First Joe Vs. Carole Trailer Highlights Self-Aware Kate McKinnon Alongside Familiar (And Explosive) Tiger King Moments

Viewers are finally getting a first look at the long-anticipated Peacock series Joe Vs. Carole, starring John Cameron Mitchell as Joe Maldonado-Passage and Kate McKinnon as his rival, Carole Baskin. The trailer above promises an all-out war between the big-cat enthusiasts, as well as all the absurdity that initially attracted audiences to Netflix’s zeitgeist-snatching 2020 docuseries Tiger King. Just as it went in the docuseries, there will clearly be no shortage of guns and explosions either.

Saturday Night Live vet Kate McKinnon seems to be bringing a self-awareness to the role of Carole Baskin, especially in the smaller moments, such as the irony of Baskin’s being allergic to cats. But this won’t be just a dramatized retelling of Tiger King, as the Peacock series is based on Wondery's podcast Joe Exotic: Tiger King and will dive into the history of Baskin and Joe Exotic’s animalistic feud. The trailer promises to give audiences the other half of the story: 

Discover the untold origin of America’s wildest feud. The sensational story that gripped America was only half the tale. Larger than life. Stranger than fiction.

Tiger King certainly was stranger than fiction, so I’m really intrigued to see what Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell’s performances will add to the story. The trailer shows Carole Baskin speaking with investigators about Joe Exotic’s history of abusing animals in an attempt to shut down his roadside zoo, and he doesn’t take kindly to Baskins’ attempt on his livelihood. It results in Exotic launching an offensive of his own, as shown in the trailer when he blows up a mattress, and Baskin comedically describes him shooting a blow-up doll that was dressed like her.

While this story couldn’t be told without its comedy, Joe Vs. Carole — which was previously titled Joe Exotic — looks like it’s going to take a dramatic turn, as Joe Exotic says, “Someone’s gotta kill that bitch,” and Carole Baskin and her husband Howard are shown buying their own firearms. The trailer even shows a man coming out of the woods and seemingly pointing a gun at the bike-riding Baskin. The real-life Joe Maldonado-Passage is currently serving a 21-year prison sentence for a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting Baskin, and many of his experiences since Tiger King's debut have been anything but comedic.

Along the way, Joe Vs. Carole looks to feature a number of moments familiar to Tiger King fans. Joe Exotic’s three-way wedding to John Finlay and Travis Maldonado, complete with hot pink button-downs, is shown, as well as him dressing up in a king’s robe with a scepter for the filming of the documentary.

The wardrobes are a thing of beauty, and could have been taken right from Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin’s closets — even Baskin was shocked to see first looks — with Joe Exotic’s infamous nothing-but-a-Speedo look, as well as him rocking a vest over his bare chest. Baskin is, of course, donning nothing but animal prints, and there’s a quick joke about what appears to be her Dancing With the Stars costume.

Joe Exotic and his crew captured the intrigue of viewers with Tiger King's documentary footage, and adding the humor of Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell into the mix has definitely piqued my interest. Here's hoping the fictionalized version can reach the same heights as the docuseries.

Joe Vs. Carole premieres Thursday, March 3, on Peacock, with all episodes debuting in one fell swoop. Check out some cool things you can get with a subscription to Peacock Premium.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.