he said. “I always feel like a geek when I’m on TV because I’m static at the piano, I can’t move around. I can’t use body language. I’m stuck at the piano.

“It just doesn’t feel rock ’n’ roll when you’re on camera,” said Joel of performing on TV. “You’re just locked into place.” James Devaney/CBS

“And it just doesn’t feel rock ’n’ roll when you’re on camera. You’re just locked into place.” 

Plus, for someone who prides himself on playing his music all the way live, Joel has trouble faking the funk when it isn’t 100 percent real.

“There’s a lot of fake stuff TV gets away with [thanks to editing],” he said.

“There’s a lot of fake stuff TV gets away with,” said Billy Joel, who will end his 10-year residency at MSG on July 25. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

“On TV, you can fake a lot of stuff and even the [‘Turn the Lights Back On’] video that I made was AI, so that was fake too.”

Joel is gearing up for the final show in his 10-year monthly residency at the big daddy of all arenas — NYC’s Madison Square Garden — on July 25.

“I haven’t been able to play any other place in the New York area for 10 years because that was part of the deal,” he said. “There was an exclusivity clause that prevented us from playing stadiums or other venues in New York City, but now we’ll be able to do that. So, we’ll see how that goes.”

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