The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#72.   Jeff Probst:  The Dragonslayer Slayer
Tocantins and Heroes vs. Villains - all season long

Remember how I made fun of the Jeff Probst-Jonathan Penner rivalry a couple of entries ago?

I mean... his -ass-!

Well if you liked the Probst-Penner rivalry, then you will love the rivalry at #72.  Because this rivalry is a lot more one-sided.  It  also goes on for a lot longer.  In fact it is basically just Jeff Probst mocking the shit out a guy as often as he can, and as creatively as he can.

That's right.  Entry #72 on the Funny 115 is the rivalry between the host of Survivor.. and the Dragonslayer himself.  

It is two seasons of Jeff Probst bagging on Coach.

"Wanna know what you're crying for?"

What I love about the Probst-Coach rivalry is the fact that it pretty much parallels the way we as viewers sort of feel about Coach.

At first, when we first meet him in Tocantins, we see him a larger than life mythical warrior.

Then, a couple of episodes into Tocantins, we start to see him as a hypocritical, overconfident braggart.

"Yes, I once mated with the Queen."

Then, as Tocantins goes further along, we sort of stop seeing him as a bad guy at all, and we start to realize that Coach might be 100% delusional and 100% full of shit.  And at that point he stops being a villain at all, and he sort of devolves into comic relief.

What is funny to me about the Probst-Coach rivalry is that it really doesn't start right away.  Nope.  At first Probst sort of takes Coach at face value.  For the first couple of episodes of Tocantins, he just treats Coach and talks to him like he is any other Survivor player.

A rare moment where Jeff isn't laughing at him

I'm not 100% sure when it happens.  In fact I'm not really sure if Probst even knows when it happens.  But at a certain point in Tocantins (probably around episode four or five), he and the editors suddenly snap and decide to go rogue.  All of a sudden they stop treating Coach like he is a big bad hypocrite we are supposed to hate, and they start openly mocking him like he is Rupert's ass crack in a skirt.  

In pretty much the blink of an eye, he goes from "Damn that Coach is an asshole" to "Oh my God, did Coach just compare his penis to the sword Excalibur???  WTF?!"

Oh my God!  Stop him, he's gone rogue!

The very first scene where Jeff openly laughs at Coach takes place in Tocantins episode nine.  Which, probably not coincidentally, is the same episode that Coach tells his first Coach story ("I was in the Amazon, I was captured by pygmies, they tortured me, then we all went down to the rec center to shoot hoops.")

It's Tribal Council at the end of episode nine, and the subject of Coach's fantastic life stories finally comes up.

And, well, it's safe to say that Jeff finds this a little amusing.

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


Taj:  "Well I love the Amazon story.   Because he told us about how he was captured by this tribe... and he was beaten... and then he escapes..."

"... and he was paddlin' for like two days down the Amazon River to get away..."

Jeff hears this and does a classic WTF face

The minute that Jeff does that WTF face, that means that all bets are officially off.  Because from this point on, once he realizes how nuts Coach really is, pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth is going to be some sort of a Coach slam.   And yes, this goes for both Tocantins and well as Heroes vs. Villains.

(Mario's Note:  I am leaving out the lurid details of the entire Coach story because I will be writing about it later in its own entry.  So just be patient.  This entry is just about Probst making fun of him.)

So anyway, here we go.

Later that Tribal Council, Coach makes the mistake of pointing out that there have been 5-8 life threatening situations he has lived through.

Coach lists the many times his life has been in danger

Stephen finds this hilarious

So does Jeff.  "Five, six, seven, or eight life or death situations??"

Coach points out that there were probably even more than eight.  He might be undershooting it.


Later that Tribal Council, Jeff is trying to ask a question to Brendan, and Coach just talks over him because he is in the middle of one of his warrior analogies.  Check this out, it is a great facial reaction.

Coach just talks over Jeff when he is trying to ask a question to Brendan

Oh I'm sorry Coach.  Were you still talking?

Sierra cracks up

The Coach-Amazon story is really one of the funniest Tribal Councils in Survivor history, but as awesome as it is, it pales compared to the carnage that comes after it.   Because the minute that Tribal Council ends, Jeff Probst officially goes on a one man crusade to ridicule Coach in public as often as possible.

It starts the very next episode...

Coach loses the reward challenge in episode ten

Probst mocks him

"Coach, you continue to lose out on these nice rewards.  All that life experience?  Not helping you out here."

Later that episode, at Tribal Council, Probst goes out of his way to expose Coach as a hypocrite, and tries to make him look as stupid as possible.

Coach explains that he wants Survivor to be "the best of the best", and that he is only here to pit himself against the toughest competition.  He wants to "walk the path of the noble warrior."

Probst interrupts.  "And then you voted out Brendan."

Brendan finds this hypocrisy amusing

"No.  I will explain this to you."

(sarcastic) "I'm sure you will!"

Coach explains why he voted Brendan out and why it wasn't cowardly.

Jeff isn't buying it.  He just laughs at him.

Then we come to the next little bit of mockery.  Episode 12.  

This time, Jeff decides to take a dig at Coach's penchant for calling himself a warrior all the time.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what we in the industry refer to as a callback joke.

Taj is talking about Coach, and she calls him "A warrior.  A dragon slayer."

(sarcastically)  "A warrior."

Dat's me!

"Well that's what he says..."

"No.  That's what you said."

Taj explains.  "Well because that's what he calls himself."

Coach explains:  "I didn't come up with that, by the way."

"Let me guess.  It was some chief in a small village..."


And then, finally, we come to the last public mockery of Coach in Tocantins.  

It is his final episode (episode 13), when he asks if he can read a poem right before they go up and vote.

Probst just openly laughs at him.

Can I read my poem?

Ha ha!  Eat me!

So anyway yeah.  That's the Coach story in Survivor: Tocantins.  Thirteen episodes of Coach being the noblest little warrior of all, and Probst being a complete dick to him.  It's a great storyline.

And you would think that would be enough, wouldn't you?  In fact, for most players, that probably would be enough.

But when it comes to Coach?  Well it is clearly not enough for Coach.  Because Coach is a good 150-200% more amazing and more memorable than most other Survivor characters.  He's even 150-200% more amazing than Burton.

When Coach comes back two seasons later in Heroes vs. Villains, there is Probst.  And there is the Probst evil smile.   And, sure enough, Probst starts right in again in episode one with the verbal mockery.

At the first immunity challenge, Jeff asks the Villains how they are holding up

"Our shelter is terrible."

Coach helpfully pipes in:  "Well it's not that bad."

"And therein lies the difference between Coach, who can endure anything, and the rest of us, who would like something to lie down on."

Just like old times

Coach isn't even safe from Probst's character mockery as he is competing in the first immunity challenge.

The Villains are being blown out in a rafting challenge

"Coach leading the tribe of Villains, using all of that life experience in a kayak!"

And then... finally... mercifully... we come to the final Probst-Coach battle in Survivor history.  It has taken a while, it has taken nearly two full seasons in fact, but we have finally reached the conclusion of the epic Dragonslayer-Dragonslayer Slayer showdown.

It's episode three of Heroes vs. Villains, and the two tribes are squaring off in a gladiator battle for immunity

In the third matchup, Coach squares off against Rupert.  The Dragonslayer against the Lameassplayer.

It's a hard fought battle...

Until Coach gets behind Rupert...

And shoves him into the mud

Finally!  He has done it!  After two seasons of mockery, after two seasons of abuse, the Dragonslayer has conquered arguably the greatest hero in Survivor history!  This paladin's quest is over!  The Dragon is slain!

Nope.  Sorry.  You aren't allowed to use your arms.  Jeff calls the victory null and void.

"Sorry dude.  You just got beat by a bunch of rules."

And well, then I guess that's it.  

Jeff Probst has taken away his dignity.  Jeff Probst has taken away his character.  Jeff Probst has taken away his reputation.  And now, after the shame of the Rupert fiasco, Jeff Probst has officially taken away his pride.  

It is all over for the once mighty and noble Dragonslayer.  He has finally been defeated.  And not by the opponents he thought he would be facing, but by the host of the show.

It is all too clear what has happened to him now.  Jeff Probst isn't the host of Survivor.  Jeff Probst is the devil.


So how does Coach respond to this?  How does Coach respond once he finally figures out who his enemy is?  What does the mighty Dragonslayer do when he finally snaps?

Well he does the exact same thing that you or I would do if we ever met the devil.

He gives him the finger.

And just to drive the point home, it's a special form of the bird you can't find on Google

Finally, after two seasons of mockery, the mighty Dragonslayer has finally stood up for himself.



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