Tiger King: Thomas Lennon Debuts Joe Exotic Impression on Colbert

Reno 911‘s Thomas Lennon on Thursday debuted what might become his most high-profile role yet: Tiger King‘s Joe Exotic.

Lennon appeared on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in character as the Netflix docuseries’ titular big cat breeder/abuser. Exotic came to Colbert via satellite from jail, where he is “currently serving 22 years’ worth of court-ordered social distancing.” (In reality, it must be noted, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage was convicted on 17 federal charges of animal abuse and two counts of murder for hire.)

“It has been like a poop parade on Prune Avenue, and I am the dang roustabout who got handed the pooper scooper,” Lennon’s Joe Exotic said of his time in prison. “But let me tell you something, sir: Don’t just whiz in my soup and call it minestrone, Chris Meloni! Because I have been saying for so many Soleil Moons to the Frye that a great rain is gonna come, and a great rain’s a-comin’, and it’s gonna be a purple rain.

“It’s purple rain, so it’s gonna have Prince and it’s gonna have those purple people eaters,” he explained. “And if you wanna know something about people eatin’, ask Carole Baskin!”

Later, Colbert asked the faux Exotic if he was accurately portrayed in the docuseries. “There has been a lot of funky rhubarb picked in the Ted Sarandos patch, and some of it paints me to look like a chicken-fried freakazoid who is crazier than Downtown Encyclopedia Brown,” he answered. “Well let me tell you this: That is just a colonel’s 12-piece bucket of deep-fried bologna bites, OK? I am actually a very down-to-earth, pistol-packing, double-husband-having mullet man, joie de vivre and a love of America’s cigarettes.” (Lennon’s Joe Exotic says he actually wouldn’t know if he’s been properly depicted by Netflix. Asked if he’s had a chance to binge Tiger King, he answered, “No, because the Aryan nation controls the remote control,” and as such “they’ve been binge-watching reruns of The Masked Singer.”)

In a recent TVLine poll, Lennon came in ninth place among 10 potential casting picks to play Joe Exotic, having garnered just four percent of the vote — but now that you’ve seen him in the role, would you change your vote? Watch the video above, then sound off in the comments.