"Joe was terrified of big cats." 13 things we learned from the new episode of Tiger King.

Besides the fact we’re all stuck inside our houses and dealing with a global pandemic, there is one other thing the world has in common right now: We are obsessed with Netflix’s Tiger King.

It’s been just a little over three weeks since Netflix released the documentary series that has the whole world rooting for a “gay, gun-toting cowboy with a mullet” against our better judgement and greeting everyone on Zoom with “Hey all you cool cats and kittens”, and it’s safe to say we wanted more.

Enter: A new 40-minute ‘after show’ episode called The Tiger King and I, hosted by comedian Joel McHale.

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness official trailer. Post continues below video.

Video via Netflix

Bless you, Netflix.

Here’s what we learned when Erik Cowie, John Reinke, John Finlay, Kelci Saffery, Joshua Dial, Rick Kirkham and Lauren and Jeff Lowe reconvened (in social distancing-approved video interviews) to talk all things Tiger King.

1. Precisely nobody likes Joe.

tiger king new episode
Image: Netflix.

For some reason, the general public felt sympathy towards Joe after we watched the original seven episodes (Cardi B even started a GoFundMe to try to get him released from prison), but none of the Tiger King stars want to see him go free.

Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison for animal abuse and plotting a murder-for-hire.

Zoo employee Cowie said "good riddance", and that Exotic would likely die in jail. He didn't speak highly of his former boss at all, calling him "an arsehole".

"Joe was an arsehole, man. You couldn't talk to him without getting yelled at."

His coworker John Reinke said Exotic tried to keep everyone else lower than him, and regularly told him he'd never know how to run the zoo on his own.

"We got into plenty of verbal fights, he was always belittling somebody, always," he said. Also, uh, he said Exotic blew up his golf cart and cabin, just because.

Zoo keeper Saff said "justice was served" when Exotic went to jail, but he doesn't want to see him die inside.

Director Rick Kirkham (who we must point out did his interview with his singular AirPod upside down, bless), said he regretted ever meeting Exotic.

2. Criticism of portrayals.

The docuseries faced criticism for misgendered Saffery, a trans man better known as Saff, but Saff himself wasn't worried about it.

"I don't think it bothered me as much as it bothered everybody else," he said. "I didn't really pay it any mind."

tiger king animal abuse
Image: Netflix.

More bothered by their portrayals were Exotic's former campaign manager Joshua Dial and ex-husband John Finlay, who both objected to insinuations they used drugs... especially meth.

"I was portrayed as a drugged-out hillbilly," Finlay said. "At that time, I was four to five years clean."

Jeff Lowe said he was unhappy with his portrayal: "They tried to sensationalise the story a little to give it a villain, and the villain is right here," he said, pointing to himself. We think Carole Baskin would object.

3. Jeff Lowe wears leather jackets for a reason.

Lauren and Jeff Lowe. Image: Netflix.

McHale decided to ask Lowe about his fashion and nanny instead of his past criminal activity (including that illegal exotic animal business we saw in the show), which was a... choice, but it did provide us with some information.


Lowe owns about 60 or 70 Affliction brand t-shirts and wears a leather jacket all the time because his arms get scratched working at the zoo. Fun facts!

4. Hitman Allan Glover's bathtub interview remains one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

Allan Glover's interview, from the comfort of his bathtub, emerged as one of Tiger King's most WTF moments and it looks like it will remain that way.

No one, not even Jeff or Lauren Lowe, had any idea why the heck that happened.

5. Josh Dial wants therapy.

Not much was shown about the trauma Exotic's former campaign manager Josh Dial suffered when he witnessed Travis Maldonado accidentally shoot himself, but Dial told McHale he still had to go to work in that same office everyday, and see the bullet hole in the wall, for a year and a half.

He wasn't able to receive therapy after the incident, and neither Exotic or Lowe offered to help.

(Dial said Exotic however spoke to a shaman about his husband's death, which Dial said only worsened his condition).

Dial is now trying to raise money so he can get the help he needs.

6. Saff's tiger attack was used as a zoo safety video.

tiger king new episode
Saff. Image: Netflix.

Saff really doesn't have a problem talking about the tiger attack that resulted in him having his arm amputated, and in the new episode explained he never received any compensation for the accident. In fact, the footage of the attack was used in the zoo's safety video.

Saff also said he trusted the tiger that attacked him more than Exotic.

7. Joe Exotic is... scared of big cats.

According to Rick Kirkham, the Tiger King himself was actually terrified of the animals he kept captive.

"The shots that you see [in Tiger King] where he's in there with two tigers... the white one is blind and the other one was on tranquilisers. It's funny that he's become so famous as 'the Tiger King' when he's so terrified of big cats."

8. John Finlay's tattoo was NOT FINISHED, GUYS.

tiger king new episode
Joe Finlay (and his new teeth!) Image: Netflix.

Remember when we watched John Finlay's tattoo above his pelvic be covered by a tattoo that didn't... cover... it?

Turns out, that wasn't the finished product. Finlay said his tattoo artist has been receiving lots of hate over the job, that most thought was poorly done, but it was unwarranted. Now the tatt's fully covered, and he'll unveil the full thing at some point in the future.

9. Why was John Finlay shirtless?

Finlay explained this was for a very simple reason.

"I got tattoos, why not show off? It was a little cold, but it was fun."

10. Very Important News: Erik Cowie does not do meth.

tiger king new episode
Erik Cowie. Image: Netflix.

He felt the need to share this PSA, and considering the amount of times meth was alluded to in Tiger King... well, we can't blame him.

"I'm old man, that's what happens," he told McHale, referring to his "jacked up" teeth.

"It's what's going to happen to you too. And no, I don't do meth, I never have, I like sleeping too much. I used to have a drinking problem, and now I do not. So, f*ck all ya'll, man." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

11. Rick Kirkham is still haunted by his time at the zoo.

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Rick Kirkham. Image: Netflix.

Kirkham, who did get therapy about this time in his life, told McHale he still has nightmares to this day about living at Exotic's zoo.

"I want to put this chapter away," he said. "But it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

12. Animal abuse.

Rick Kirkham said he regretted not exposing the abuse of animals when he lived on the zoo. He said he saw Exotic shoot a horse, tigers and lions.

He said the attention now being shed on animal abuse and animal captivity was the one positive to come from the docuseries.

"People are now going, 'Free the animals'," he said. "I think that’s the best thing."

13. The Tiger King movie wishlist.

Fictional portrayals of Tiger King are already on the way, because of course. One limited series will see Kate McKinnon as Carole Baskin, and Ryan Murphy is considering a show with Rob Lowe as Joe Exotic.

Asked by McHale who they would want to play them in a film, Reinke said Matthew McConaughey, Saff named Johnny Tsunami actor Brandon Baker, and Kirkham suggested Billy Bob Thornton.

Many of the cast did not appear in the reunion-type episode - most notably Joe Exotic himself, because he's in jail, and Carole Baskin, who has been very critical about her portrayal in the series.

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Feature images: Netflix.