The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#75.  Ball.  Dave Ball.
Samoa - all season long

One of the biggest complaints I have heard from Survivor fans over the past two years is that Survivor: Samoa was probably the worst edited season in Survivor history.  There are so many people out there who believe that... although it was fun... Samoa would have been so much better and so much more fun if the producers had just edited it like any other season, instead of (what they did do) only focusing on Russell and just turning it into one big commercial for the next season, Heroes vs. Villains.

I have to say, I have heard this criticism -countless- times over the past two years.   People just seem to hate Survivor: Samoa.  If you're a Russell fan, you hate that he lost.  If you're not a Russell fan, you hate that you had to sit through three months of "The Russell and nobody else" show.  There really seems to be no middle ground in between.  

I have yet to find one person who will sit there and rave up and down about how awesome Samoa was.

He's Russell Hantz.  Have you heard?

Ah, but wait.  There is hope.

Even though so many people seem to hate Samoa, even though I was warned about it repeatedly before I sat down to do my research for the Funny 115, I have to say... when I actually sat down to -watch- Samoa, I was pleasantly surprised.  Because, you know, this season really wasn't all that bad at all.  

Yeah, sure, maybe it was a little bit of Russell overkill.  Maybe it was obvious that the only reason Samoa exists is as a commercial for Russell's appearance in Heroes vs Villains.  Maybe it was kind of irresponsible that the editors didn't even -mention- the winner until the third or fourth episode.

But you know what?  None of that really matters.

I don't care that Samoa was 100% Russell overkill.  What I do care about is that it was funny, and that it some funny memorable characters in its cast.

Specifically, it had Danger Dave Ball.

Who, I have to say, was one of the most memorable, quirky, awesome, entertaining oddballs in the first 20 seasons of Survivor.

Not Russell Hantz.

It's funny, I barely even remembered Dave Ball from when Samoa originally aired.  I just remembered him being one of the nameless, faceless members of Galu.  Kind of, like, you know, everybody else who wasn't named Russell or Shambo.

But when I announced that I was doing a new Funny 115, man.  You should have seen all the requests that came in to include a Dave Ball entry.  He was by far one of the top two or three people mentioned as a possible "character entry."  And it struck me as odd, too, because I barely even remembered the guy.

It wasn't until I sat down and actually rewatched the season that it finally caught my attention how awesome he was.

Dave Ball drinks your milkshake

Rather than sit here and recount the entire storyline of Dave Ball, instead what I have decided to do is just pick out all the great emails I got about him and let my readers explain why he is so awesome.  Because they have already done all of my work for me.

Here are the top twelve reasons why Dave Ball is better than you.


1.  From a reader named Jack:  "The funniest thing about Dave Ball is the fact that he is never just "Dave".  For some reason Probst always uses his full name.  He always calls him "Dave Ball."  Why?  Why does he do this?  Is there another Dave in the cast?  No.  So why does Probst always use his full name and sound like he's Bob Dole?   This was the season that I finally realized that Probst probably has some form of brain damage."

Bob Dole likes peanut butter

2.  From a reader named Stacey R.:  "The thing that I love about Dave Ball (always Dave Ball, never just Dave) is that he is ten feet tall and has these freakishly long arms.  Whenever he gets excited and raises his arms up, I always imagine he is going to pluck a coconut off of a tree just to piss Ozzy off."

The famous Dave Ball wingspan

3. From a reader named A.J.:  "What I love about Dave Ball is that you have no idea what you are supposed to think of him.  The first time you see him, you think he's an aging hippie.  But no, he's too young.  Then you think, okay, he's just this weird young hipster.  But no, he's too old.  Then you find out he's some combination of comedy writer, adventurer, fitness instructor, awkward goofball, stand up comedian, and world class Mensa genius.  After a certain point you just sort of say "What the fuck?  Who the hell is this guy?"

Not a hippie

4. From Lexxan at Survivor Sucks:  "Dave Ball is epic win. He went to the ten-year Survivor Party wearing tight red leather pants and smooched his way all the way down the dance floor. His audition tape is one of the best I’ve ever seen.  His business card reads “DANGER DAVE BALL, SEX NINJA”.  He's also the caretaker of the PARVAPUP (Parvati's Puppy Dog).  There’s simply no way Dave was NOT going to deliver… and you can say whatever you want, but Dave was indeed the best character in Samoa.  By miles. Only Laura and Erik come close, actually and even THEY were too underedited to live up to their potential."

The Sex Ninja

5.  From linesinaconversation at Survivor Sucks:  "A moment I adore in the first episode is when Russell is told to pick the smartest member of Galu for the challenge and he says, with great enthusiasm, "I'm choosing SHAM-BO!" And then she goes off on her little speech about being "smart in the ways of the world," but not for what the challenge will probably bring. And while she's stating this, Dave Ball is already looking at her like, "'re fucking weird." <33333

Not a Shambo fan

6.  From ElisabethHasselback42 at Survivor Sucks:  "I didn't like Danger Dave when Samoa first started, but then I really started to warm up to him. He is a really funny guy and does have quite a few good quotes over the season (I especially love his "Makin' love is my sport" quote in episode eight)."

Dave Ball steps up to bat in the episode eight immunity challenge

"Danger Dave.  Baseball your sport?"

"Uh, no.  Makin love's my sport."

Stunned into speechlessness

(finally) "You play a lot?"

"Not often enough."

7.  From Lexxan at Survivor Sucks:  "Episode 4 is by far the best of Samoa... ESPECIALLY because of Danger Dave.  He's the only person from Samoa to actually crack my overall TOP 20 survivors (even though he's only #20). I feel he's way too underappreciated in general. He's witty and socially awkward and awesome."

Not unawkward

8.  From ElisabethHasselback42 at Survivor Sucks:  "One interesting fact about him is that Dave Ball has the highest IQ of anybody in Survivor history, and yes, I'm sure that may even beat the legendary Heidi Strobel. It's around 140 or something like that."

"Apparently no one here knows how to make fire but me.  Which to me is like... really?  

"But I'm trying to downplay my awesomeness cause it speaks for itself."

9.  From a reader named John A.:  "One of my favorite moments of Samoa is when John is talking about voting out Natalie in episode 10 and Dave Ball (never just Dave) goes into Dave Ball mode and says something like "Well I'll burrrrrn her right now, I don't caaare, bro!"  Just the way he says it cracks me up every time.  He really does have a way with words when he talks.

"The vote tonight is Natalie.  Times five."

Dave Ball starts to rebut this, and John cuts him off with "I know you guys are not happy about this."

So Dave Ball goes into appeasement mode

"No no no!  I like it!"

"I'll burn her right now, I do not caaaaaaare, bro."

10.  From Lexxan at Survivor Sucks:  "After The Good Russell’s MedEvac in episode seven, Galu needs a new leader. So Dave Ball and his cronies decide to elect Shambo as a puppet they can control..."

Right after Shambo is elected leader, Dave voices concerns that she might not be the best choice as Galu's new figurehead:  “The only drawbacks are that Shambo is so dim she will screw up all of our plans if we tell her anything.”

"... and that leads to the following awesome moment from the episode seven reward challenge.  This is where Dave takes up the role as being Shambo’s whip and starts controlling her every move.  Lolforever at this scene. It is SO underrated and it never fails to make me laugh."

Jeff:  "Shambo, since you are the new leader, who do you want to make decisions for Galu in this challenge?”

Shambo:  “Um… Erik?”

Dave Ball:   “NO, NOT ERIK!  BRETT!  BRETT!!”

Shambo:  “I stand corrected. Brett!”

11.  From Sircrocodilep at Survivor Sucks:  "I love penguins and pizza.  I love the fact that penguin is the only specie that is not human that can successfully control a continent."

I don't really know what that quote means, but it does remind me of a particularly funny and quirky quote from Dave Ball at Tribal Council in episode 12.   In this one he once again renders Jeff Probst speechless.   You really don't see this happen very often:

"Dave, think it's gonna be a shocking vote tonight for somebody?"

"If this vote tonight goes the way I am expecting it to go... I will be shocked."

Jeff tries to interpret this logic, and instead he just busts up

12.  And finally... one last quote from Lexxan at Survivor Sucks.  Which pretty much sums up my opinion of why Danger Dave Ball deserves his spot on the Funny 115.  This one is short but sweet:  "Dave Ball should totally make the countdown.  He's the best quotemachine in the last 5 seasons."

It's episode seven, and the Galus are on a reward trip

Dave Ball mans the captain's wheel

"I feel like the captain of a pirate ship, ready to go rob some bootay."

"A little gold.  A little wenchin'.  A little groggin'.  

Dramatic pause

"... A little more wenchin'"

He laughs at his own joke

Since words can't really describe the true dorkiness of this moment, here it is in gif form.   Danger Dave laughs at his own joke even though nobody is looking at him.

So anyway, there you go.  Dave Ball.  The man with the freakishly long arms.  The guy who may or may not be a hippie.  The one they call "Danger."  The Sex Ninja.  He is easily one of the wittiest and one of the funniest players in the history of Survivor.

If you ever go back and give Samoa another chance, I think you will really enjoy him.

Yep.  Still awkward.

P.S.  People who really know Dave Ball and really know Samoa will notice I didn't even mention his two best quotes.   Well there's a reason for that.  The reason I left out the "I won chickens" confessional and the infamous "clothesline" confessional are becuase they will both get their own entry later on the countdown.  This entry was just about Dave Ball being awesome.  In fact, I will go on record and say he's even a better character than Russell.

Better than Russell

P.P.S.   Fine, here's one more email from a reader which leads into yet another great Dave Ball moment.  From Stephen B. at AOL:  "Even Dave Ball (never just Dave)'s final episode is awesome!... Right before he is voted out, he says "The Lord fricking provides."  Have you ever heard someone give an inspirational message about Jesus, yet still manage to use a variant of the F bomb in the exact same sentence?  I'm not sure if that is inspirational or if it is technically blasphemy.... how come in his boot episode they only gave this guy half an episode??"

"Miracles happen constantly.  Could one happen tonight?   I would not be surprised."

"Because the Lord fricking provides."

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