Honey Badger from the "Honey Badger Don't Care" viral… (Andrews McMeel Publishing )
Madonna. Fabio. Beyonce. Banksy. And now ... Randall?
The one-name-only narrator of the 'Honey Badger Don't Care" video first launched his creation early last year. The video of wildlife documentary footage of 'the most fearless animal in all of the animal kingdom" dubbed over with hilariously R-rated commentary drew more than 33 million YouTube views and became one of 2011’s most popular Web videos.
Randall has now leveraged that success into several spinoff projects, including a doll, a reality TV show being shopped around, two iPhone and Android apps and a gossipy yet informative adult animal picture book titled "Honey Badger Don't Care: Randall's Guide to Crazy, Nastyass Animals," which came out Tuesday.
So what’s it like to be Randall, who prefers to remain anonymous? RedEye called the L.A. resident—a native New Yorker whose father was a cameraman for the "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" TV show—to find out.
Watch the original video and learn more about the book and other spinoffs here.
How does Honey Badger feel about becoming a star?
I think the honey badger feels pretty good because now more people are aware of the fact that they’re not endangered but they’re on the brink of near-threatened as a species just because a lot of beekeepers are starting to kill them. So the more press and attention that they get, the better it is for them in terms of preserving their species.
But I think that the thing is really going to the honey badger’s head, to be quite honest with you. [Laughs.] If you thought it didn’t care much then, it really doesn’t care much now. And now it has more reason—it's like, "Oh, this is what people want me to do—not care? No problem!" [Laughs.]
As a kid, did you watch "Wild Kingdom" at home and narrate it?
Papa would come home and just have that footage. It was such a thrill. Of course, all the footage he would show us would be silent so it was marvelous. He would set up the projector and I would just go to town. I was so little; sometimes I didn’t even know what the hell I was looking at so I would just describe what was going on.
And I did watch "Wild Kingdom." I loved it! I rarely had anything to do with those people or [host] Marlin [Perkins]. But I had a little crush on [later host] Jim [Fowler]; I'll be the first to admit it.
Which animal from the book will star in your next video?
The first one that I would have my eyes on is probably the opossum, just to get over my fear of them. They really scare the crap out of me—it freaks me out that they hiss. I think they're nasty and I think it’s time people know the truth about opossums. As you can imagine, I get a lot of requests to "do this animal, do this animal." I think the opossum would be fun and also the Tasmanian devil because they're kind of as crazy and nasty as the honey badger, just in terms of what they eat and how they operate.
Which has the most interesting dating and mating habits?
The tarsier, because aside from being just crazy—I mean, you can look in their face and it's just like, what the hell is that?—what's really funny is, when they hook up, it only takes about a minute or so and then they're done. And what’s interesting to me is that they’re a species that’s endangered yet they're born without siblings.
The dating process is very quick, the sex is quick, the amount of time that the little tarsier is preggers is very quick and then it’s just like, one little baby and then that’s it. And what can you do on a date with a tarsier? What are you going to do, crawl up a tree?
You're pitching a TV show called "Honey Badger U" where you're featured as a life sciences professor. Is this a combination of animation and videos?
Yes, it would be like an animated me in a classroom and then we cut to the live footage and the narrations. But then it branches off and does a whole bunch of other things.
To be honest with you, I tried last year another approach, a straight-up animal wildlife show. But it was really weird. The whole reason why I don’t give my last name ever or the reason why no one ever sees me is just ’cause I’m very shy and I feel it takes away from the whole point of what I’m trying to do here.
So last year, when we were pitching the concept of a show, it was always just narration or you would see bits of my body but you would never actually see me. I don’t think networks could really wrap their head around a half-hour show where you don’t see the host.
So I believe we found a good way to do what I wanted to do in a really funny environment.
There's a photo in the book of Honey Badger in curlers. Is she getting her hurr did for the pilot?
I sure hope so! Honey Badger had better go get her nails and hair did! And I guarantee that photographer was dead after taking that photo.
RANDALL ON CHICAGO PIGEONS
RedEye asked Randall to apply the humor of his Honey Badger schtick to Chicago's pigeon population. So picture a bunch of pigeons on the street in front of you, and hear his voice.
"You think Chicago pigeons care about fine culture and architecture? Give me a break; they’re just going to fly wherever the hell they want! Those Chicago pigeons have to deal with the cold and the freezing. Oh my goodness, they are just absolutely terrible—they’ll poop on whoever they want! Chicago pigeons don’t care. You can tell them, 'Shoo! Shoo!' and they stick you up. I mean, what kind of pigeons are these?
"Now mind you, Julia, I have not much knowledge of the Chicago pigeon but I can only assume [laughs] they're very crazy and they probably take a poop wherever they want. Bombs away!"