Joe Exotic interview
Joe Exotic files paperwork to run for governor at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (Tres Savage)

With the release of Tiger King 2 on Netflix this month and a subsequent lawsuit from that woman Carol Baskin, Joe Exotic is back in the 24-minute news cycle. I’m not sure he ever left, despite being incarcerated in federal prison after a 2020 conviction of attempted murder-for-hire and violations of animal welfare laws.

I somewhat famously interviewed Joe Exotic in September 2016 when he had been kicked out of a Donald Trump fundraiser at the home of Hunter Miller, Barry Switzer’s son-in-law.

A year and a half later, I conducted another Joe Exotic interview at the State Capitol on April 11, 2018, near the end of the teacher walkout. Moments before the interview, Exotic had filed to run for governor as a Libertarian, so I asked his thoughts on the historic revenue-raising bill passed just prior to the walkout by the Oklahoma Legislature. (Joe Exotic’s answer was similar to then-candidate Kevin Stitt’s.)

I also asked Joe Exotic whether he was still mad at President Donald Trump, a question that evoked a pretty good one-liner from Oklahoma’s favorited mulleted maniac. It’s too bad I didn’t remember I had this recording when he and his advocates were asking Trump to pardon him last year. Fortunately, Joe recently wrote a letter calling Trump a “fool” for not pardoning him.

So with Joe Exotic once again back in the public eye, what better time could there be to empty my digital notebook into the trashcan of the internet?

You can read a transcription of this Joe Exotic interview below, or you can listen to the 83-second recording, if you want to hear what a human Pall Mall sounds like.

Tres Savage: I’m guessing you recorded a video in front of a bunch of tigers talking about this, but what’s your feeling on the teacher walkout?

Joe Exotic: You know, I support the teachers 100 percent, because the educational system in this state has got to be improved. But we ain’t got to raise taxes to do that, and one thing that I’m against is they raised [the tax on diesel by six cents], and it just costs our own school buses $1.2 million, approximately. They’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. And the smartest thing I’ve seen, at least this morning, is they’re considering consolidating superintendents, and that’s where most of our money needs to come from. But instead of taxing people, I’d like to see us go back to vehicle inspections.

Tres Savage: If you’d have been governor, would you have signed the revenue bill that they passed?

Joe Exotic: No.

Tres Savage: You wouldn’t have signed it? You would have vetoed it?

Joe Exotic: No. I would’ve vetoed the whole thing. 

Tres Savage: Anything else? What’s the message around the state coming to you?

Joe Exotic: Well, we got to hold people accountable, OK? Especially departments like the health department.

Tres Savage: You still mad at Donald Trump?

Joe Exotic: Am I mad at Donald Trump?

Tres Savage: Yeah, you got thrown out of his fundraiser. That’s the second-most viewed video we’ve ever gotten on our YouTube page.

Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s got some issues. I think instead of draining the swamp, he filled it full of millionaires. But we’re gonna fix Oklahoma — for the people, for a change.

Tres Savage: I appreciate it.

Joe Exotic: Thank you, sir.