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Joe Exotic – King of the Quarantine

COVID-19 sounds like the name of a local hardcore band. Like, I feel like if I were to say to you, “Yo, you remember Daryl from Broke Finger Nightly? Well, him and the drummer from Our Undying Threat started this new band COVID-19 and they’re playing down at the Legion this Saturday,” it would sound more logical as a statement than the reality of the Global Pandemic that we find ourselves sheltering from as I type these words out. We are living in some strange times. So, I don’t know that it should come as a surprise that the hero of the moment, the savior to our collective boredom/insanity born from being locked down in our own homes with a Netflix password and a unnecessarily gargantuan supply of toilet paper is a man named Joe Exotic.

Joe Exotic is the subject of the latest Netflix offering Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, a docu-series much like the streaming service’s Making a Murderer that seems to have brought us as close to a mono-cultural moment as you can get in New 20’s. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have probably heard about it, or seen a meme about it, or have been told by nothing short of five of your friends that you have to see it. I don’t know how this happened. Netflix’s algorithm knows us better than we know ourselves, and it figured that in this time of massive fear and uncertainty that what we really needed was a gun wielding, big cat owning polygamist with a horrifyingly bad STLB who is currently serving 22 years in a federal prison for two counts of murder-for-hire, eight violations of the Lacey Act, and nine of the Endangered Species Act. And the weirdest part of it all? The algorithm was right.

To me though, the one takeaway from the Netflix show that has stood out in all of this is how much of a goddamn banger “I Saw a Tiger” is. See, for those who haven’t seen Tiger King yet, our man Joe Exotic is not just the owner of hundreds of lions and tigers and other assorted animals that no one really needs to ever own, but he is also a musician. Eh, musician might be too generous. The dude sings. Original music. A quick Amazon search shows that he has released five CDs. Meaning Joe Exotic has released more original albums than Jeff Buckley. One of those songs, the aforementioned “I Saw a Tiger,” plays a few times during the seven episode series, but is played in full as the final credits roll. The first time I heard it, I joked that I should cover it. But somehow, now four days after hearing it for that first time, the goddamn thing has been stuck in my head. And what’s ridiculous about this is that I don’t think it’s a terrible song! Okay, the video is atrocious. But is “I Saw a Tiger” any more ridiculous than “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” or “I Wish Grandpas Never Died?” I’ll tell you right now that it isn’t. Okay, the one line about how they “killed all the tigers in the holocaust” is pretty goddamn ridiculous and borderline offensive, but Joe Exotic has a really good voice.

Anyway, here’s me covering “I Saw a Tiger.” This quarantine shit has really gotten to me, and it’s dumb things like this that are going to help me through these trying times. I hope you are all well and taking care of not just yourselves, but those you care about. And even those you don’t. Please do your best to help Flatten the Curve. I would like to go see a tiger before the end of the year…

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