The Honey Badger is a tenacious beast indeed. The meme, originated in a YouTube video that channeled the Crocodile Hunter through South Park’s Big Gay Al, has spread like germs in a grade-school classroom. The high-water mark? Probably a star college football player taking the nickname Honey Badger, something sportscaster Brent Musburger mentioned several times during the BCS title game.
And, yes, Randall, the flamboyant narrator, really landed a book deal from the video, something that makes the publishing industry look suspiciously like the birds and jackals picking up the Honey Badger’s scraps in the video. But if someone can create something that gets people of all kinds (the WW office included) huddled around a glowing screen, there’s probably some touch of genius.
Randall is riding a simple equation—crude humor + weird animals = more than 30 million views—all the way to the bank with Honey Badger Don’t Care: Randall’s Guide to Crazy, Nastyass Animals (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 80 pages, $14.99). Yes, it’s pretty much an extended written version of the video, covering 12 different animals, including the pink fairy armadillo, the emperor tamarin and, of course, the honey badger. The book combines educational information with foulmouthed commentary in a way resembling a seventh-grade science report you really wanted to turn in, but for the automatic suspension. For example, in the physical description of an aye-aye, a small lemurlike creature with startling yellow bug-eyes, Randall asks, “I don’t get it—did Don Knotts fuck a bat?”
The book is teeming with the same colorful descriptions we’ve come to know from the quirky Internet personality—words like “nastyass,” “largeass,” “bonyass.” Most readers will find something amusing, but much of the humor of the video is lost without Randall’s narration, and you quickly get the gist. You’ll get more laughs for your money by sticking with the YouTube version.
At least Randall gets his good intentions out in the introduction: “Peace, love, and the protection and care for animals, through education and comedy: That is my mission,” he writes. He dots all of his i’s with small blue hearts, so we’ve gotta believe him.
GO: Randall will speak at Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm Tuesday, Jan. 24. Free.