Tiger King new bonus episode roars onto Netflix, but without Joe Exotic

Hey all you cool cats and kittens. The Joe Exotic aftershow has arrived.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

One more Tiger King episode is now available.

Courtesy Netflix

Tiger King fans who binged the hit Netflix series and were left longing for more now have one more episode they can watch. At midnight Sunday, the eighth episode of Tiger King: Murder, Madness and Mayhem showed up in feeds. Called The Tiger King and I, the 40-minute episode is an aftershow, with host Joel McHale of The Soup fame talking to people from the Joe Exotic universe.

Read: CNET's interview with Joel McHale where he discusses Community and Tiger King.

The first seven episodes of the documentary series arrived on Netflix on March 20, and it's been the streaming series' No. 1 US hit ever since. The eighth episode is notably different from the others, having been filmed amid the lockdown requirements of a coronavirus pandemic. McHale appears on his couch in his Southern California home and speaks to the guests via video hookup.

"I called up Netflix and insisted on hosting a glitzy follow-up special with the highest possible production quality," McHale says in the show's early moments. "They said, 'We're going to mail you an iPhone, knock yourself out.'"

McHale speaks to a variety of people who appeared on the series, all of whom are seen in their homes appearing via video. Exotic himself is behind bars in Texas, so he's not seen. Exotic's rival, Carole Baskin, reportedly wasn't asked, but a representative said she wouldn't have participated, and big-cat trainer Doc Antle also doesn't appear. 

But zookeeper Erik Cowie, current zoo owners Jeff and Lauren Lowe, zoo manager John Reinke, animal keeper Kelci "Saff" Saffery, Joe's campaign manager Josh Dial, and Joe Exotic TV producer Rick Kirkham all show up to swap stories with McHale.

No spoilers here, but the interviewed guests appear to be pretty much as blunt as they were in the original episodes, with none of them afraid to mince words, especially when it comes to the Tiger King himself.

"This is the notoriety and fame that Joe always wanted," said Jeff Lowe. "And it's pretty ironic that now he's stuck in a cage and can't even enjoy it."

While this may be the final episode of the show, at least for now, the phenomenon that is Tiger King isn't dying down any time soon. On Saturday, Kirkham hosted a pay-per-view livestream where he spoke for two hours about his days with Joe, and said he's writing a memoir, half of which is about his life at the zoo. President Donald Trump has been asked if he'll grant Exotic a pardon, the Investigation Discovery network has announced a true-crime show about the case, and journalist Robert Moor's podcast about Exotic is being turned into a miniseries. Even Saturday Night Live's latest episode, which was shot in the various cast members homes due to the coronavirus outbreak, included numerous jokes about the series.

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