The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#18.  The Amazon Story
Tocantins - episode 9

It is Day 21 of Survivor: Tocantins, and a very sad moment has just taken place in the game.

Joe has just been medevaced out of the game because of a knee infection

Joe awaits his sad exit

Sad music plays

Good bye, noble warrior

Back at camp, the rest of the tribe is unaware of what has happened to their fallen comrade.  They have no idea he has left the game.  They are still blissfully going about the rest of their day, just walking around, doing Survivor things.

That means it is up to Jeff Probst to stop by and share the bad news.

"Hey guys, Boston Rob still hasn't won Survivor yet.   And it's killing me."

Saaad panda

"Oh, and also, Joe had to leave the game because of his knee.  Sorry."

Since Joe was a very popular member of the tribe, this news does not go over very well with the Forzas.  Aww, man, that sucks.  Poor Joe.  He had to leave?  He had to give up his dream of winning Survivor, just because of a something stupid like a little knee infection?

As you can guess, there are tears.

Awww, poor Joe.

Awwww, that sucks.

Lill shows stoic resolve

Stephen breaks down

So does Becky

I must break you

With the tribe down in the dumps, and everybody feeling depressed and blue over what happened to their friend Joe, it is definitely going to be a long night around Camp Forza tonight.  Everybody is just going to sit around the fire and be quiet and sad.

And... well... that type of behavior is definitely not acceptable to one of the Forza members.

You see, for one member of the tribe, there is no chance that everyone is going to just wallow around and stew in their depression tonight.  No way.  Because that type of behavior is unproductive.  It is unhealthy.  It is unbecoming.  

And most of all, it just isn't very noble or manly or heroic.

What's that?  You say a hero will come in and rescue us?

Yes, Mister Fishbach, that is exactly what I am saying.  The Forzas are going to have a savior tonight.

And just who is this man?  

Who is this man, who is going to step in and break everybody out of their dragging and their depression? 

Who is this man?  Who one might refer to as some sort of a hero?  Or a legend?

It is I, Coach Wade.  The dragging slayer

Yes, Coach Wade sees that the Forza tribe is going to be down in the dumps tonight.  He sees it, and he doesn't like it.

So just like any great and noble champion of the people would do, he steps in and he decides to fix it.

Yes.  He fixes it.

Just like Mother Teresa would have done.

Not unlike Jesus

Here is Coach in a confessional, explaining to us just how he plans to cheer everyone up around camp tonight.

"Joe left camp today and there was just kind of this funk that was permeating the camp."

*Pause for reflection*

"So we're sitting around there, looking at the fire.  Nobody was saying anything..."

"And... you know... I just wanted to share a piece of my life with them."

"I wanted to show them that no matter how bad it gets in your life, there's always somethin' that's gonna make it much worse."

The burden of a hero

"So I shared with the tribe one of my stories, about the time that I got caught in the Amazon."

"And I thought I was gonna get killed."

And yes.  

What follows is one of the most inspirational and triumphant and beautiful stories in the history of Survivor.

Get ready.  Grab a tissue.  Give a hug to your kids.

This is a story that may very well bring a tear to your eye.

Night 21.  Camp Forza.  And so the legend is born...

The inspirational pep talk begins

Oh.  And he will.

Only three people?!?!  Holy shit!!!

"I look over and I see some indigenous people that are sitting there, creeping through the bush."

"At first I counted six or seven of them."

"Now they were probably four, four and a half feet tall."

"They've got their bows and arrows... they've got their bows and arrows drawn."

"They jerk me out of the kayak."

"They tie me up."

"They tie my hands behind my back."

"They tie my feet.  They drag me into this hut..."

"I got in the kayak and I dipped it in the water."

"And I paddled like hell."

"I paddled so hard, my hands started bleeding."

And there you go.  Story over.  Legend created.

Nailed it.

Ah yes.  The birth of a legend.  The Amazon Story.

Now... okay, let's get down to business.

Here's what I love about Coach's inspirational pep talk story.

Actually, no, there are lots of things I love about it.

Why don't we just go on down the list?

The Number One Thing I Love about the Amazon Story:

I love Debbie's immediate reaction to it.

"I don't want to say Coach, heeeeeeeeey, let's have a reality check here."

"But no one said a word.  It was silent when he finished."

"And everybody was like..."

"Kind of going around, looking at each other."



The Number Two Thing I Love About the Amazon Story:

I love the random cameo from Ted's long haired friend from There's Something About Mary

"You're a fucking liar!"

The Number Three Thing I Love About the Amazon Story:

I love Brendan's immediate reaction to Coach's "I kayaked down the Amazon and I almost got raped and killed by pygmies" story.  Brendan steps up and he immediately calls bullshit on it.

In fact, here's a funny summary of why Brendan's reaction to the story is so awesome, written by my friend Mark Polishuk:  "The scene where Coach told this story was amazing.  He finishes this cavalcade of bullshit, there is a moment of stunned silence from everyone in the group, then Brendan immediately pipes up with, "Huh.  So how much does it cost to rent a military helicopter?"

"So anyway, yeah, that's what happened.  Yeah, I'm awesome."

"Yeah, so how much does it cost to get a military copter to drop you in?"

"That would be free."


This, of course, is followed by this awesome Brendan confessional.


"Coach is either the new coming of Jacques Cousteau."

"Or he's, you know, basically the biggest fraud in the game."

The Number Four Thing I Love about the Amazon Story:

To me, this is the most underrated aspect of the whole Coach pygmy story.  Get ready for this one, I bet you have never thought of it before.

You know how when you think of the Coach story, the first thing you think of is, as Mark Polishuk just described, how it was "a unbelievable cavalcade of bullshit"?  You know how when you think of this scene, the first thing that springs to mind is how ridiculous it was, and how funny everyone's reaction was to it afterwards?

Well how about this?  This will top them all.

From now on, whenever you think of Coach's Amazon story, just remind yourself that Coach didn't tell it because he wanted to brag about himself.   He didn't sit there and go on and on about himself because he wanted them to all think what an amazing guy he was.

No, Coach told this story to the tribe... because... are you ready for this?........ BECAUSE HE WAS TRYING TO CHEER EVERYONE UP!  THIS WAS HIS BIG INSPIRATIONAL PEP TALK FOR EVERYONE!  

Seriously, this was his pep talk.  Be careful, or one day you might get your ass eaten by pygmies.

"Remember guys, sometimes life sucks.  And sometimes small people tie you up and beat you with sticks.   Now let's go out there and let's get 'em!"

Yeah!  Let's do it!  Let's win!  No more pygmy beatings!

This is the aspect of the Amazon Story that I don't think gets made fun of nearly often enough.  I mean, come on.  The only reason it came out at all is because Coach was trying to give a pep talk.

Look at it this way.  If Coach ever has a son, and if the little boy comes home from school one day sad because a bully made fun of him, this is the story that Coach would tell him to perk his spirits up.  He would give him the old cliched "One time I almost got my ass eaten by pygmies, so buck up" lesson.  This seems to be Coach's go-to pick me up pep talk story.

*sob*  "A boy was mean to me at school today, dad."

"You know, one time small men tied me to stake and beat me within an inch of my life.  They were probably going to eat my ass."


Oh yeah, and speaking of getting your ass eaten...

The Number Five Thing I Love about the Amazon Story:

Most people remember this story as the "I almost got my ass eaten by pygmies" story.  But if you want to get technical, that part of the story doesn't actually come up until later in the episode.

Here is the famous "pygmies wanted to eat my ass" postscript to the story, as told by Coach and Taj later that episode, at Tribal Council.

The Forza tribe is at Tribal Council, and Erinn just told Jeff that she thought Tyson was the funniest member of the tribe.

"J.T., who tells the best campfire stories?"

"Uh, Coach probably tells the best campfire stories.  No doubt."

Yes.  Yes I do.

Taj laughs

"Taj, what's the best story Coach has told?"

Oh goody.  Here we go.

"Well I love the Amazon story"

(breathlessly, mocking him) "Because he told us how he was captured by this tribe..."

"And he was beaten..."

You know it

"And he escapes!  And he's like paddlin' for two days down the Amazon River to get away."

I love Jeff's reaction.  Great WTF face.

"It's so unbelievable, Jeff.  It was... it was... incredible."

Jeff, of course, is amused by this story.  As well he should be.

"Coach, this really happened?"

"Or this is a movie version of what you want to have happened?"

And now?  The exciting epilogue to the Amazon Story.

This is the too hot for TV version we didn't get to see earlier in the episode.

"I tried actually to tone it down.  Because if I tell 'em that, you know, the tribe was..."

"You know, looking at my ass..."

"Talking about eating my ass..."


Ha ha.  Ass eating.


"So actually, you know, when I tell these stories I usually try to give, like, the PG-13 version of it."

Stephen could not be more delighted by this

Yet I'm here.  And I still have my ass.  Point, Wade.

And anyway, so there you go.  Coach and his infamous Amazon story.  

The only story in Survivor history that finished with somebody having their ass consumed.

Ass.  It's what's for dinner

Was Coach's Amazon story true?  Was it just an enormous cavalcade of bullshit?   In the end, I guess we will never know.

All I know is that he told it to inspire his troops.  He told it to cheer up his tribe.  And inspire them and cheer them up he did.   

There will never be another Survivor story that is more beloved than this one.

They told me I could be anything I wanted.  So I became a god.

A god with an ass

P.S.  I was originally going to call this entry "Coach's stories", and it was going to be about all the stories he told and all the wonderful tales he wove around camp.  But when I sat down to actually write the entry, I realized that A) The Amazon Story was far and away his best story, and B) Most of his other stories, we don't actually hear first hand anyway.  For the most part, we only hear about his other stories second hand, through hearsay or through other people who are describing them to us.

So anyway, no.  No "Coach's stories" entry.  Sorry about that.


Since I couldn't write a whole entry about his stories, instead I decided to do the next best thing.  What I did is I went to people who actually played Survivor with him, and who actually spent the nights around the campfire listening to his stories.  And I said, "Hey, what is the best Coach story that we never saw on TV?  Is there anything you wish they had shown in the episodes, something maybe that was just as funny as the Amazon story?"

I'm not going to identify who said every quote, but here are the best responses I got back from the people who replied to me.  As you can probably guess, there were a lot of people who were excited to share their all-time favorite Coach memory.  And you'll never guess who said which quote, because I changed the language around in a lot of them to help disguise their identity.  So don't even bother.  These are all 100% real responses though.

Favorite Coach Story Memories:

1.  "One funny thing that nobody knows is that Brendan used to bait him about his stories in the Amazon. "Coach how did you get there?" "Oh, uh, a military chopper picked me up." "How did you get a military helicopter to drop you off?" "Uh, contacts in the military."  You saw some of that in the Amazon Story, but Brendan used to do it a lot.  It was kind of a game."

2.  "Boston Rob used to regale us every night in Heroes vs Villains with "Coach" stories.  He could actually tell a Coach story as well as Coach could."

3. "I can't think of anything off the top of my head.   Just the same old crap about 25 foot sharks attacking his kayak and pygmies torturing him."

4. "Is it common knowledge that he claims Linda Ronstadt rescued him on his kayaking trip?  Yeah apparently she was in a yacht just offshore."

5.  "The best part of the Amazon Story is that somebody asked him what he ate on his trip.  He claimed he had Power Bars conveniently saved in the kayak.  Oh, and that the Amazonian tribe conveniently decided to leave them in there for him.  Pretty good stroke of luck, huh?"

6.  "There are kernels of truth in every Coach story, that's the beautiful part.  Like, he did go on a kayak trip.  But he wasn't bitten by a shark.  And he wasn't dropped off in a secret military plane at the mouth of the Amazon. Do you know he told his employer he was getting a rare medical procedure for a brain tumor when he left for Survivor?"

*sob*  "Dad, I asked a girl out on a date and she laughed in my face.   It just isn't fair.  Why don't people like me?"

"You know son, one time Sir Galahad and I broke into Fort Knox and we made love to an eagle."


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