Tiger King Cast Tells All on Reunion Special: The Most Bonkers Revelations

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Netflix's global phenomenon Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness made a roaring return for a special episode on Easter Sunday, and it was filled with the outlandish twists that defined the initial seven episodes. 

The cast had no idea the series would blow up in the way that it did, but not everyone returned for the special, which was hosted by Joel McHale and titled "The Tiger King and I."

tiger king reunion

In case you've been living under a rock, we'll offer up some context here: 

Joe Exotic (real name Maldonado-Passage), is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted on 17 charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire after an alleged plot murder-for-hire plot to kill Carole Baskin went sideways. 

The special brought Eric Cowie, Jeff and Lauren Lowe, John Reinke, Kelci “Saff” Saffery, Josh Dial, John Finlay, and Joe Exotic TV producer Rick Kirkman to the small screen to answer a bunch of questions about the series. 

Joe Exotic and cat - Tiger King

Baskin was not asked to take part in the reunion, which is no surprise given some of the things that went down on the series. 

There were claims that she murdered her second husband who disappeared back in 1997, and authorities have even reopened the case following the success of the series. 

We'll run through the updates from the above names below. 

reunion tiger 1

Eric Cowie

Cowie is still the head zookeeper at the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, but he claims he has been far too busy working to sit down and watch the series. 

He must be the only person on the planet, right? 

Understandably, he does not give a damn about both Joe exotic and Jeff Lowe, ultimately telling Jeff that e is "here for the cats."

Cowie admitted that he thinks Joe will die in prison and that he deserves to be there. 

"Good riddance," he said, before blasting the people who think he has done meth because of the way he looks. 

tiger king reunion 3

Jeff and Lauren Lowe

Jeff and Lauren took over the zoo, so it made sense that they had some things to say about the success of the series. 

They found the series to be "painful" to watch, which is understandable. Many people found it to be one of the most uncomfortable shows to view. 

They also vowed that Joe was not set up, and that he is now in a cage, "where he belongs." 

As for whether they would return for a potential second season to chart more wild developments at the zoo, they are unsure. 


John Reinke

John Reinke was once the manager of the zoo, but he said he quit the day he witnessed Jeff and Dillon get into a physical altercation in the driveway. 

He has stayed away from Joe and thinks that's for the best. 

In a parting shot, he said that Matthew McConaughey could play him in a scripted rendition of the whole thing. 

We have to agree!


Kelci "Saff" Saffery

Saff lost an arm from a bite during the series.

Many took issue with the way the series misgendered him during the series, often referring to him as a "she."

But Saff was not mad about it, admitting that he has watched the video of him being bitten multiple times. 

What's more, the series is using it as a "safety video" for the unlucky people who are interested in working at the zoo. 

Despite being upset about Joe killing animals, he claims the show only showed the negatives about Joe. 

"I've seen him give the jacket off his back," he said. 

Okay then. 

As for who could play him in a movie, he thinks Johnny Tsunami would be a good option. 

josh dial

Josh Dial

Josh was Joe's former campaign manager and thought the show was fair to everyone. 

One of the biggest talking points of the docuseries involved Joe's husband, Travis Maldano killing himself after he accidentally shot himself. 

Josh claimed that Travis was not suicidal and that the whole thing was a genuine accident. 

The incident did have an effect on him, but he would like to get back to campaigning when he's in a better place. 

Josh also said that he was not surprised about Joe being sent to prison, not only because of the many crimes but because he was gay and living in Oklahoma. 

He also vehemently denied the claims that he does drugs. 


John Finlay

John was ready for the show to explode in popularity, so he watched the whole thing in one sitting. 

He was not impressed with his portrayal, noting that he was made to look like a "drugged-out hillbilly." 

He says this is not the case, is clean, and is now a parent. 

Rick Kirkham

As the producer, Rick was asked a lot, mostly because he observed a lot of crazy things. 

He was asked whether Bill O'Reilly or Joe Exotic was more disturbed, and he said that Joe is "more evil," while Bill is "more of an a--hole." 

Rick doubled down on Joe, telling stories that did not make the cut for the series, one of which involved him killing a hose after telling its owner he would give it a good life. 


"I regret ever meeting Joe Exotic," he told the host, admitting that he was "sucked into" his world.

Even worse, he still has nightmares about living there.

"I don't think Joe Exotic will leave prison alive. I don't think he'll be able to stand it," Rick said, adding that if Joe gets out, he doesn't think he'll "last long."

Rick's hope is that the series starts a conversation about freeing more animals. 

One other thing, he claims that Joe is terrified of big cats. 

Wowza, right? 

What did you think of all the latest twists and turns?

Hit the comments below. 

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is streaming on Netflix globally. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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