The Funny 115 - The Third One

#7. Rodney's Impressions
Worlds Apart - Episode 9 (among others)

Before we get to this entry (which is actually pretty short), I just wanted to say something about Rodney Lavoie, Jr.

Just because it's something a casting producer told me a couple of years ago, and I thought you would find it interesting.


A few years ago, I had a chance to speak to one of the current casting directors of Survivor. And I asked him what the producers are looking for when they cast someone on the show. I was like, what is it that makes a difference in somebody's casting application? Are you specifically going for looks? Charm? Strategy? Charisma? A great audition tape? Are you looking for a specific character type? What is it?

And his answer was very simple.

"Rodney," he said. "What I'm looking for is Rodney."

Rodney in an electric blue suit? Even better.

The guy explained to me that Rodney from Worlds Apart was basically the PERFECT applicant for a show like Survivor. Because from a production point of view, the guy had everything that they're looking for.


Check. No one has ever been more confident than Rodney.


Uh... yeah.



Sometimes doesn't get along well with others?



And check

The casting guy basically explained it like this:

Rodney is super charming and super charismatic. And he's also super confident. He thinks he has it all figured out. And on some level, he really DOES have it all figured out. He knows that the key to this game is you have to be the clown around camp, and you have to be a character. You have to be the guy who people like to have around, because you make everyone laugh.

"And so I said to Dan, oh my god bro, those aren't pillows!"

He added, here's why Rodney is the perfect Survivor candidate. If Rodney wins the game, great. If he wins the game, he's gonna hustle every single minute to get there, and it's going to be amazing to watch. If Rodney ever wins a game of Survivor, that's a season that people are going to be talking about.

It's because I'm the best

But here's the other thing, he said. If Rodney loses a season of Survivor (which is far more likely, given the odds), it's ALSO going to be great TV. In fact, watching Rodney go down in flames is probably going to be even more entertaining than watching him win. Just because he's so mouthy and because he has so much bravado. If Rodney fails at Survivor, he is going to crash and burn HARD.

I can't believe I lost to that silly dumb redneck

So put it all together, and you have Rodney Lavoie Jr.: Nature's perfect Survivor candidate.

As the casting guy pointed out, Rodney is young. He's good looking. He's in shape. He's quotable. He's funny. He's cocky as all hell. He has absolute one hundred percent confidence that he can beat you in anything. But he's also far more likely to lose than he is to win. And watching him lose is going to be even more fun than watching him win, because he's probably going to go down in a spectacular ball of flames.

In other words, from a TV point of view, Rodney is EXACTLY what you look for when you're casting a Survivor player. 

Whether he wins Survivor or he loses,
as a producer, you win either way.

Also, he doesn't have a tattoo on his damn face

Oh, and two last things.

The other thing that was great about Rodney, the guy pointed out to me, was that he has a very strong regional accent. Casting producers LOVE people with a strong distinct regional accent. And, of course, Rodney's exaggerated Boston accent is one of the best.

And then there was the last thing the casting guy pointed out to me. Which is the whole point of this entry, of course.

You wouldn't think so just by looking at him... but it turns out that Rodney can impersonate just about anyone.

The guy is hilarious!

The Impressions Master

Seriously, pay attention to Worlds Apart the next time you watch it, and count how many people Rodney is able to impersonate.

Here he does his Deniro

Is Robert Deniro not good enough for you? Well how about his impression of Tony Vlachos, stuffing his face with pizza?

Mmmppppfffff, somebody's stealing my tools

Or what about this super subtle impression of Bruce Kanegai?

"Mama C, I gotta go."

Okay, maybe that one was a stretch.

But there's no way you can overlook this amazing impression of Rupert Boneham.

I caught a fish! I poked it with a stick! I caught a fish!

And speaking of Pearl Islands, here he is as Burton, laughing at somebody's ass.

Alright, admittedly, these probably aren't some of his better impressions.

In fact, some of them just aren't very good at all.

But now we'll get to the impressions that people actually remember...

"I'm on an oil rig. What time're we s'posed to get lunch?"

The Rodney Impressions

The impression scene that most people remember is the one at camp in episode nine.

Where Rodney acts out a whole conversation between Mike and Dan about loyalty.

*Yells in hoarse*

*replies in smug*

*responds in hoarse again*

This scene is so funny, and so memorable, that I'd say it is probably the single funniest moment between seasons 21-30 of Survivor.

If The Funny 115 were just a list of standalone scenes, this conversation between Mike and Dan would probably be the number one entry.

It's so funny that it even makes Jenn care about something for about five seconds

She laughs so hard, she actually starts kicking her feet



I'll get back to the famous Mike and Dan scene in a second, because obviously that's the big highlight.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this wasn't the ONLY time that Rodney impersonated one of his tribesmates that season.

Oh Mike Holloway. For we shall become true BFFs.

The first time we see one of Rodney's impressions in Worlds Apart is in episode three.

Yes, he already hated Mike, the big silly redneck, in the first week of Survivor.

It happened that fast.

See, Mike has been criticizing Rodney for not doing enough work around camp

In that way that he does, where he opens his mouth really loud, and he screams

And Rodney is a little sick of hearing about it

"Is there a C around your shirt, bro? Are you our captain?"

So in episode three, we get this scene. Where Rodney complains about it to Dan.

And he first breaks out his infamous Mike impression.

"This is a fun game. This aint an oil rig."

And now the Mike impression is born.

Rodney lowers his voice to a scratchy yell... and he screams...

"This aint an oil rig in Texas!"

"You gotta work hard! You gotta work extremely hard!"

"And if you don't work this damn hard, then you won't get booted off!"

Rodney then goes on to extrapolate on the meaningless of life if you're a redneck from Texas.

"I'm not a hick."

"I don't grow up in this environment. You understand what I'm sayin'?"

"I don't live this kind of life."

"Maybe he does in that hundred thousand dollar ranch that he owns."

"Because that's what Texas is worth."

"Houses in Mass cost four hundred thousand dollars, 'cause people WANNA live there."

"Aint NOBODY wants to live in Texas!"

Dan can't disagree with this, so for now that's that.

Although I should point out that Rodney then immediately goes back to camp...


And he stands behind Mike....

You gotta work hard, guys. You gotta work extremely hard.

And Rodney mocks him.




Thus proving that not only can he do a Deniro, Rodney can also do a great Chevy Chase.

This is a great gif to save, by the way. Use this on the internet any time you disagree with some other Survivor fan's argument.

Yeah sure, Parvati totally should have won Heroes vs Villains

So anyway, that's the first (and second) big Mike impression.

Which leads some other people on the tribe to point out...

"Rodney can be kind of a drama queen."

Although here's something fun. Did you ever catch that Rodney busts out an impression of a DIFFERENT tribesmate in the following episode?

A lot of people don't remember this one, because it happens so fast.

It's episode four, and he's talking in the water

And he suddenly breaks out the crying Lindsey impression.

"The winner..."

"Is on the blue collar."


This one is nowhere near as elaborate as the Mike impression, but it comes completely out of nowhere.

And it always makes me laugh.

Lindsey, apparently

Rodney's impressions kind of disappear after that for a couple of episodes.
But don't worry, there's plenty of other Rodney fun going on in the middle of the season instead.

Because episodes five through eight are where we get the other players in the game now impersonating HIM.

Do you remember these scenes?

In episode six, there's a picnic reward. And, as usual, Rodney doesn't get any.

And Shirin takes a moment to imagine what Rodney is probably whining about at camp right about now.

"Man, I woulda destroyed that thing!"

"I need the protein!"

"God, what a tool!"

In episode seven, we get an even better Rodney impression.

This time it is Carolyn impersonating him.

I love this one. This one's great.

"As soon as we got to the merge, Rodney's like..."

She immediately drops down into a thick Boston accent.

"Final four, it's us."

"We're tight. We're gonna go theh."

You'd think Rodney would have a Mama C impression all set up to go as revenge, but he doesn't. At least not yet, he doesn't.

And why not?

Well because he's busy having a big boy crush on Joaquin

The exact opposite of chicken pahm and tuna fish

Okay so we're now up to episode nine. Now we're up to the big one.

Accept no substitutes

At this point in the game, his best bro Joaquin has just been voted out.


And Mike is still calling the shots.

In that way he does, where he's still always yelling all the time

Double Crap

And Rodney has more or less turned into Mike's sidekick, Luc Longley.

Triple crap, but in Australian

And this is where we get what I would say is the funniest scene in this whole era of Survivor.

Even Jenn thinks so

It's episode nine.

And Rodney's team has just lost the infamous Dead Fish reward challenge.

Will Sims

Rodney's team lost, so they don't get any chocolate. They get no prime time reward story.

They're going back to camp empty-handed, and they're pissed

So five pissed off 'Mericans go back to camp.

And the first thing they do is they kill one of Jenn's chickens.

Why do they kill one of Jenn's chickens?

Well, I asked Jenn, and she said it's because all of them suck.

I can forgive them, but I don't have to because they screwed with my chickens

So they're all sitting around camp now. Eating chicken. And talking.

And Rodney's trying to cheer people up because everyone is kinda depressed.

And this is where he busts out the full and complete power of the Mike impression.


It all starts when he brings up a quote Mike said at Tribal Council last night.

Rodney's voice drops down now into the Mike Holloway range.

And he starts screaming in hoarse...

"You know, Jeff!"

"We're all out here doin' the saaaaaame damn thing!"

"With the saaaaaaame dang people!"

Will hears the Mike impression (maybe for the first time), and he absolutely loses it.

The rare Will Sims upskirt

Off to the side, Joe hears what a perfect impression this is of Mike's voice, and he turns to his friend, Jenn.

"Are you hearing this?"

Yes indeed. I am indeed hearing.

Rodney then continues with Mike's little rant

"It's the saaaaaame dang people!"

"But you wonder... who are them people gonna be?"

Will just keeps laughing

Even Carolyn has started to laugh now.

Remember, these other people haven't been on Rodney's tribe all game.

It's possible they have never heard him do this before

Well this is... I guess... interesting

Rodney, of course, just keeps on spouting little Mike-isms.

"Jeff, I think I'm on the choppin' block tonight!"

"I know I heard m'name come up five or six times tonight, Jeff!"

"It could be me goin'!"

"You never know, Jeff!"

And this is where Jenn finally cracks.

She finally loses it.

She laughs so hard, in fact, that she actually leans back, and she starts kicking her feet.

As a comedian, that's when you know that you've got someone

Joey Amazing, of course, just stands there in awe.

"Oh. My. Gosh." he says to Rodney

"Nailed it."

Somewhere, Vince Sly watches this exchange at home, and he starts crying.

If only Joe could have heard all of MY great impressions

So Rodney has just impersonated the shit out of Mike.


And Will is now sitting there, laughing and cheering.

Yes! That was awesome!

And now Rodney decides to double down on the fun, and he adds a SECOND impression into the mix.

Yes, it's our old friend, Doctor Dantavius Foley (left)

Rodney impersonates Dan from last night's Tribal Council as well.

"So Mike says that. And then you hear Dan saying..."

Now Rodney gets all smug, and know-it-all, and condescending, and he goes into his Dan voice.


Dramatic pause, to ensure extra airtime

"Ya knowwwww, Jeffffff..."

Another dramatic pause again, for the cameras

"It comes back to a story of me and my friends in Maaaaaaine."

At this point, Will just absolutely loses it again.

Even Rodney actually loses it at this point.

Now they're all losing it.

More feet kicking

The impression should be over at this point. Because everyone's laughing, and cornholing.

But luckily, Joey Orgasmic is there.

And like a good cult leader, he encourages Rodney to keep going.

"Keep going. Keep going. Don't stop, man."

So Rodney continues.

Now he does Dan spouting wisdom to Jeff Probst.

"Jeff. You gotta appreeeeciate good people when you come by them."

To which Mike responds...

"I agree! I agree!"

"I agree one hundred ten percent with Dan, Jeff!"

Will quickly corrects him on that line. Because that's NOT the way that Mike describes percentages in this game.

Will quickly suggests...

"Do a hundred fifty thousand."

So Mike changes it to...

"I agree a hundred fifty thousand percent!"

At this point, Jenn has probably even forgotten the name of her chicken they just killed. Because everyone is laughing so hard.

Jenn even begrudgingly compliments a guy who she hates.

"I didn't know you were this good at impressions, Rodney."

And we end, of course, with Rodney firing off one final burst of shouted Mike cliches.

"There's gonna be a lot of betrayin'!"

"A lotta lies!"

"And mistrust out here!"

"Cause you never know who it's gonna be!"

"Aint nobody safe out here!"

And that's why, between the impressions, and the Rodneyisms, and the DAMN birthday thing, and the Joaquin bromance thing
, I agree with what the casting director said at the start of this entry.

To me, he's the greatest Survivor character between seasons 21-30.

Apologies to Rick

Oh yeah, and remember when I said he owed Carolyn an impression of her? Well he actually does one in episode twelve. Hope you didn't forget about this one.

This one is fun because it involves a Queens accent, and him thrusting his boobs out.

"This is what Survivor's about, baaaaaby."

"I went on every single rewarrrrd."

So here's to Rodney Lavoie Jr. The king of impressions. And nature's perfect Survivor candidate.

The guy who is always watching you, and studying you

He's the realest dude to play this fucking game.

And if he's not, then he'll probably just impersonate someone who is.

My friends in Maaaaaaine would agree with that, Marrrrrrio.

*Dramatic pause, to ensure airtime*

You're good people.


P.S. Okay, and now for the bonus links!

I told Rodney that I was writing this entry a couple of weeks ago, and I asked if he had any videos sitting around of him doing impressions of any other Survivor players. Just because I had heard that he does a LOT more impressions than we ever saw on the show.

And luckily, he sent in a bunch of extra videos for you to enjoy.

* The first video he sent was this secret scene from the show, where he breaks out his Mike impression for the first time. You may have seen this one before. It has been up on Youtube at times in the past: Rodney Impersonates Mike

* Here's a private video Rodney sent me where he imitates Mike for ten seconds. It cuts off pretty abruptly at the end, but this is where I stole the Dr. Pepper line from: Mike's Got His Dr. Pepper and His Popcorn

* Here's Rodney doing Dan Foley's whole Fat Guy/Bamboo shtick

* We never saw Rodney impersonating Max on the show, but here's a video of him doing the perfect Max Dawson voice

* Here he is impersonating Max's audition video for Cambodia

* Here he is with a filter impersonating Mama C

* Want to see Rodney do Trump?

* Here are some non Survivor, movie-related ones: Rodney doing Sonny from A Bronx Tale, and Rodney doing Scarface

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