Tiger King: Is Joe Exotic the Incarcerated Queen of All Media?

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You've all presumably seen it by now, yes? If not, binge it. We'll be waiting. SPOILERS are contained herein!

Netflix's Tiger King is the series of our present time: the time of "Coronatine."

What else have we got to do other than binge every tasteless piece of crap within grasp? Seriously though, thank the good demons for all binge-TV right now!

Joe Exotic and cat - Tiger King

Sidenote: we thought we'd share some of our favorite Tiger King memes throughout this piece for your enjoyment, and as an invitation for you to provide your own favorites in the comments section below.

The "star" of Tiger King, Joe Exotic, is definitely a media hound, having, admittedly, pulled no punches in using the press -- regardless of any perceptions of idiocy -- to his advantage.

Specific media-fueled hijinks -- like his tragic presidential and gubernatorial campaigns -- top the list.

Tiger King meme 8

Borrowing from Howard Stern's former self-proclaimed moniker, is it time to admit that Joe Exotic is now the incarcerated Queen of All Media?

We surely don't want him to be. I mean ... right? That would be preposterous!

The man is serving a 22-year prison sentence for his role in the murder-for-hire plot presented in the series and violations of federal wildlife laws.

Tiger King meme 6

We witness damaging testimonials in the documentary such a the embezzlement allegations made by his then business partner, Jeff Lowe.

We witness Exotic's extremely inappropriate behavior at the funeral of one of his husbands -- in front of the mother of the deceased!

And we witness first-hand accounts that Joe's two husbands were -- indeed -- STRAIGHT and tied to Joe through his enabling of both their debilitating meth addictions.

Joe Exotic and his two husbands on their wedding day - Tiger King

The dude is in prison. But he's fucking loving this, from his solitude. Hell, he's already told the filmmakers who he thinks should play him in the movie (and I'm going to do my part by not reading the article I just cited ... for now, anyway).

But audiences are eating it up, much like the tigers Joe alleges have done with the remains of Carole Baskin's former husband, Don Lewis.

We love trainwrecks. It's our thing -- as humans. Is it schadenfreude, or just a disbelief anything so cartoonish could be real?

Tiger King meme 3

Well, we know it's real. Other zanies from the show are popping up here and there to refute claims made, and while they might suffer shades of embarrassment, they have got to be enjoying their newfound "star-status."

Carole Baskin's current husband, Howard, recently released a video to shower support and love on his wife, stating that he is the "luckiest man on earth" because they've never had an argument or -- even weirder -- never have had to ever come back and say, "I'm sorry," to each other.

Honestly, that whole video is creepy AF. You don't argue with your wife? You never say, "I'm sorry??" Something in Denmark just might be rotten.

Tiger King meme 2

If someone feels a need to babble about such cheesy drivel, popular culture says you're either really weird or maybe just not completely honest.

And no, I'm not saying I believe Carole killed her husband. I'm also not not saying I believe Carole killed her husband.

The Big Cat Rescue website, where Howard's video lives, also refutes the many allegations Joe Exotic and the others have made against the Baskins and their non-profit company.

Tiger King meme 9

On the organization's website is a rather colorful and defensive explanation of life with Don Lewis prior to his disappearance. 

Sure, Carole feels a need to defend herself, but her description of Don's failing mental health includes his "refusing to use the bathroom and defecating outside."

A detail like that hardly seems necessary. Advertising such embarrassing and sad information to the world is just plain peculiar and -- truth be told -- mean.

Tiger King meme 12

What is also odd in the blubbering defense is the text vacillates between first-person and third-person, which makes one wonder who actually wrote it. But that's neither here nor there.

The Baskins are upset about having been betrayed by the producers and filmmakers of Tiger King, claiming they were told the plan was to make a big cat version of the Sea World expose documentary, Blackfish.

Maybe the filmmakers did attempt that goal at first, who knows?

Tiger King meme 7

But once someone -- anyone -- gets digging into a cesspool of saliva-inducing fecal madness -- like the subjects of Tiger King -- how could such a person not focus on the soapy crime-infested drama and backstabbery therein?

It's clear everyone involved loves media attention, or -- chances are -- they wouldn't have agreed to participate.

But Joe Exotic and company have become the stuff that memes are made of. Think any of these folks care to contribute any of their skyrocketing fame to Joe? Were it not for him, I don't think we'd ever have heard of these people. 

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But back to the memes thing. People might not yet appreciate how huge the Tiger King meme business is right now. In fact, just a couple days since joining the Tiger King Memes Facebook group, I received this notification, that 10,000 posts had just been added!

Tiger King Memes post notification

Aside from some definitively LOL-worthy memes, and some public discussion of who should play him in the movie, our social media newsfeeds are riddled with Joe Exotic photos, articles, videos, quotes, and -- yes -- songs.

While watching, I was rather weirded out to be admitting that I enjoyed listening to the guy's singing voice and decently written/played tunes.

Tiger King meme 4

I am no country-western fan, but I could appreciate the surprising talent, especially his wildly haunting,  accusatory, and -- dare I even think it? -- rather brilliant  "Here Kitty Kitty."

The clever tune is supported by an almost-good -- but ultimately repetitively executed -- music video in which he cast a Carole Baskin lookalike to feed meat and human body parts to her tigers.

Color me relieved when I discovered these talents weren't those of Exotic's but of two real musicians, Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton, who apparently were not paid for their work, Shocker! 

Yup, Joe Exotic pulled a Milli Vanilli.

Haven't you taken enough, Joe? It's not enough to tar and feather the reputations of everyone around you, but you gotta' out-imposter the other phonies in the industry, too?

Tiger King meme 1

Yet here we are, day-after-quarantined-day of ingesting anything and everything Exotic. Sounds like a bad porno.

A bad porno isn't much of a stretch here.

I fully expect to see Joe Exotic lunch boxes for the kiddies soon enough.

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And then -- for the adults -- Joe Exotic branded dildos, butt plugs, and ball stretchers. (And NO, JOE, we do not want to see your frickin' Prince Albert, put that thing away!)

Tons of skits and parodies have already been produced and published, and David Spade not only has released multiple interviews on Lights Out with the Tiger King cast, but he has also "auditioned" to play him:

What does it say about us as a culture that we continue to suck this shit up, like the starving dirt-sucking vacuums we are? Granted, a bulk of Tiger King's popularity is undoubtedly due to the majority of humans being stuck in their homes these days.

But we are sick people. Yup, I fully admit I'm one of them. 

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And folks are watching this thing over and over again! A friend of mine texted me just now as I'm writing this that "Exotic got 22 years and I've watched it 22 times!"

Text about Joe Exotic - Tiger King

There's even a Tiger King Support Group on Facebook! I don't recall a docuseries reality buzz like this since The Jinx, or maybe Making a Murderer prior.

With so many press outlets conducting and releasing interviews with the one and only Joe Exotic, we are bound to see the flamboyant degenerate icon hosting his own late-night show soon enough.

What will end it? Well, the next preposterous trainwreck docuseries, of course. Until then, we sure do have in Tiger King the best trashy guilty-pleasure series about trashy people to last us -- at least -- through Coronatine and maybe beyond.

Tiger King meme 13

Be sure to watch Tiger King a few more times. Let's bring on season 2 and a hell of a lot more federal convictions!

And don't forget to shoot us -- we don't mean shoot us for cri-yi! -- your fave memes in the comments section below.


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Kerr Lordygan is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Netflix Quotes

[In confessional] If other players don’t trust me, that doesn’t matter. What matters is if they’ll listen to me. Do I trust Avori in this position? I wouldn’t trust Avori to pass me the salt and pepper. If she is The Mole, she could sabotage the whole thing.


Kaz: You were hired to do a job.
Inej: Yes, the job was to pick up a fake for an easy million kruge. We found a living Saint who can summon the sun.
Kaz: A good magician is a good con artist. The trick is to make it look real.
Inej: This is different. You saw her summon with your own eyes.
Kaz: The best illusions are the most convincing. That's the game.
Inej: You can hide behind your cynicism, but I believe she's the real thing.