By Jami Smith
Originally published on Advocate.com January 13 2012 2:10 AM ET
With more than 32 million views on YouTube in just one year, “The Crazy
Nastyass Honey Badger” has proven Internet buzz as a powerful way to launch a
career. It sure has for the video’s narrator, Randall, whose new book based on
the popular meme, Honey Badger Don't Care: Randall’s Guide to Crazy,
Nastyass Animals, comes out on January 24.
Randall talks to The Advocate about his sudden rise to Web fame and how
it has helped save some crazy ass animals from the brink of extinction.
The Advocate: Not long ago, most people couldn’t
pick a honey badger out of an animal lineup. Has all of that sudden fame gone
to his head?
Randall: Jesus, I'd
like to think not, but at the same time, I can't help but imagine honey badger
would be excited by the fact more people are aware of its crazy characteristics
and that its very species is threatened.
They face a lot of opposition from humans, you know —mainly beekeepers,
who just fucking try to kill them because they steal their honey. So, to me, if someone knows about the
honey badger, does a little research, and winds up donating money to help end
the senseless killings of honey badgers, it's not a bad thing if he gets a swollen
head. It sure makes me
proud. I mean, I'm definitely
proud so many people know about the honey badger now. But is it walking around
the Kalahari with an ego nowadays?
No. I'm telling you, honey badger don't care! They can give it a star on the fucking Hollywood Walk of
Fame. It still won't give a shit.
In just over a year, you and the
honey badger have your own book and game app for iPhone and Android users. What
has the transition been like if you had to compare last year to this one?
Fast and furious. The honey badger is more than a crazy,
nasty-ass animal. It's a way of life.
It's a mentality which seems easy to adopt these days, in this crazy
world we're living in. I mean,
consider the last year. Bin Laden
was found and killed, Gaddafi — we all saw what happened to him! — and then Kim
Jong-Il all died. Revolution was in the air and it still is. There are so many people in America
right now that are fed up. Along
comes the honey badger and it's like, yes, that's the animal I most identify
with right now.
Do people recognize your voice on
Yeah, sometimes, if
I'm talking out loud — which is often — I get looks and see people nudge others
and smile. So crazy! When I order
food at the bar, I usually get, “Hey! You're the honey badger!” To which I politely ask, “Oh, what do
you mean?” And then I wink at them.
Your father worked on a wildlife
show. Did you know at a young age that you were destined to (sort of) follow in
You know, I did. I really did. At an early age, I was always narrating things. Papa would
bring home footage — he was a cameraman — and he'd share what he shot with us,
so I'd sit there and go to town, doing my best Marlin Perkins. I was always hopeful my papa would tell
the network, “Boy, you should hear my son!” But the notion of having a 6-year-old narrating Wild
Kingdom is rather
marbles I suppose. Soon, it became a “thing” for me to sit and narrate Papa's
footage in front of family and friends.
So, I knew eventually I would narrate wildlife. Also, I just love animals.
Your new book, Honey Badger Don’t
Care: Randall’s Guide To Crazy, Nastyass Animals, features a lot of lesser-known
characters in the animal kingdom. You’ve become a voice for animals on the
brink of extinction. Can you tell us a little bit about how the book came together?
The book is something
I've always wanted to do and with the success of the honey badger and other
videos, it just seemed the right time to try and get it published. There are so
many animals out there, and species, most folks know very little about. And what's unfortunate is a lot of them
are, indeed, on the brink of extinction. I mean, imagine just finding out about
an animal and then, next thing you know — say, five years later — boom, they're
gone. So sad. My goal is to expose
these wonderful creatures to the world to see if we can't do something about
Which animal in the book would make
a good sequel on YouTube?
That's a tough one.
Well, I usually just let my assistant, Christopher Gordon, pick them for me and
then I go to town. I think a Tasmanian devil video would be pretty badass, to
say the least. I mean, have you ever seen one? They're extremely crazy and gassy. Not only that, but,
hello? They're also marsupials? Fucking crazy.
Who is more crazy? The nasty ass
honey badger or the bad ass New Yorker? (Watch
video of the homage to honey badger.)
First of all, I love
this video and was extremely flattered when I first saw it. I wish we had done
that. Being a native New Yorker and all, I would have loved that. That being
said, we all know New York City has changed tremendously. That tiny island isn’t as crazy as it
used to be. So, I'd have to say
the nastyass honey badger gets the big “C” for Crazy. Had you asked me this in
1977, I would probably have a different response.
What’s next for Randall?
I'm getting ready to
go on the road and promote the book and am pleased to announce that I have very
recently teamed up with Six Eleven Media and comedian Harland Williams in developing
“Honey Badger U,” which is an original, mixed animation, live action comedy
series. And, of course, more videos. In the new year, we're going to be more
consistent in terms of presenting new videos. I'm excited, although, I'd be
lying if I said I enjoyed all of the footage.
Sweet Lord, please have mercy! Whomever coined the phrase, “damn nature,
you scary,” wasn't kidding.
Check out the book tour schedule at www.randallsanimals.com. Pre-order
the book, Honey Badger Don't Care: Randall’s Guide to Crazy,
Nastyass Animals, on Amazon.