The Worst Dirty Job Mike Rowe Ever Did

Most reality show stars, when asked about their worst experiences, usually don’t have very many to think about before arriving at an answer. But virtually everything that former Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe knows is “terrible experiences,” albeit ones that he got to leave behind after taping. For a recent Reddit AMA, Rowe was asked about the most shockingly awful situation he’d ever found himself in while on that show, and his answer below may give you the heebie jeebies if you’re at all claustrophobic.

In the Coast Guard, buoy tenders are responsible for hoisting these giant steel contraptions out of the ocean, and refurbishing them. In this case, 'refurbishment' means 'crawling into a woefully inadequate tube not much larger than the space taken up by your shoulders, and wiggling your way like a worm into the shadowy depths whereupon you begin to remove the barnacles and various other forms of nautical life with a stick or some other improvised tool.' I could go on, but I won't.”

It might surprise you to find out that I, someone who sits down at a computer for at least 10 hours a day for his job, am not at all interested in finding out what refurbishing an ocean buoy is like firsthand. I’m barely able to wrap my brain around this secondhand. There’s a lot of bullshit that Rowe went through for Dirty Jobs, from picking through bird vomit to cleaning up sludge, but those are merely gross without preying upon an innate human fear of being trapped. I wonder who they’d get to wipe my screams off of the walls after I’d escape that situation.

At this point, I’m kind of surprised that Rowe hasn’t been tapped to come up with horror movie concepts yet. “You see, it’s like The Descent, only inside of an ocean buoy.” I’d watch that between barnacle-covered fingers.

During the AMA, someone else asked him about any jobs that he wanted to go on that were considered too dangerous or inappropriate. His answer was a rendering facility, and here’s his surprising reason why it was off limits.

Aside from the fact that "rendering facilities" are by their very definition optically horrific, there was another concern that I had not considered. That concern can be spelled out with the following letters.M-O-B.That's right - the Mob is still involved in a surprising number of rendering facilities. Why the Mob has such a rich history in garbage-related industries and rendering-related industries is a conversation beyond my pay grade.

So yeah, the next time you start to complain about your job, just remember that you don’t have to deal with the Mob or super-tight spaces on a daily basis. Unless you do. Check out Mike Rowe’s new show Someone’s Gotta Do It every Wednesday night on CNN.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.