In anticipation of tonight’s episode of Deadliest Catch — in which friends and family say goodbye to Phil Harris — the captain’s son Josh Harris spoke to EW today about missing his dad, the outpouring from fans, and how he and his brother, Jake, hope to buy the Cornelia Marie.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You said on The Tonight Show that you are trying to raise millions of dollars so you and your brother can buy the other half of the Cornelia Marie. Have you set up some sort of fund in Phil’s name? Fans may want to help out.
JOSH HARRIS: Not yet. I really don’t know how to go about this stuff, and I really don’t want to depend on our fans to help us. I’m hard-headed. I’m trying to figure all of this out. I want to be able to do it on my own. My old man got the boat on his own. I’m just going to check out a couple of avenues and if that doesn’t work, we’ll go a different route. The last thing I want to do is beg for help from complete, utter strangers.
Talk about the outpouring of support from fans.
It’s been quite different. A lot of people will come up to me who have never seen the show, or they just started watching, and they are in a state of shock. They don’t even know the name of the boat. They just know the name of the captain who passed away. Everybody wants to give you hugs, give their condolences, tell you their stories. They try to comfort you in every which way. I’m very thankful for all the people who genuinely care. They don’t know anything about me or my brother or our situation but they really care. It’s really bizarre to me.
How do you feel about the way the show’s been edited this season?
I think they have done a wonderful job, I’m actually kind of shocked. I have not been able to watch tonight’s episode. I’ve had the copy of it sitting on my table for five days now. I stare at it. I saw the commercials for it a couple of nights ago, and I just broke down and lost it. My biggest fear is crying in public, and that was in public so it f—king sucked. I think the story is being told in the best way possible. The old man wanted to go out big. The only different way he had in mind was to be 70 years old, popping about 50 Viagras and having a 21-year-old Vegas hooker. That was the original way he wanted to go. But I think this way will suffice for him.
Leno showed the clip where you heard your dad say he loved him. What was that like to watch?
That f—ed me up a little bit. It’s a process, I’m working through it. He was pissed. He thought he was a failure and that he f—ed up. That irritated me so much. He’s such a good guy, and he had such a big heart. To be in the last moments of your life and think you are a failure, just broke my heart. It absolutely crushed me because he wasn’t a failure at all. He produced two good kids and did the best job he could with the cards he was dealt. We weren’t born rich. Everything we’ve got, we earned. It’s not like Discovery has handed us a house full of money. I think I got $1,000 and a fruit basket that I have never seen. They say they sent it!
Did you ever think about telling the cameras not to film that hotel room shouting match you had with Jake?
Oh you didn’t see the half of it, sweetheart. There was more, all right. They chose not to show it. They showed Jake leave nice and casual out of the room. It didn’t happen quite that way.
What’s your relationship like with Time Bandit captain Johnathan Hillstrand?
He’s been such a huge support system for me and my brother. I can’t thank him enough. This has not been an easy task by any means. I’ve been in shock and so numb through this whole thing. Everybody has been kind and gracious and patient. It’s nuts. I don’t know what to say right now except this whole f—ing thing is crazy. I miss my dad a lot. I don’t know how you are supposed to feel in a situation like this. It sucks. I lost my hero, my best friend, my buddy. I don’t know what to do about that.
What is the future of the show?
I can tell you one thing: that I’m pretty sure me and Jake will be battling next year. What weapons come out between the two of us, I don’t know. Who gets the first black eye, I can’t tell you. What I do know is we will be back in full force one way or another, hell or high water. I can see myself making sure that the boat sticks around — whatever it takes to make sure that f—er is running and my guys are employed, I will be right there every step of the way.
Maybe you can start tweeting from the boat.
Some of the guys at Discovery are really into tweeting. I don’t even know what this tweet thing is about. Apparently, you’re supposed to tweet “I’m taking a poop now” or “I just used three toilet tissues.” Sig Hansen [captain of the Northwestern] apparently is a tweet master. But Sig also has a mullet and thinks he can go on Dancing With the Stars. I’ll leave that sh– to the Norwegians and people with mullets. And Kim Kardashian.
Back when the producers first came to you about doing a reality show based on your lives, what did you think?
My initial reaction went a little something like this: “Uh, cool.” They put the camera on me, and I didn’t know what to do. “Am I walking funny? Do I need to do my hair? Do I look at the camera?” And they’d go, “Don’t look at the camera, look at me.” So then you find yourself talking and moving your hands really oddly. They just kind of freely float around. It’s kind of like a Ricky Bobby thing. “I don’t know what to do with my hands. The car was real fast and, uh….” That’s about how I felt.
Did you worry about cussing too much on camera?
F— yeah, but I gave up worrying. It’s how I talk. I don’t have a really good mute button, and it really sucks when I’m around children. I go do school appearances and talk to kids about drugs and stuff, and I seem to always drop the f-bomb by accident. The little kids will look at me and say “He just said f—.” And I’d be like, “Sh– you are right!” Then they go, “He just said sh–!” I’d say, “Dude, I need to get the f— out of here.” You wanna talk about a problem. But I got a good heart. I try really hard.