The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor

#28. I've been Bamboozled!
All-Stars - Episode 5

In my opinion, the whole concept of "Survivor: All-Stars" ended up being a massive pooch-screw all around. None of the players had any fun, lives and Survivor reputations were ruined, the weaker players all ganged up to take out the strong, and it was just a massive debacle from start to finish. Honestly, I just wish the whole thing hadn't happened.

Oh, and it was also the only TV show I have ever watched in my life that culminated in a fricking marriage proposal. All my life I have tried to avoid shows like that, yet I finally got nailed by the one show where I thought it could never happen. I have never seen the Bachelor. I have never seen the Bachelorette. I have never seen My Fair Brady. I have never seen any of that crap where people hook up and fall in love. Yet my streak abruptly ended during Survivor: All-Stars, when I had to sit through my very first televised marriage proposal during the freaking reunion show. So anyway, thank you Survivor: All-Stars. Thank you so much for that. Love you too. If I wanted to watch people get married on TV, I would be a chick.

Oops, back to the topic...

So anyway, nobody had any fun on All-Stars. All the players basically seemed to be miserable from start to finish. Well... everybody, that is, except for one man. There was one person who seemed to have a blast during All-Stars. And he happens to be the one guy you probably wouldn't have expected it from:

Richard Hatch. Savior of All-Stars.

Currently, Richard Hatch is in prison for not paying his taxes. He is also reportedly one of the most self-centered human beings on the face of the earth. Nobody has ever had a good word to say about the guy (whether during Borneo or All-Stars) and by all means he comes off like a genuinely creepy human being to be around. But do you know what? I don't care. All I care about is that Richard almost single-handedly made All-Stars fun to watch.

And why was he so much more fun than the other contestants?

Easy. He was the only player in the entire game who didn't give a rat's ass if he won or if he lost.

Whatever. I'm getting paid either way, so who cares?

Think about it. Nearly every other player in All-Stars was there to prove something to themselves and to the audience. Players like Rob Cesternino, Rob Mariano, Lex van den Berghe, Rupert Boneham, Jenna Lewis... these people were there to show the world that they were Survivor masterminds. They all had agendas, they all came in with knives drawn, and they probably didn't have a moment's fun the entire time they were in the game. It was business, business, business for most of the players, and that's what made the season so cutthroat and personal almost from the start. Peoples' entire self-images were dependent on how well they did in the All-Star season, and it's the reason I think the season was a failure as a whole. Success in All-Stars was just too important for people to stop and relax and actually have any fun along the way.

I just don't feel like strategizing today. Let's grind.

But here comes Richard Hatch, the undisputed King of Survivor. And you'd think he would have the most to prove, right? I mean, on paper, Richard easily has the most to lose out of anybody. Because if he puts in a bad showing in All-Stars, it will sully his reputation worse than anybody's. And Richard has to know this. He has to know that the downside of All-Stars far outweighs any possible upside. And that's the reason why I'm stunned he ever even showed up at all. Richard Hatch literally had nothing to gain by ever showing up in Panama. The only thing that ever could happen was that he would wind up being embarrassed.

Richard knows this. He knows he is going to get his tail kicked. Yet Richard agrees to play anyway. He shows up just because he loves the game of Survivor. And I thought at the time, how cool is that? Richard is there just because he loves the idea of playing Survivor for one more day in his life.

And because they paid me!  Wooo paycheck!

So Richard Hatch shows up in Survivor: All-Stars, and that means that every little piss ant now gets to take a free shot at him. He is fair game, there is no possible way he can ever win, and this doesn't even seem to bother him in the slightest! And that's what I have always loved about Richard Hatch. Richard has the most to lose out of everyone, he has no business even showing his face against half of these supposed "All-Stars", but this doesn't even seem to bother him. Richard is the only player there who just doesn't seem to care!

I don't even have to do any work! It's great!

Richard spends his first few days on Mogo Mogo doing nothing. And I mean it, the man absolutely does nothing. He doesn't try to scheme. He doesn't help around camp. He barely even goes out to catch fish. And I have to think it must have driven the other players absolutely insane. Because here you have the best player in the history of Survivor, a man who is an absolute Survivor god, and he's not even the slightest bit interested in playing this game.

Richard just lays there.

And he walks around naked.

And he makes small talk.

And that's really about it.

Richard hard at work building a shelter

I can just imagine what Richard's interviews must have been like those first few days of the game. I can easily picture the producers trying to goad him into strategic discussions, while Rich just sits there with a smile on his face and a big shrug. I mean, he knew he was going soon, so why bother wasting the energy? Rich was basically getting a free vacation on CBS' dime, so what did he care what the other players were trying to do? I imagine the first few interviews must have gone something like this:

PRODUCER: So what do you think of your new tribe?
RICH: Fuck it. Who cares?
PRODUCER: Were you happy when Lex took the new leadership position? Or did it make you jealous?
RICH: You know what's really nice about this beach? It's really shady. I can get a nice nap down here by the shore any time after lunch.
PRODUCER: But what about Lex? Do you worry he might be trying to scheme?
RICH: Who is Lex again? Is he the gorgeous guy with the cowboy hat?
PRODUCER: No, he's the one with the tattoos. The one from Africa.
RICH: Ah, I didn't watch Africa. Was he any good?
PRODUCER: Richard, are you the slightest bit worried that you will be in danger at the first vote?
RICH: Yep.
PRODUCER: Are you doing anything about it?
RICH: Yep.
RICH: Don't worry. I'm on it.
PRODUCER: Do you intend to form an alliance?
RICH: Sure.
PRODUCER: With who?
RICH: I don't know. Whoever. Maybe Lex.
RICH: Wait, is Rudy on my tribe this time? Maybe I'll form an alliance with him.
PRODUCER: No, Rudy is on Saboga.
RICH: Damn. Well then I don't know. Maybe Lex.
RICH: Because you said he was a good player. Maybe I'll go talk to him one of these days.
PRODUCER: Why not now?
RICH: Because I'm busy.
PRODUCER: Busy doing what?
RICH: Sitting here watching the ocean.

It was just too funny to see how little Richard cared at the start of All-Stars. He knew he was dead meat. He knew he didn't have a chance. And he happened to think it was funny as hell. And I'll always thank him for being the one voice of reason in Survivor: All-Stars. He was the only one who didn't think this was life or death. He knew that All-Stars was a silly concept to begin with.

There are a lot of great Richard moments from the first five episodes of All-Stars (including a great one with a shark that we will be talking about later). But the moment that everyone remembers... the definitive Richard Hatch, All-Star, non Sue-grinding, moment... is the one that ranks #28 on the Funny 115.

It happens at the end of episode five, when Rich is bamboozled by the Mogo Mogos at Tribal Council.

Episode five is the first time that Mogo Mogo will be attending Tribal Council. Rich has managed to escape the noose for four episodes, but in episode five his luck has finally run out. Rich is destined to be voted out, there's nothing in the world that will ever be able to save him, yet he's bound and determined to at least put up some sort of a fight.

Rich may not have cared up to this point, he may have phoned in the first twelve days of the game, but when faced with his own eviction he finally decides to snap into action. Rich decides he is finally going to show these kids how to play.

But what Rich doesn't know is that the rest of the Mogos have a plan too. They have decided they are going to blindside him tonight, just because they want to see the look on his face when it happens. Kathy... Lex... Colby... Shii Ann... they are all dying to be there when the King of Survivor is blindsided on national TV. Because they know this will be a Survivor moment to go down in history. This is something they are never ever ever going to forget.

Kathy does her ferret impression

So when Rich walks around camp all day, trying to turn the vote against Colby, the women of Mogo Mogo just nod their heads and dumbly say "okay." "Sure, we'll vote for the Colbster. He's sexist and rude and we don't like the way he tries to control the vote. Good idea, Rich." And their act is so good that they actually fool Richard into thinking he has saved himself from Tribal Council. As day turns to night, he honestly thinks he has managed to turn the vote against the Colbster instead.

We then go to Tribal Council. Richard has an optimistic look in his eye. For the first time in the game, the old Richard has started to come out of his shell. After twelve days of just sitting around, Richard actually looks like he is starting to get into it. Gone is the attitude of "I don't care." Gone are the shrugs. Gone is the indifferent, carefree grin. Richard is starting to look like the old Stingray again. He is just starting to get that old gleam back in his eye.

But that's when reality comes crashing down on the big man instead.

"I'll tell you one thing, Hatch.  You aint no gay Hershey Bar."

Jeff pulls the first "Rich" vote out of the urn. And it is quickly followed by a second. And Richard now knows he has somehow been beaten in the game of Survivor.

Richard's proud grin as the second vote comes up. "They did it! They actually outplayed me!" He could not be more proud of his tribe.

There is tension in the air after that second Richard vote is revealed. Because the rest of the tribe knows what is about to come next. They know they are about to make Survivor history. And the anticipatory little grin on Kathy's face (below) tells the whole story. She knows what is coming... and she can't wait for it any longer. This is going to be absolutely beautiful...

Waiting for the last Richard vote...

And then...finally... it comes...

And what is Richard's reaction to being voted out of the game? Well it is one of the all-time classic moments in Survivor history:

"I've been bamboozled!!"

Kathy laughing at the "bamboozled" quote

Jerri is also amused by Richard's reaction

The best thing about this moment isn't the blindsiding itself. No, the rest of the tribe may have been giggling their butts off, but the funniest part to me is actually Richard's reaction. Because he isn't mad. He really isn't even all that upset. In fact, he actually seems to be delighted. Richard Hatch is absolutely thrilled that these "lesser" players were able to blindside him, and it seems to have warmed his twisted little heart. Richard now has proof that the rest of the world has finally learned how to play the game of Survivor. And like a parent at a high school graduation ceremony, he now knows his work is done.

He really couldn't have been any more proud of these guys.

Richard and the Mogo Mogos laughing after he is blindsided

After Richard's great "bamboozled!" quote, he now walks up to face his first ever torch-snuffing. He first stops to pat Colby proudly on the back. And then, with great fanfare, Jeff Probst finally ends The Master's game for good. Richard Hatch has now officially been voted out of the game of Survivor.

The money shot

But that's not it for the King of Survivor. Richard isn't quite done yet. Still in high spirits, the big man dances and spins his way down the runway and out of the game. And along the way, he starts taunting the other players with the chant of, "Food! Food! Food!" It is the perfect exit for the perfect storyline. It is also just flat out hilarious.

Food! Food! Food!

Even Jeff Probst enjoyed that little moment

What a wonderful exit. It was the only way that Richard's All-Star storyline possibly could have ended, and Richard played the part of the toppled king just perfectly. Just an amazing end to an episode all around.

Although, sadly, I have to add that this moment also marked the last time in All-Stars that anybody actually cracked a smile. After this, it was business upon business from here on out. Oh well. At least Richard had a good time while he was there.

In my opinion, his exit almost single-handedly made the season worthwhile.

Even in his final words, Rich was laughing

P.S. Did you ever notice that only two of the All-Star bootees didn't take it personally or get all upset about the fact that they had lost? Tina and Richard (the first two winners) are the only players in All-Stars who didn't seem to end the game with some sort of grudge. Both of them knew they were dead meat, they both accepted this fate with class and dignity, and I had a world of respect for both of them because they realized that this was "just a game." As for the rest of the player reactions when they lost? Let's just say they were significantly different. Losing All-Stars seemed to be a very big deal for most of them. And it's why the season seemed so unsavory to watch at times. God I hated All Stars.

P.P.S. Come to think of it, there were two other All-Stars who ended the game without much drama or fanfare on the way out. Both Colby and Jerri left the game with a fair bit of dignity and class, and neither one seemed to hold a grudge when they were gone. And if you combine that with Tina and Richard, you will notice that the drama-free exits were all players from the first two seasons. This actually plays nicely into a theory of mine, that the earlier Survivor players were happy just to have the experience. Meanwhile the later Survivor players were the ones who tried to make a career out of being on the show. It was a much bigger deal to players after Australia. And maybe that's why the first two seasons nowadays seem much more pure than the rest. Players from Borneo and Australia just didn't go on the show with that many expectations as to where it would lead them. They were happy to just be there for the experience. But with Africa and beyond, players started looking at this as a career option, and the whole tone of the show started to change...

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