Randall: A Fierce (and Funny) Voice for Animals
If you aren’t one of the 10 million-plus people who’ve watched “The Crazy, Nasty-Ass Honey Badger” on YouTube, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Randall is the drop-dead funny narrator who manages to meld hysterical humor and quirkiness with a sprinkle of zoology. Some of Randall’s other videos include, “The Miracle of the Daffy Jesus Lizard,” “The Gross and Disgusting American Bullfrog” and “The Intoxicating Marula Trees of South Africa”— plus many more. Randall was not only gracious enough to be interviewed by Friends of Animals, but he’s narrating a surprise video, which features residents of Primarily Primates — our fabulous sanctuary in San Antonio, Texas. Stay tuned!
Randall’s videos can be viewed on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/czg123
Primarily Primates videos can be viewed at: http://www.primarilyprimates.org/videos/index.html
FoA: I want you to know: if anyone ever tells you vegans don't have a sense of humor, your videos almost shut down Friends of Animals headquarters. We got addicted immediately and couldn't stop laughing.
Randall: [laughing] Oh, I think vegans have a sense of humor…and when it turns out humans have been killing themselves by eating processed meats and chickens with chemicals? Vegans’ll have the last laugh. I’m so thrilled you enjoy my videos!
When did you know that you might have a natural talent for narration? Was this a talent you've had your whole life? I can only imagine Randall's family movies...
Oh my God — our family home movies are outrageous! High production values! Ever since I was very little, I knew I had a talent for narration. First off, since my father was Marlon Perkins’ cameraman, on “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” I was obsessed with animals, wildlife and nature. Yet always terrified of it. Being a “city boy,” I always had this admiration and love for jungles, deserts and basically anything non-urban. Simply because I wasn’t familiar with those environments. But I always felt so teased by them whenever I went to the zoo or watched “ Wild Kingdom.” Since my folks were rarely around, my grandmother and all of her friends would take me to see animals and nature. They really were the ones who encouraged me to narrate everything. And I did! I was literally like, “this…is the mailman. Watch as he delivers the mail.” I would always make them laugh and then I’d go home and share my ramblings with the parentals. It’s always been something I’ve done and comes naturally. It got me into a lot of trouble at schools. I could just never shut up; and teachers and professors would get so angry! So, what can you do?
You obviously have a fondness for animals. What gave you the idea to narrate wildlife videos?
Yes. I have a deep, deep love for animals! Humanity included. I am just blown away by the drama of it all — life itself is the greatest stage and we never know who’s writing this week’s show, you know? The idea wasn’t mine. It was my friend and assistant’s, Christopher Gordon’s idea. He was sent the original honey badger video by his friend and he came running over with it saying, “I got it! I got the video for you to narrate!” And the rest is history! He recorded me and yeah…that was that!
Where does the actual footage from these videos come from?
Well, the honey badger and some other animals’ videos come from National Geographic. We never got permission really to use them, but they seem happy we’re using it all! It’s a “win” for them as it’s a new way to use their old footage. Keeps it fresh, you know? Plus, let’s face it: those narrators are so drab and boring!
The honey badger video, especially, is both hilarious and horrifying. I swear I lost my appetite for a week after seeing the honey badger eat the cobra...
Oh please, do not get me started! I had no clue what to expect when I was first shown that honey badger video! It scared the shit outta me! I thought it was cute and then it starts doing all that nastyass stuff and I was like, “oh boy, this lil’ guy is so fierce!” You lost your appetite and I lost sleep!
The honey badger is surely one of the toughest, most badass animals on earth. Surely you'd run for the hills if you ever encountered one?
Yes. Although a part of me would want to try and get along with it. I am convinced I am capable of getting along with every animal. Maybe that’s stupid? But I honestly feel that way. I have this feeling though, I don’t know what it is, but I’m convinced if I met a honey badger, I could calmly put my hand out and get it to relax…again, as I say this aloud, it sounds stupid! [laughter]
Whether it is intentional or not, some of your videos highlight issues of endangerment and other human-imposed problems. What are your thoughts on respecting the other animals with which we share the planet? In other words, how can we all get along? (Not everyone acts like the honey badger, after all).
Conservation and a deep understanding of these animals is a must. Humans are too “whatever” these days. It worries me. The human race needs to be more aware of the dwindling numbers of animals. I mean, there are something like only five white rhinos left in the world…in the WORLD. Staggering. How did we get to this point? Does this truly mean future generations and the children of tomato, er — I mean “tomorrow,” won’t even know what the hell a white rhino is? Will they know what a cheetah is? There aren’t many of them left either. It’s pathetic. This planet is as much theirs as it ours. Period. We share this planet with other species and it’s time humans quit this “we’re the only ones here” ‘tude. I’m grateful my videos have generated a lot of attention ‘cause it’s a platform for me to educate and wake people up. So, it is completely intentional — the messages in my work. And if I can make someone laugh while absorbing wildlife facts, my mission is accomplished. I feel nothing else is working…so why not use humor to educate and get the point across, you know? At the end of the day, people aren’t stupid, they’re just self-absorbed and misinformed. We’re animals too. No different than the honey badger, the blue whale or meerkat. We’re all just trying to survive and create these lives for ourselves. When we start loving ourselves, we can learn to love everything and everyone else around us.
You obviously put a lot of effortinto learning about the actual animals in your videos. I like how they're peppered with actual facts.
Thank you! I take pride in getting my facts straight and, you know, conductin’ research. I may get a name of an animal wrong here and there, but I am honestly doing my best to present facts so people take these animals seriously!
Rumor has it that you live with a few so called pampered kitties. Can you tell us about them? Do they offer creative ideas for your videos?
Yes! The rumors are true (I love rumors and gossip)! I had four fur angels, sadly, my little Minnie recently passed away. She was amazing — such personality. She was a sweet rescue from the streets of Brooklyn. I adopted her from my assistant who made a music video with her (“Yo What’s Up Dog? (Chill I’ma Cat)”). She always used her paws to do things—so smart and loving. I miss her like crazy. I have Mona, who is 15 years old (bless her), and has a wonderful history of snuggling, killing birds and travelling. She’s like my own little, furry Betty White-cat! Then there’s Lionel — he’s a gigantic, Maine Coon feline. Very handsome. He can sit on command like a little dog! He’s amazingly bright and sensitive. What an angel. And last but not least, little Metsy Slippers. He’s a tux. Also a rescue cat from Slope Street Cats — he’s def the alpha cat — he’s aggressive, but when he wants to be, so affectionate and loving. I can coax him to walk on his hind legs! I love my babies sooooooooooooooo much. They offer some creative input, but I can never understand exactly what they mean to meow!
Who is Randall? What do you do when you aren't making awesome videos?
Who am I. Who am I? Oh my God, this is like the Breakfast Club! I am a loving, caring, sensational, fabulous, smartypants animal lover…a lover too of humanity and life itself. That’s who I am! When I’m not narrating, I enjoy dancing and writing plays. Back in the old days, I would act, write and produce plays. I miss it, but am beyond grateful and happy with what I’m doing these days. I like to shop, gossip and walk all over the place, is that so wrong?!
Has the fame gone to your head?
[laughing] Oh dear. Maybe? Just a little? No. No it hasn’t…just yet. Ask me that again when I’m tipsy!
I hope we can expect more videos. Do you have any animals you hold near and dear to your heart, -that you'd like to educate people about?
Absolutely — expect more more more! I’m also trying to get myself a network show, so stay tuned! It’s been quite a process but I’m hopeful something’s bound to bust! Yes — the elephant. I LOVE elephants and would love to educate peeps about them. I think the grand elephant might be one of my next videos. I just think they’re so sweet and I feel badly for them these days as their room and space within their environments is shrinking rapidly. Buffalos also. I love buffalos and must share this love with peeps…there’s a lot to learn ‘bout them too.
I don't know if you know: Friends of Animals manages a sanctuary in Texas that provides a home for about 400 primates and other animals who've been rescued from animal experimentation, the exotic pet trade, circuses and zoos, etc. We also have some videos of our amazing residents--and I can't tell you how much we'd love to have you narrate a video.
Oh shit! Done! Puh-lease — I would be honored…seriously I’ll make magic happen. Friends of Animals is doing what needs to be done and I’m so grateful for that. Anything I can do to help spread FoA’s word and mission, I will do in a heartbeat, love!
One last thing: everyone wants to know what you look like. Why are there no pictures of Randall?
I live by the motto, “A good narrator should be heard and never seen!”
Thanks so much for your time. We love you, and can't wait for more videos.
[confused] Is that it? [laughing] Thank YOU! Thank YOU! The pleasure was all mine, and for this reason, I now feel such guilt! Love to you, Friends of Animals and all of your awesome readers!