Joaquin Phoenix Returns to ‘Letterman’ (VIDEO)

What a difference a year makes for Joaquin Phoenix and David Letterman.

A clean-shaven, well-spoken Phoenix returned to the Late Show last night for the first time since his very bearded, very bizarre February 2009 appearance, apologizing if he offended Letterman in any way.

The Late Show host said participating in the comic gold was actually a pleasure.

“I was not offended,” Letterman said. “It was so much fun. It was batting practice.”

Check out Joaquin and Dave 2.0 below c/o AOL Television:

Phoenix’s return came with the release of the mockumentary I’m Still Here, his attempt with brother-in-law Casey Affleck to punk the public into thinking he’d quit acting to pursue a rap career.

Now that the jig is up, Phoenix also shot down the recent report from a Letterman writer that the Late Show host was in on the Joaquin joke.

When Dave asked, “Did I know anything about this?”  Joaquin quickly answered: “No.” Both denied they were following a script of any kind.

Whether or not Dave was part of the prank, there’s some great chemistry between him and Joaquin. Perhaps he should consider taking him on as a sidekick!

Do you like Joaquin now that he’s back to “normal?” Let us know in the comments.