Tiger King's Joe Exotic Gets Hilarious Impression From Reno 911 Star On Stephen Colbert's Late Show

stephen colbert late show stephen at home screenshot

Tiger King is the Netflix docu-series that seemingly has everybody talking nowadays, and Late Show host Stephen Colbert jumped on the hype train while recording an episode from home. Colbert managed to land Joe Exotic himself for an exclusive interview! That is, viewers not familiar with Thomas Lennon may have thought Colbert landed the Tiger King star live from prison at first, since the Reno 911 star delivered a surprisingly spot-on impression. Take a look at Lennon going full Exotic for The Late Show:

Kudos to Thomas Lennon, because even though I knew Stephen Colbert hadn't gotten the real Joe Exotic on a video call from prison, I believed it for a moment. Lennon nailed the impression, and didn't even break into his own regular speaking voice until the very end, when he was called upon to sing his new song song as Joe Exotic, which was of course called "A Liger Ate My Shoes."

Even Late Show viewers who haven't had the chance (or inclination) to check out Tiger King on Netflix just yet likely could enjoy Thomas Lennon's impression for its sheer ridiculousness. Those who have already watched some or all of Tiger King had more to appreciate, especially with Lennon's line about to "ask Carole Baskin" if anybody wants to know about people being eaten. That line was naturally in reference to all the people (ranging from a Florida sheriff to O.J. Simpson) speculating that Carole Baskin of the Tiger King documentary fed her first husband to tigers.

Stephen Colbert seemed to be enjoying Thomas Lennon as Joe Exotic, although he didn't crack up. Still, he was smiling an awful lot for a late night host who has to worry about producing episodes from home and recently came off a Daniel Radcliffe interview that, though hilarious, was plagued with technical difficulties. If Lennon could make him want to laugh despite everything, then good for Lennon!

Personally, my favorite part of the video wasn't the line about Carole Baskin, the look on Stephen Colbert's face, or even the little bit of "A Liger Ate My Shoes" before the video ended, but rather this line from Thomas Lennon as Joe Exotic after Colbert asked if he felt he was accurately portrayed by the Tiger King filmmakers:

But let me tell you this. That is just a bunch of colonel's 12-piece bucket of deep fried baloney bites, okay? I am actually a very down-to-earth, pistol-packing, double husband-having, mullet man with a lot of joie de vivre and a love of America's cigarettes.

If there's a world where "pistol-packed, double husband-having, mullet man" isn't funny, I for one do not want to live there! Honestly, the best part about that particular line to me is that it's not actually all that outlandish. Joe Exotic in Tiger King did indeed pack a pistol, had two husbands, and happily paraded around in a mullet.

If you haven't caught Tiger King just yet and have nothing better to do with TV shows beginning to enter early hiatuses, you can find all seven episodes streaming on Netflix now, among many other options from our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule. As for Stephen Colbert, he will presumably continue to produce his "Stephen At Home" episodes from home while Late Show production continues to be shut down. For his part, Thomas Lennon reprises his role as Jim Dangle for the Quibi revival of Reno 911.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.