The Funny 115 - The Third One

#74. Unmasking Jeff Kent
Philippines - episode 5

In the twenty-fifth season of Survivor, the producers of the show upped their "stunt casting" game when they went out and they cast one of the most notorious a-holes in all of professional baseball.  

No, it wasn't Carter

Now, what's funny is that 99% of the people who are reading this entry will see that sentence above and they will think that the "notorious asshole" I am talking about would be John Rocker.  After all, John Rocker was once in the news for being an asshole, wasn't he?  And wasn't Rocker also a professional baseball player?  So wouldn't John Rocker be the biggest baseball villain that has ever been cast on Survivor?

Well, actually, no.  In fact, as someone who has followed baseball for most of my life, I would say that Rocker isn't even all that close.  I mean, yeah, true, he did make the news once because he ran his mouth about something he probably shouldn't be joking about.  And yeah, he later became public enemy number one in New York because he doubled down and he refused to apologize.  But at the end of the day, John Rocker was more or less just some loudmouth doofus kid who was desperately in need of a good P.R. handler.  I mean, even after all of his controversy, he was still usually popular with his teammates.  People always said he was a good guy to have around, and they enjoyed playing with him.

Now Jeff Kent, on the other hand...

I know there isn't much crossover these days between "people who watch Survivor" and "people who follow professional baseball," so let me say this next part as bluntly as can.  Jeff Kent is considered one of the biggest assholes who has ever played professional sports.  The minute he was cast on the show, anyone who knows baseball at all saw his name in the cast and they knew instantly (tm Heidi) that A) mah werd this guy is going to be an amazing Survivor villain, and B) holy shit Survivor just found a way to finally top Jonny Fairplay.

Don't believe me?  Well just check out some of the articles that were written about Kent back when he was still an active player.  Such as this one, titled "Jeff Kent: A Good Jerk is Hard to Find."  
Or this one, where an award for the biggest assholes is actually named after him.  Or this one, where even his friends admit he was a huge jackass.  Or this one, where he is named one of the top jerks in baseball history.   Or this one, where he picks a fight with a beloved announcer.  Or this one, simply titled "Jeff Kent Is An Asshole."   Or this one.  Or this one.  Or this one.

Here is a rare example of Jeff Kent not playing nice with someone

Now, have I ever personally met Jeff Kent?  Do I know he is actually a jerk in real life?  Of course not.  As far as I know, he could actually be the nicest guy in the world.  All I am saying is that he had a HELL of a reputation before he ever set foot on Survivor.  When he played baseball, the fans hated him.  The media hated him.  Hell, most of his own teammates even hated him.  Unlike John Rocker, you could search the internet for hours and barely find a handful of people who played with him and who are actually willing to say something nice about the guy.  

Here is a famous moment where he was choked out by another notorious asshole, Barry Bonds.  Most people actually sided with Bonds in this.  'Nuff said.

So anyway, here comes a guy who is rich, and who is famous, and who has a reputation for being a notorious asshole.  And who somehow gets cast on Survivor because the producers were big on stunt casting at the time, and because they apparently had a very dark sense of humor that week.  Oh, and also because I guess the guy who shot Trayvon Martin was busy.

Come on, just look at that mustache

So Jeff Kent winds up on Survivor.  And he starts doing Jeff Kent things.

And he spends the next five episodes trying to outwit, outlast, and outplay his natural rival.

And just who exactly is Jeff Kent's natural rival when it comes to Survivor, you might say?

Well that's easy.

No, I'm not talking about Barry Bonds.

In this case, Jeff Kent's mortal enemy wears pink.  And she likes to dance.

On Survivor, Kent's natural rival is some weird horny dingbat named Dawson

Want to relive one of my favorite odd subplots of Survivor: Philippines?  Featuring two of the most unlikely adversaries you are ever going to see on the show?

Well here you go.  Enjoy.

It's day one of the game, and coming in on the boat is famous baseball legend hardass, Jeff Kent

And seated right next to him is Dawson.  Who is not famous for anything.

Except maybe for having an extreme love of soft cheese*

*more on this later

And this is where we get the storyline that will dominate a handful of the early episodes.

"I'm Jeff Kent.  I played seventeen years of Major League Baseball."

And this is where we get Jeff's one hope going into the game of Survivor.  

It's little, but for him it's the only way he might actually have a chance to go far in this game.

"I'm hoping that people won't recognize me."

Ah yes.  Well played.  We're about to see the old famous Gary Hogeboom strategy.  Which you might remember from one of my favorite entries back on the original version of the Funny 115.  

Gary Hawkins, right, with doppelganger

If you guys don't remember Guatemala, that was the season where famed landscaper Gary Hawkins went on Survivor.  And he knew that if people recognized him and if they knew about his landscaping empire, he would never stand a chance.  So he invented a fake persona called "Gary Hogeboom" in an attempt to hide the fact that a) he was famous, and b) he probably already had several million dollars in his bank account.  

And of course it was immediately foiled because Danni was a landscaping enthusiast and she knew exactly who he was

And oh my god it would be an incredible tragedy if Jeff "Kent" Hawkins got unmasked the exact same way that Gary "Hogeboom" Hawkins had once been unmasked.

I mean, that exact same storyline couldn't happen a SECOND time.  

Could it??

Okay, so here come the seventeen other players of Survivor: Philippines.  And guess which one of these seasoned warriors might know that is actually Jeff Kent, professional ballplayer, sitting right over there on their boat.

Is it this one?

Is it this one?

What about this one?

Oh dear god.  Please don't tell me it's this one.


So here we go.  The storyline where Jeff Kent is immediately identified.

Not by Skupin.  Not by Abi.  Not by Malcolm.  Not even by the other big famous celebrity in the group, Blair Warner Lisa Whelchel.

But by Dawson

Day one.  Minute one.  Jeff Probst starts the season off with a bang by asking this.

Zane, are you happy with your tribe layout?

"Yeah I'm happy with three tribes.  Just as long as they aint celebrities."

Oh shit, think the two celebrities who are both trying to stay incognito

Then Probst, of course, has to twist the knife in even further by mentioning this.

Well that's too bad.  Because here come three celebrities you will all be playing against.

And here they come.  The three returning Survivor legends.

Two regular guys and the Predator

And with that, let the game of newbies vs. celebrities begin!

Ha ha, I'm going to Jeff Kent this Penner guy so hard

Okay.  So it's day one on Kalabaw.  

Let's see how well Jeff Kent can hide his identity from people.

First off, let's watch Dawson do her little happy dance as she arrives on the beach

Oh yeah, and speaking of the pink one, have I talked about what a genuinely odd person Dawson is yet?

Well let me take a quick moment to do that.

Dawson, for lack of a better term, is an oddball.


Now, I don't mean that in a bad way.  As a character, I think Dawson is a lot of fun.  She is easily one of my favorite characters of Survivor: Philippines.

What I mean to say is that she is... um...


As a person, Dawson is just a little bit different.  She's a little bit out there.  I don't know how to say it any better than that.

For clarification, just check out this interview she did with Gordon Holmes prior to appearing on the show.  This should sum it up very nicely for you.

Note: At this point in the interview, a framed certificate fell off of the wall of the gazebo we were sitting in and smashed over Dawson’s head.
Holmes: (laughs) Are you OK?
Dawson: That sound…was my lawyer.
Holmes: Nobody ever sat on that part of the gazebo before.
Dawson: (laughs) I get injured during our interview? This is the first “Survivor” injury of the season!
Holmes: (Laughs) They’re not going to have me back if I keep injuring all of the contestants.
Dawson: (Laughs) You’re not good for TV.
Holmes: You know what that was? That was karma. You were just saying how much you like to watch Sugar cry.
Dawson: Hmm…
Holmes: Are you OK? Seriously? Do we need to get ice or anything?
Dawson: Oh no, I’m fine. My head is super used to hitting things.

That one was fun.  And hey, here's another fun one!  Here's where we go even further into the Dawson Zone.

Holmes: If you could align with any former Survivor player, who would it be and why?
Dawson: Excellent question. I’ve been getting (expletive deleted) questions.
Holmes: I didn’t fly all this way to ask (expletive deleted) questions.
Dawson: You didn’t. I’d love to play with Chet. Do you remember Chet?
Holmes: From Micronesia? I remember him.
Dawson: Chet was awesome.
Holmes: What are the benefits to having him in your alliance?
Dawson: He can’t do anything! He doesn’t have a physical game, social game. He can’t even get his own water. Talk about someone I don’t have to worry about scheming behind my back.
Holmes: So you’re willing to sacrifice someone who does stuff around camp for someone you can lead around?
Dawson: (Expletive deleted) yeah. I don’t need (expletive deleted) done around camp. All those people go home.

By the way, we're not done yet.  We're not even close.  We're barely even scratching the surface on Dawson as a potential minor Survivor legend.  

Check out these other things that she was saying (or people were saying about her) during her pre-game interviews.

So anyway, that's Dawson.  This is the person who is going to go up against MLB bad boy Jeff Kent.  I mean, come on, even if they were only going to have one scene where they interact with one another, that's funny.

Oh yeah, and I suppose I better mention Dawson's all time most memorable Survivor quote.  This one comes from a secret scene, so hopefully you'll forgive me for breaking my rules a little.  But you'll understand why when you read the transcript.

Jonathan (working on a clam): I'd feel much more comfortable with this if we had a little water to rinse this off with, just in case any of that poop sac opened up. It's like a cheese. Processed cheese poop.
Dawson: I love cheese. Any soft cheese I will fuck for.
Jeff: You'll do what for?
Carter: She'll fuck for soft cheese.
Dawson: Soft cheese only. I will not fuck for hard cheese.

This totally should have been the title of an episode

By the way, have you figured out yet that I can't make up my mind if this is a Dawson entry or if it's a Jeff Kent entry?  

Well to hell with it.  Let's make it about both of them.  

Full speed ahead!

So Jeff shows up on Kalabaw, and he immediately starts making that evil squinty face and he starts saying villain things

Like this.

We need to get rid of Jonathan Penner.  There is no way a celebrity should win this game.

Yeah!  Power to the people!  Let's make sure a celebrity is not gonna win this and take over our storyline.

Oh wait.

Dawson gives him the same look that she would give to hard cheese

We're seriously like five minutes into the game.  And the least likely person to ever be able to identify a professional baseball player has already identified him.

Just like that, Jeff Hogeboom's cover has already been blown.

Back at camp, Jeff is going on and on about how he is a rancher, and about how he sells motorcycles for a living.  He still doesn't realize that anyone has identified him yet.

"Hey, I'm just a guy from Texas.  I'm just a guy who loves Survivor."

"I only applied to the show on a dare from my buddy."

Why exactly is Jeff trying so hard to hide his identity?  Well aside from the obvious aspect of "everyone and their mother knows that Jeff Kent is an asshole", there's this other reason.  Which Dawson helpfully explains to us when she sits down for her first confessional.

"I used to spend time with a guy who was REALLY into baseball.  And I know who Jeff Kent is."

"But there's been no mention of him being a former professional athlete..."

"... who's made probably thirty million dollars in his career."

"I don't think the other tribe members know, and I think Jeff likes it that way."

"But I will tell him that I know."

"As soon as it becomes valuable to me."

And so there you go.  Dawson's explanation why Jeff Kent would never win Survivor if the other players actually knew who he was.  Although I should probably point out that she wasn't close when it came to how much money he actually made in his playing career.  Jeff Kent didn't make thirty million dollars.  Jeff Kent made closer to NINETY million dollars.  See below.

And so now, with all the info out on the table, the cat and mouse game between Dawson and MLB's bad boy is ready to begin.

I'm gonna eat him!

Through the first few episodes of Philippines, Dawson and Jeff Kent kind of stay away from one another.  Partly because Dawson has no need to call out Jeff for who he is yet, but mostly because there is no need for ANYONE on Kalabaw to turn against anyone else at this point.  Since the tribe wins immunity each of the first four episodes, they never really have to turn on each other the way that the Matsings do.  They also don't have anyone as batshit crazy on their tribe as Abi over on Tandang, so they never have to deal with THAT bullshit, and they hardly have any drama.

Most of the first four episodes on Kalabaw is Jeff sitting around, doing the narrator thing

While they do stuff like play checkers

And Jonathan Penner spends most of the time ditching his teammates to go look for the idol

While bending over directly in front of the camera

Like this

I swear, if you like Jonathan Penner's ass, this season is your Gone With the Wind

Eventually Penner finds the idol, and this will have major ramifications on what happens with Dawson and Jeff Kent later down the road

Okay, so things are going along quite swimmingly at Kalabaw.

They keep winning immunities

They keep winning rewards

And even though Jeff was at one time aligned with Dawson, because they all wanted to get rid of the returning guy...

Eventually Jeff realizes that Penner has the idol.  And once that happens, that sort of changes the alliance situation.

Now Jeff changes his strategy and he aligns with Penner.  And now he and Penner and Carter become the three Kalabaw power players.

Penner fesses up that yes, he does have the idol

"And I showed my ass to the camera like nine different times.  So have some pity on me, man."

So Penner and Major League Baseball's bad boy make a pact to be friends for a while

Of course, Jeff Kent being Jeff Kent...  

You might not want to believe him when he shakes your hand about something.

P.S.  You think Michaela came up with that whole amazing "me vs. we" quote in Survivor: Game Changers?  Well she didn't.  See below.

"This is a me game.  This isn't a we game."

"I gave Jonathan a four finger handshake, I didn't give him a manly handshake."

Jeff demonstrates how you give someone a lying handshake

"In my book, unless it's a manly handshake, it's not gonna count."

And that, my friends, is how Jeff Kent adds yet another item to his lifetime tally of asshole accomplishments.

2012:  Inventor of the evil handshake

Okay, so the game is chugging along.  Jeff has now aligned with Penner.  And even though it was a four fingered lying handshake at first, eventually he relents and gives Penner a real manly handshake a couple of days later,

Not really because he likes Penner, or because he trusts him.  It's mostly because Jeff can't stand dealing with any of these young kids on the tribe.  They are annoying, and none of them appear to know their ass from a hole in the ground.

"Penner isn't that bad.  At least the guy's tryin'."

"Everyone else here is just a kid.  They can't carry a professional conversation."

And yes, you know what that means.  

Cue Dawson.

Here's Dawson attempting to make a fire

That's about as good as she gets

"Is this fire, officially?" she announces to no one in particular.  "Am I done making it?"

No answer.  So she just yells louder.


Jeff is pretty much done talking to anyone but Penner at this point

So with Kent aligned with Penner (because he's the only grownup), and with their third member being Carter (because there is literally nobody else), this is how the tribe officially splits into two now.

It's basically the three guys

Against the three girls

And don't think Miss Soft Cheese isn't aware of this.

Thoughts on Jeff Kent's betrayal, Dawson?

"At first, there was a five non-returnee alliance, and now it's three versus three."

And right now, those guys are out there talking about US!"

So four episodes pass.  Kalabaw is split into guys against girls.  But they never have to go to Tribal because they keep winning immunity.

But then, alas.  Episode five.  The detonator.

This is where it will all come to a head between Jeff Kent and Dawson.

Because episode five is where Jeff Probst says to drop your buffs

It looks like Malcolm and Denise will be joining new tribes

This is going to throw a wrench into the whole three versus three thing.

Denise winds up joining Kalabaw.  And just like that, it looks like the women have the numbers.  Now there are four of them.

And for the woman who often gets hit in the head, this news is spectacular.


Dawson is so happy about the fact that she is about to beat Jeff Kent in the game of Survivor, she doesn't even seem to mind when, during the next challenge...

Abi just blatantly grabs her boob

Prompting Dawson to just laugh and grab Abi by the hair in response.

This is great little moment if you never noticed it before

By the way, little insider tip here for people who might want to go on Survivor in the future.

Don't ever grab Abi by the hair


'Cause that's how bitches get cut

R.I.P. Dawson 1983-2012

Okay.  So Dawson is in with the girls, and the girls now have the numbers on the tribe.  Life is looking good if you like winning Survivor, and you want to beat Jeff Kent, and you like fornicating for soft cheese.

But then...



On day twelve of the game, Dawson's wee little friend Dana was medevaced from the game.  She got sick, and her body started shutting down on her, and all of a sudden it looked like the girls might not have a 4-3 numbers advantage on Kalabaw after all.

Dana goes down with an illness

Probst makes an emergency visit to their camp

And, of course, a heartbroken Dawson is there to comment on how sad this whole turn of events makes her.

I mean, yeah, sure, her friend Dana is sick.  But on the plus side of the ledger...

"Jeff Probst is in my camp!  Yay!"

The grieving widow

"I wanted to jump on him!"

And now we are treated to one of the most potentially awkward/unintentionally hilarious medevacs in Survivor history.  In fact, I would probably rank this one second in weirdness, number two behind Bruce.   

OMG I cannot believe you just said number two about Bruce!

Dawson getting moist over the fact that Jeff Probst is in her camp to medevac someone

Jeff Probst about to get humped

And, of course, we cap off Dana's heartwrenching medevac moment with this.

Oh look kids, there's Jonathan Penner's ginormous ass.

Okay, from here on out, it is going to be downhill for anyone who hates hard cheese.  Which means, sorry Dawson, your time in the game is about to be up.

Because Dawson struggles in the immunity challenge with the puzzle, and it costs Kalabaw immunity

Tandang wins!


And it looks like the girls might not have control of the tribe after all as they are headed to their first Tribal Council

And this is where we get the hilarious scene that everyone remembers when it comes to Dawson vs. Jeff Kent.

It's Day 13 at Kalabaw, and it's time for Dawson's last stand

The girls know that they are in danger tonight, because they need Denise, but she doesn't actually have any loyalty to them

It looks like it is going to be either Dawson or Katie

And this is why you have to love an oddball like Dawson.

Because when she is on the outs, and her name is up on the chopping block tonight, what does she do?

Does she go talk to all the guys on the tribe, and try to save herself?

Of course not

Since Dawson is a lovable eccentric weirdo who is never going to do what you predict she will do, she decides to go down via this route instead.

By trolling Jeff Kent

You guessed it.  Here comes the scene that I loved so much the first time I actually saw it in the episode.

Say hello to your worst nightmare, baseball's bad boy

Okay, so the Kalabaws are just sitting around in their shelter in the hours leading up to the first vote.  They're all just hanging around, talking about nothing.

And that's where Dawson goes on her amazing passive-aggressive assault

"You know, I was thinking that maybe I should date an athlete."

"Oh really?  What do you consider an athlete?"

"Um, football."


"Um.... um...."

"And then I guess at the end maybe baseball."

Jeff has to just sit there and listen as she goes on to bash baseball players

"It's too much standing around."

"It's, like, a whole bunch of grown guys, just like, doing nothing."

"It's not really a sport for men.  I've found that men tend to play other sports."

She actually even gets the bad boy of baseball to break out laughing at one point

The devil

The editors then put in one of my favorite confessionals of the season.  Where Dawson talks about how fun it is to fuck with one of the most notorious villains in all of professional sports.

"I know Jeff Kent played baseball."

"So I enjoy getting into his mind."

"And making him...."


"It's a lot to fun to make him squirm."

"And it's a lot of fun to..."

"I don't know, I feel like I've kind of got a little mouse that doesn't know that it's in a corner."

"And I'm, like, playing with it."

"And, um....."

"I'm gonna snap on it!"

This picture is literally the happiest anyone has ever been after talking to Jeff Kent

...and that's why baseball players have to wear the extra small condoms.

 I love that, deep down, you know that Jeff Kent, notorious hot head, was trying his best not to snap and do this.

"... and that's reason thirty-seven why football is better than baseball."

Okay, this entry is long enough.  So let's jump to the ending.

I mean, it's not like Dawson doesn't have at least one MORE iconic moment that everyone remembers about her.

So we get to Tribal Council

And Dawson is voted out of the game

Partly because she's in the minority, and partly because she just makes Jeff Kent nervous

At this point, he probably suspects that she might be on to him

And so what does Dawson do when she is voted out of her beloved Kalabaw tribe?

No, she doesn't immediately ask for a piece of soft cheese

And no, she doesn't immediately out Jeff Kent and tell everyone who he is

No, at this point Dawson's top priority in Survivor is...

Mounting Jeff Probst

So she walks up before him.   And she presents her torch.

And she waits for those four magical words.

No, not those ones.  I mean these ones.

"The tribe has spoken."

And then she does that one iconic thing that everyone remembers.

She kisses him

And with that, we have officially seen the end of a Survivor original.

I mean, my ass.

P.S.  One thing I think most people don't remember about Dawson is the fact that, even after she was voted out of the game, she was still going on about Jeff Kent in her final words.  

Behold.  Her list of all the things that Jeff owes her now since she didn't unmask him tonight at Tribal Council.  This is classic Dawson.

"If Jeff wins, he owes me soooooooooo big."

"I want a motorcycle, a helmet, a sidecar..."

"...and a pink gun."

"That's what I want from Jeff Kent."

P.P.S. From a reader named Bailey W. Vogt:

"Jeff Kent looks like the contractor that is tearing down your twelve year old's childhood treehouse."

P.P.P.S.  In her postgame interviews, Dawson claimed that she actually outed Jeff Kent during the game, and that they had a long conversation once about his life as a professional baseball player.  Meanwhile, in his interviews, Jeff claimed that Dawson was insane, and that a conversation like that never came up.  And that he had no idea she even knew he was a professional athlete.  I guess it's up to you to decide which one of them is lying about this.

P.P.P.P.S.  One of the things I noticed about Jeff from my screenshots is the fact that, in the words of my brother, "he has a very punchable face."   This is one of our slang phrases for a guy who has beady little eyes and who always has a cocky little smile, and who would have made a perfect 1980's movie villain.  And since my all time favorite movie is The Karate Kid, you know what that means.  Here's Jeff Kent if he had been a member of the Cobra Kai!

What do we study here?
And what is that way?  

P.P.P.P.P.S.  Here's something fun I noticed about Dawson.  There are some scenes where it is clear she has a hard time standing still.  She basically just bounces around nervously while people are talking to her.  I don't know if she is a super excitable person, or if she just has a lot of random energy inside her, or what, but it's fun to look for it when you rewatch the season.  Here is a gif my friend Daniel Rona made for me with some of her highlights.

You better relax, bro.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S.  From reader Russ Bartlett:

"Dawson's master strategy going into the season was to wear colorful shoes so people would underestimate her(???), and she said post-show that she would tell people to ~rendezvous~ with her at specific points on the beach later in the day for discrete strategy talk, and then never actually show up just to fuck with them. I wish we'd seen more of her."

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S.   This doesn't have anything to do with this entry, but as I was grabbing screenshots from Philippines I came across maybe my favorite Abi-Maria resting "fuck you" face of them all.  This is from the beginning of episode four, when the Kalabaws and the Tandangs are looking over to see who Matsing voted out last night.  Guess who is the one player who doesn't have a look of complete empathy on her face.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S.  And finally... remember how Max Dawson went on Worlds Apart, and how he tried to do little tributes to players and moments from the show that had inspired him?  Well I hope you didn't miss my favorite one.  :)

Dawson's return

** Thanks to Cory Gage for the Brad Culpepper/Klingon picture **

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