The Funny 115 - The Third One

#90.  Tony! Toni! Toné!
Cagayan - all season long

Well, you knew it was bound to happen sooner or later.  The Funny 115 has finally entered the Tony zone.

Without question, Tony is one of my favorite characters during this stretch in Survivor history.  I love how big and bold he was. I love how unabashedly sleazy, yet entertaining he was.  I love the fact that he talked a mile a minute, he never shut up, and he had a hard time sleeping at night because (surprise!) apparently he has a hard time focusing his attention and shutting down at night and turning off his brain.

More importantly, Tony is one of those rare creatures that I like to rave about who checks off the boxes of both "Great player" and "Great character."  He is one of the few players I can think of, during any stretch of Survivor history, who was both by far the best player of his season, and also by far the best character of his season.  I mean, how many other players can you think of who completely dominated their season in every way imaginable the way that Tony did?  And no, put your hand down, Coach, I'm not talking about you.

So yes, I love Tony as a character.  And yes, I love Tony as a player.  And this, of course, might then lead you to ask the question, well then why the hell is he buried down here so far on the countdown?  You'd think that if I loved him as a Survivor that much, that I would want his character entry way up there in the 20s or 30s.  So why is it buried down here so far in the low 90's?

And here is the great dilemma when it comes to writing about Tony.

Yes, he was a great character.  I'm not sure I have ever met a Survivor fan who didn't in some way appreciate Tony.  Yeah, you might not think he was the greatest player of all time or anything, since he was always hiding behind idols.  But at the very least, even Tony detractors will admit that he was in just about every god damn scene in Survivor: Cagayan, and that most of the scenes involving characters interacting with him were a lot of fun.

But the problem is just that.  Yes, his scenes were always a lot of fun.  But there just weren't all that many GREAT ones.

Sure, there are scenes where Trish laughs at something he does.  There are scenes where Kass gets annoyed at Tony because of something he says.  There are scenes where Sarah is baffled trying to figure out what Tony is trying to explain to her.  But almost none of these scenes were amazing enough that I thought they would make strong standalone Funny 115 entries.

Go back and watch Cagayan again and you will notice this too.  Tony is everywhere.  He is in every scene.  He dominates the airtime the way that Dan Foley dominates a cheeseburger.  I mean, you should see the notes I took as I was re-watching the season.  Nearly every entry I wrote down is some variant of "Watch Tony's face when this happens."  "Watch the way Tony phrases this sentence."  "Watch the way Tony gets bored one day and he just decides to start randomly lying to people."

I thought I would have a billion Tony entries when I sat down to make the Funny 115.  But then I started counting out the moments when I was finalizing my list, and I realized I was only going to have two.   One of the entries was going to be "Tony talks llama."  I mean, that one is easily a no-brainer.  And the other one was going to be... well... for now I am going to leave that one as a surprise.  And then I thought -maybe- I could squeeze in an entry about how Tony proves his loyalty by admitting to everyone that he lies.  

And that was it.  Those were my three Tony entries.  

I saw that list and I was like no f'ing way.  There is no way I can do a countdown like this and only have THREE Tony entries.  Especially when he is clearly one of the biggest and most entertaining characters between seasons 21-30 of Survivor.  There is absolutely no way I can shortchange Tony and all the Tony fans out there by giving him only three measly entries.

And of course, you know what happens when I reach a decision like that.

That's right.  That means that Tony gets a character entry!

And so here you go.  You know you wanted it.  I mean, lord knows people sent me enough nominations of things they wanted to see written about Tony. In fact, I think I got more nominations about Tony than about the rest of the cast of Survivor: Cagayan combined. And yes, that even includes Jefra!

Here are fifteen fun things about Tony Vlachos as a Survivor character, with help from my readers at Survivor Reddit.  You see, I am including a lot of actual comments that were sent in by my actual readers, because a lot of time they wound up explaining the scene better than I could.  

Here are all the fun minor things that make Tony such a great Survivor figure.


1. "Tony literally runs everywhere. Why is he running? Where does he need to be in the next 3 seconds? It's like whenever an idea popped into his head, he got up and ran as fast as he could.  It was really funny."
-Reddit user pntjr

"Tony reminded me of my son when he was around 5. He might be the most entertaining winner ever."
-Reddit user SnazzyBean

This is something I never really noticed until it was pointed out to me, but it is absolutely correct if you go back and you watch the season.

Tony likes to run.

A lot.

He's a lot like Forrest Gump.  Sometimes he just wants to run.

Example the first

Example the second

Example the third

Example the fourth.  It's dinner time.

2. "Tony's orgasm over finding the immunity idol in the first episode cracks me up every time. Like close your eyes and just listen to the audio."
-Reddit user


Well you knew this one was coming going to be a writeup.

It's episode one, and Tony stumbles onto an immunity idol hidden under the water

Tony grabs the idol and does his best impression of an Italian

And then...

The orgasm

There is no way to do this scene justice without listening to the audio, so click here for the famous sound clip of Tony finding the idol and then jizzing his pants.

Damn, now I have to go clean up

By the way, want to hear something funny? Listen to how close Tony's orgasm is to the scene in Dumb and Dumber where Jeff Daniels takes a dump. They are closer than you think.

The male must rest for 10-15 minutes before attempting another idol find

3. Tony's famous "deer-in-the-headlights" impression 

This one is quick but it is always good for a funny little screencap.

It's episode two, and Tony catches Woo and Sarah talking strategy without including him

So he walks over and he breaks up their little conversation

And then, in a confessional, he tells us what just transpired.  As only Tony can.

"So I saw them talking, and I walked over, and I caught them talking strategy."

"And they looked like this..."

"Like a deer in headlights, as soon as I walked up to them."

4. "Pay attention to Morgan's final Tribal Council question for Tony."
-Reddit user thekyledavid

She basically asks him "How did you manipulate all of these men without boobs!!"
-Reddit user Oddfictionrambles

Morgan gets up to ask Tony her final TC question, and she has something special prepared for him

"I have massive jugs, so I know how to keep a man in my back pocket."

"You kept men in your back pocket, and you did it without even having breasts."

"How did you do it?  I just want to know."

The jury laughs at Morgan's inane question

"I love how Tony just no-sells it too, like he was prepared for that question's exact wording."
-Reddit user stormeaglex1 

And here is stone-faced Tony, completely unfazed by her question

"I would have to say... ah... that the hyena, you know, was just cleaning his hind end. I mean, the mush was the only thing we had to eat. And I would think that maybe, you know, he needed it to survive. And when you get hungry enough you eat what you have to eat. And taste is one of the first luxuries that goes out the window."

Oops, wait.  That was Kim Johnson no-selling Tom's jury question back in Africa.  But you get the picture.  Tony basically just ignores the joke question and he gives a serious answer instead.  And you should see how many people wrote to me and requested that I include this moment somewhere in a Tony entry.

By the way, speaking of Morgan...

5. That time Tony compared Morgan to a pillow

A pillow

This is one of my favorite Tony moments, and I might have been able to squeeze it into an entry all by itself.  

Naturally, it stars Morgan, the girl who spends approximately 150-200% of her time in Cagayan laying down in the shelter, doing absolutely nothing.  

I have no idea why the editors included the dialogue of this scene over a shot of Spencer adjusting his socks, but here you go.  If you think Spencer is sexy, and you have a fetish for socks, I have good news for you.

Kass suggests that maybe Morgan can do some manual labor today

Yeah, watch me go.  Vroom.

Tony wonders if Morgan is even around

Kass replies very Kassly

Morgan's usual spot

First Kass bags on Morgan. Then Tony gets to one-up her, which is fun because it is very rare that anyone is ever able to one-up Kass.

Morgan is in a constant state of "Center of the Universe"

"She's like a fourteen year old dog.  You only keep it around because you love it."

"All it really does is sit there.  That's Morgan."

Okay that quote was good enough on its own.  But we'll save the Kass quotes for my Kass entries.  For now let's just focus on where Tony gives a quote that is even better.

"I forget who it was, but the guy [Tony] who commented on the fact that, if Morgan actually got out of bed to look for the idol, you know it's important."
-Reddit user thekyledavid

Yes, it is now episode seven of Cagayan, and it's time for the great big idol hunt!

Everyone knows that there is an idol hidden near camp, and that it is somewhere near the water

Everyone is walking around and looking for it.   Even Morgan!

Holy shit.  It lives!

And here comes Tony with a quote that is just as good, if not better, than Kass's.

"You know it's bad when Morgan... the girl that you can't tell if she's a pillow or a person..."

"Because she doesn't do anything"

"You know it's serious when she's up on her ass and she's looking for this idol."

Action shot

6. "In the episode, "Bag of Tricks", I love when they're all getting back from tribal, and Tony sets his torch against the tree with the rest of them, and they all fall over. Then he just walks away not giving a fuck while LJ watches in the background."
-Reddit user

This is just a quick little moment, but it's a fun little visual joke that a couple of people pointed out to me.  Here it is.

Tony comes back from Tribal Council at the start of the episode

He gingerly places his torch against the tree along with the rest of them

And then, uh oh

They all fall over


7. That time he gave a fake idol clue to Jeremiah for no reason except to fuck with him.

When people talk about Tony being a spaz and Tony doing things just for the sake of doing things, this is a prime example. This is one of my favorite little Tony moments.

It's episode five, and Tony is interested in doing something today to cause some random drama in the game.

Woo and Tony have just received a clue to an idol that is hidden on their own beach

And this is where Tony gets a brilliant little Tony idea.

So basically Tony says, there's an idol hidden on OUR beach. So let's give this to a player on the OTHER tribe. The clues will be worthless to them, but everyone will think they have an idol clue now and then they will all be suspicious of him.

It's quite a devious little plan.

Even Woo agrees. Damn Tony, you're diabolical.

So why randomly fuck over Jeremiah?  Easy.

"Because Jeremiah is the strongest one here."

So Tony goes over to the other tribe during a reward raid, and he says that he has been instructed to give a clue to someone

"I've decided to give it to Jeremiah."

Tony sets the trap, and attempts to get Jeremiah's tribe to be suspicious of him

It works

These are the faces that Jeremiah sees when he comes back to camp with a useless immunity clue.  You know it's bad when even Morgan is standing up.

Oh yeah, and then after the scene, of course...

Tony has an idea. So... more running.

And here's my favorite part of the scene.  Tony goes back to his tribe and brags about what he just did to poor Jeremiah.

He tells his tribe what just happened, and how Jeremiah is fucked now

Tony can barely get through the story without laughing

And Jefra, of course, provides the punchline at the end of the scene.

"Wow, I'm just glad Tony's on my side."

8. "
It's been awhile since I've seen it so the timing or the details could be wrong but I recall the Tony and Sarah convo about whether or not he's a cop being funny. Tony says he works in construction and his tattoos are proof that he couldn't be a cop (??) When Sarah says she is a cop he tries to backpedal and admits that he is one too, and then says he's joking. It goes on for a bit."
-Reddit user

Clearly this was going to show up in any sort of a Tony character entry. Here he goes, in his first big scene in Survivor: Cagayan. Tony being an amazing character was evident right from the start.

"I've been a cop for quite a while and there is a look that cops have. And Tony's got it."

"If I'm wrong, he should go be a cop because he looks just like one."

Police officer Sarah pulls police officer Tony off to the side, and she tries to confirm her hunch.

"Will you be honest with me?  Are you a cop?"

Tony:  "No way."

Sarah: "You swear?"

"I swear!"

"You look like a cop."

"I wouldn't hide that!"

"What do you do?"

"Construction. Tiles."


"Jersey City."

"You look like a cop!"

And here is where Tony argues that he couldn't be a cop, because he has a tattoo.

Sarah: "How do you know?"

"I got plenty of cop friends."

"I have maybe like fifty friends that are cops."

Worried that he is about to be found out, Tony quickly turns the tables around and asks about Sarah.

"What do you do, Sarah?"

She's a cop?  Oh sweet.  That means that I get to mess with her now.

"You're a pretty cool girl, Sarah. You know, I got a confession to make. Want me to tell you the truth?"

"I'm not a cop."

What the fuck, Tony?

Sarah knows he's a cop because cops are easy to spot. At this point, she has no idea what to make of this fast talking odd little bald man.

Tony messes with Sarah for most of the first day (and most of the rest of the season, to be honest), but he finally gives in and fesses up that he is a cop in the second episode.  If for no other reason than he knows that something like this will get Sarah to trust him.

Naturally, Tony makes sure that the cameras are watching before he drops the big bomb on her

And then, the info.

I knew it!

"Some people have a gaydar, I have a copdar."

Tony, of course, uses this to seal her into an ironclad alliance offer.

"We're gonna be partners in crime."

And thus begins one of the single most successful alliances in the history of Survivor.

Fuckin' Tony

Oh, and since we're on the subject of Sarah...

9. The scene where Tony uses voices and imitations to elaborately convince Sarah that the Brawn Tribe is after her

"And then Woo was like, duuuuuude, let's see if I can fit my head inside this coconut."

You know how James Brown is the hardest working man in show business?  Well Tony has got to be the hardest working man in the lying business.  Check out how much effort he puts into this story to Sarah.

"This could just be my sense of humour, but I love Tony's impressions of Lindsey and Cliff when he's talking to Sarah. He's telling her about a fake conversation they had to get Sarah out, and it's something like:
Tony (as Lindsey in the whiniest voice he can do): "Awww... But I liiiiiike Saraaaahh. I liiiiike Saraahhhh."
Tony (as Cliff in the deepest voice he can do): "Hey, shawty. It's a game."
I dunno, maybe Cliff actually did call Lindsey "Shawty" and we just never saw it? I think Tony was just getting carried away in his characters haha."
-Reddit user

It's the second episode of Cagayan, and Tony has made up a story that Cliff and Lindsey are trying to get Sarah voted out.

Why has Tony invented this story?

Um, because he's Tony. Remember?  

This is what Tony does. Tony just makes up shit.

"Tony gave me some tidbits about Cliff and Lindsey."

Okay, here is Tony's elaborate lie that he has all but roleplayed out in his head.

"Alright, all I heard was this..."

"We can get rid of Trish any time.  Sarah's the smart one, though.  That's what they said."

"And Lindsey said..."

(doing his best Lindsey imitation), "Oh I liiiike Sarah!"

"I liiiiike herrrrrr."

"And then Cliff was like..."

(doing his best deep-voiced Cliff impression):  "Hey Shorty, it's a game."

(As Cliff) "You gotta be focused."

"That's what he told her."

"I'm telling you. That's how it went down."

Coincidentally, this is the exact thing Cliff writes when he signs autographs for little sick kids in the hospital

This is one of those little scenes that made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it, because Tony was so into doing his "characters" and because he had clearly put a lot of time into thinking it out.  Oh, and also because he went on to use a variety of charts, graphs, voices, and puppets to reiterate his point.

And then Trish was like "I'm comin' for ya, I'm gonna kick your scrawny ass you police officah cheapo deapo."

Sarah, of course, believes every word that Tony says.  Why?  Well because he's a cop of course!  And plus the story was so god damn elaborate.  Why on earth would a fellow cop make up a story like this?


And, of course, you know how this storyline wound up working out for Police Officer Sarah.

"Blue blood, baby.  I'm telling you, we gotta stick together.  It runs deep."

"Blue blood."

And in the end?

Fuckin' Tony

10. "In one of the merge challenges where they're balancing above water, Tony asks Woo "How you feelin' Woo?" Woo Responds: "Woo!"
-Reddit user

This one isn't really a Tony moment, but it makes me laugh and I don't have anywhere else to put it, so here you go. Woo's famous "Woo!" response.

It's episode six, and Tony and Woo are fighting it out for individual immunity

They are the last two standing

"How you feelin', Woo?"

Woo (excitedly):  "Woo!"

11. The fact that Tony is such a big motormouth...

... that he doesn't even shut up... the middle of a foot massage

12. Tony's infamous Spy Shack

Well you knew we couldn't leave this one out.

Tony wasn't the first player in Survivor to ever come up with the idea of a spy shack.

But his was sure the most notorious. 
Although I'll be damned if I post the screenshot where they put a little hashtag on screen. As always, fuck hashtags.

It's episode one, and Tony decides he wants to spy on what people are saying back at camp

So he builds himself a little spy shack

Yeah baby!

"It's not just small talk, it's gonna be big talk."

Tony explains in a confessional that he's gonna use his Spy Shack to take out the head lion (Cliff) and then take over the pride

Now, a lot of people don't remember this, but Tony actually builds TWO Spy Shacks during Survivor: Cagayan. He builds a second one later, in episode nine. Only this time it is over by the water well.

Tony sneaking off to go build Spy Shack 2.0

Boo would ejaculate if he saw this one. It is magnificent.

And, of course, this one works just as well as the first one did

He catches Trish and Jefra talking strategy

The Tony-Cam

And there you have one of Tony's greatest contributions to Survivor: Cagayan.

Well, okay, except maybe for this:

"Trish said on RHAP that she had peed in Tony's spy shack because she thought it was a pee spot. That made me chuckle."
-Reddit user Oddfictionrambles

Why does it smell like Trish in here?

P.S.  Hey, look!  More Spy Shack fun:

"I didn't know that Trish used Tony's spyshack as a bathroom(!), but I do remember Tony saying in interviews that Trish ruined the idea in another way.  He used to tell Trish when he was hiding there to get other people to come into the shelter and talk about strategy and talk about Tony.  Except Trish used to forget and just discuss food for hours on end, with Tony stuck having to listen and unable to move without giving himself away."
-Reddit user

13.  "
I love it when Tony and Trish have the pizza reward and, instead of eating it like a human, Tony just shoves it down his throat so fast sauce practically shoots out of his nose."
-from Reddit

Since we just mentioned Trish, I suppose we better talk about a pair of Tony scenes where she makes a cameo. Here's the first one.

Tony and Trish enjoying their pizza reward in episode twelve

"The entire Tony/pizza reward saga was randomly hilarious. Not just the way Tony just fucking devoured that shit but also the fact that the pizza literally looked like Lucifer's turd."
-from Reddit

Tony and Trish sit down to eat their pizza

And just like the quote said, Tony fucking DEVOURS it.


One bite!

Trish cracks up when she sees Tony eat an entire piece of pizza in one bite

Trish then goes on to comment on how disgusting it is to watch Tony eat pizza.

"I've never seen anyone snort a pizza down like Tony."

"I saw it comin' out of his nose and his ears."

"And there was sauce and there was pineapples flyin' everywhere."

"I was like whoa, dude, slow down!"

By the way, I have a quick little postscript for this moment.  There is actually a subtle little joke that the editors put in way back in episode four to set this pizza scene up.  Check out this fun little editor's joke.

"Just after the new Solana tribes returns from winning pastries at a challenge, the editors are careful to leave in a vocal grab of Tony warning his tribe mates not to eat their reward too fast, lest they be sick.  Fast forward to Tony winning the pizza reward at the final five, where he is responsible for the most nauseating, stomach-churning pizza scarfing session ever put to film. The contrast of those two moments - even given the seven-odd episodes in between - is exactly the sort of thing I love to see from the Survivor editors."
-Reddit user veallygood

Yep, and here it is.  I never even caught this before.

The Solana tribe is eating pastries they won in a reward in episode four

"Hey Shorty, it's a pastry. You gotta be focused."

And here is the little soundbyte joke that the editors left in.

Tony (helpfully): "Just be careful, don't eat it too fast."

Eight episodes later - The Pizza Slayer

14. "To prove he's trustworthy, Tony told us he lied."

This is a great little scene, and it's one of my all time favorite Tony moments.

Tony is enjoying the new Solana tribe after the twist. In fact, he likes them SO much that he decides he is going to share his most intimate dark secret with them.

"I'm gonna tell you guys, I am a police officer."

"I was only kiddin' about the construction."

See, you guys can trust me. I told you the truth.

L.J. then sits down to explain to us how ridiculous Tony's whole admission just was.

"So to solidify that he is trustworthy..."

"Tony exposed that he lied."

"Tony's a snake, yeah, and he lies. But he also tells the truth, too."


Oh yeah, and I promised you a good Trish cameo.  So here you go.

"When I first got here I was gonna say I have a son too!"

"And I was gonna swear on my son all day long!"

"And I know you guys are gonna say, hey, this guy's a liar. When can we believe him?"

"This is when you can believe me. To the end."

"Okay I gotta admit something too. That I haven't admitted."


"I'm really a man."

Oh shut up, Tyler.

And finally, we come to the pièce de résistance of the Tony storyline.  The one that everyone wanted me to include in an entry...

15. His argument that he's a construction worker hinges on the fact that he knows when somebody steals his tools.

As the guy who invented Jheri Curl Marcus Aurelius once said, "Better to stare upon the sun at least once in one's lifetime. For then, and only then, can a man achieve greatness."

Behold greatness.

It's episode eight, and Probst is about to put Tony on the spot at Tribal Council.  

Completely out of nowhere, he asks...

"Tony, line of work.  What do you do?"


Keep in mind that just about every single player in the game knows he is a cop at this point.

Construction? What?

"Loyalty play a part in the construction business?"

"Yes, you'll see it over and over, Jeff."

"You turn your eye, and one of your tools are missing."

"It's just, trust is a very very difficult thing, Jeff."

Oh, so many things to say about this moment...

In the end, how about I just post the best things that people said about Tony's "tools" lie on Reddit, or otherwise sent me in the form of construction memes.

"The tools line is so good. Like, putting aside the fact that his being a construction worker thing was lie he'd confessed to basically everyone, what the hell kind of an answer is that? Trust is important as a construction worker because everyone is just walking around stealing each others tools?"
-Reddit user

"I like how during the construction worker analogy everyone knew he was a cop but he just kept up with it."
-Reddit user

"The best is at a late game tribal.
Jeff: "Tony, what line of work are you in?"
Meanwhile everybody present knows Tony's a cop.
-From Reddit

"Tony's lies when close to being caught as a cop. "I'm not a cop, I've got fifty friends who are cops but I'm not a cop." And "being a construction worker is hard, you know when people start stealing your tools." This guy won Survivor."
-Reddit user supaspike

Hey look, we found Tony's natural enemy!

And so there you have it.  My tribute to Tony.  

The guy who Kass once referred to as "the cult leader"

The guy who runs everywhere, for no reason

The spazziest winner I have ever seen on Survivor. And yes, that includes Fabio.

A guy who moves so fast, and talks so fast, and gesticulates so fast, that at least 40% of the screenshots I grabbed of him wound up being too blurry to use.

Yet somehow, he still won

I don't know how well Tony is going to do the second time he plays, because so much of his first game depended on people not knowing who he was. And idols. And the fact that assholes around the world were always stealing his tools.  But at the end of the day it really doesn't matter.  Because we will always have the first time he played Survivor. And the first time he played Survivor was a masterpiece.  No one, with the possible exception of another construction worker, will ever be able to take that away from him.

"I'm here to lie, cheat and steal. I'm here to drag peoples' dreams through the mud so I can fulfill mine."

"Whatever I have to do, I'm gonna do.  It's as simple as that."

P.S.  Boy are people going to yell at me that this entry is only ranked down at #90.  I'm sorry, when I sat down to make this countdown, I really didn't expect that this would turn into such a strong entry.  I promise I will move it up when I get to the end and I shuffle around all the entries.  Please don't yell at me over its placement until then!  :)

P.P.S. If you still think that Tony is anything like Russell (he's not), here's a great quote from a reader of mine named Simona Del Francia:

"When I read the recap of Cagayan (researching which seasons were good to watch) the poster said "and there is a villain like Russell Hantz, but smarter." And I swear I watched all of Cagayan without even understanding who they were talking about, until someone mentioned it in game. I thought it was Kass for a wee while. Go figure."

P.P.P.S. Naturally, a few years after I wrote this entry, Tony came back for Winners at War, and he won Survivor again. Thus negating everything I said above about his shtick probably not working anymore. Um, thanks a lot, Tony.

Even worse better, Cops-R-Us later became the most successful alliance in the history of the show. Built on Sarah and Tony having undying loyalty towards each other, and an unbreakable trust of one another. And making sure that the two of them will ALWAYS get to the end. Once again, making me look foolish that, at one time, I made fun of it.

But you know what they say about Survivor legacies...

Fuckin' Tony

** Special thanks to all the people at Reddit who helped me with this entry.  And to Cory Gage for sending me a few of the construction memes. **

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