Willie Nelson Celebrates 80th Birthday With Hobbit Audition

The (stoned) country icon gets his Gandalf on while hitting Conan O’Brien.

The (stoned) country icon gets his Gandalf on while hitting Conan O’Brien.

When Willie Nelson went on Conan O’Brien last night and showed off his audition for the role of Gandalf in The Hobbit 2, it just made sense. Really, think of how much the Red-Headed Stranger and Gandalf the Grey have in common. Sure, there’s the long-flowing locks and the unkempt beard. They both belonged to a sometimes-disreputable but undoubtedly badass group of legends, Willie with his fellow Highwaymen Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson; Gandalf with fellow Maiar wizards Saruman, Radagast, Alatar, and Pallando. They both spent ages traveling the world, entertaining the common folk. Gandalf had his trusty steed Shadowfax; Willie had his trusty guitar, Trigger. Gandalf battled the Balrog; Willie the even-more-terrifying IRS. And finally, they both have a taste for pipe weed, though Willie seems to prefer it in joint form. So, does the 80-year-old Nelson (happy birthday buddy!) have what it takes to raise Gandalf’s staff?

We’re pretty sure that Sir Ian McKellen has the role on lockdown, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.

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