Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Randy Bailey says he should not have done 'Heroes vs. Villains'
With season 41 of Survivor delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
Randy Bailey made a statement when he was voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, throwing his tribe buff into the fire after having his torch snuffed on day 8 of the game. But now, more than a decade later, Randy doesn't blame his tribemates for voting him out. He blames himself for showing up in the first place.
"I never should have done Heroes vs. Villains," says Randy. "I was in the process of losing my job from doing Gabon and I knew that doing HvV only one year later would be the nail in my coffin. To participate on Survivor, your mind has got to be right and mine wasn't. My piss poor performance in HvV definitely tarnished my legacy. I should have done Gabon and ended it and left fans wondering 'Why has Randy not returned?'"
But Randy did return for season 20, and as he reveals in his Quarantine Questionnaire, producers actually did him a favor by not including "many unflattering moments out there that I am not proud of" in the final edit. That's not all Randy reveals. He also shares the story of a very intimate leech body check on Gabon, his pre-game Heroes vs. Villains alliance (including a member that did not end up making the cast), and what he has been up to since tossing that buff into the fire. Duck for cover, it's a Randy Bailey Quarantine Questionnaire!
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
RANDY BAILEY: A few months after the Heroes vs. Villains finale, I travelled to Kansas for a funeral and ended up staying. I had lived in Kansas as a kid for seven or eight years so I did have somewhat of a support system in place, so I figured that Kansas was as good of place as any to start over.
After a couple of years of s---ty jobs, I began substitute teaching and really liked it so I decided to pursue a teaching certificate in Texas and become a "real" teacher. In January of 2020, I accepted an eighth grade math teaching position in the Austin area so I moved back to Texas. To make a long story short, the stress of being a full-time real teacher did not work for me. I knew I would be dead in six months from a heart attack if I continued, so I moved back to Kansas and continued substitute teaching, which is a way better fit for me. Teachers out there know what I am talking about.
I wish I could tell you that I have met the girl of my dreams and have settled down and life is perfect, but I can't. What I can tell you is that I am still single and still have no interest in a romantic relationship. I work. I work out. I have my evening cocktail or two. I watch my favorite reality shows. I do a couple of Cameo videos per week. I do a Rob Has a Podcast interview once or twice a year. And life is perfect (for me).
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
I would say that my proudest moment from my entire Survivor career is actually not just one moment but an entire decade. The moment began in the summer of 2000 when Borneo premiered and ended in Gabon on day one when Jeff Probst said "Come on in, guys."
I am talking about the casting process. I began sending in audition tapes for Survivor: Africa. Year after year I would try different approaches and none of them would work, but I never gave up. I knew some day I would make it. Finally, my phone began ringing for Survivor: Fiji and I blew it. A year or so later for Fans vs. Favorites, Lynne Spillman told me that I was too old. Six months after that, I sent in my 10-minute plus audition video (the rules state a 3-minute maximum) for Gabon on a Monday, and my phone rang on Tuesday. It was Lynne and the rest is history. Lynne told me that my call was the very first and only call that has happened for Survivor: Gabon and I needed to start preparing NOW.
It took 8 years and 14 audition videos for me to crack the code and do the almost impossible. I am most proud of this. So applicants... Don't give up!
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experiences?
I never should have done Heroes vs. Villains. I was in the process of losing my job from doing Gabon and I knew that doing HvV only one year later would be the nail in my coffin. To participate on Survivor, your mind has got to be right and mine wasn't. My piss poor performance in HvV definitely tarnished my legacy. I should have done Gabon and ended it and left fans wondering "Why has Randy not returned?"
Almost forgot... having a pre-game alliance with Corinne, Ace, and Jonny Fairplay did not help my situation in HvV either.
What's something that will blow fans minds that happened out there in one of your seasons but never made it to TV?
I have told so many of these lame ass stories over the years. Everyone has heard the Randy/Corinne constipation story. Everyone has heard the story of the leech and tick on my penis. I don't think I have ever told the one when I had to examine Marcus Lehman's butthole. Every night just before dark, Marcus and I would go out in the canoe to set the gill nets. We chose to do this task completely naked because we would not be able to sleep in soaking wet clothes. One time after setting a net and while swimming back to the canoe Marcus screamed like a little girl claiming that a leech had swam into his rectum. We got back into the canoe and Marcus bent over and spread his butt cheeks for me to do a rectal examination. We were both laughing our butts off as were the two cameramen filming. Can't believe it did not make air. And I am happy to report that Marcus' ass was leech free.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
I thought my edit for Gabon was pretty accurate. What was not accurate was other people's edit. Without naming names, their edit somehow made them look fairly normal if not heroic, which made me look even more villainous. But how could I not be okay with my Gabon edit? My Gabon edit gave me another opportunity with HvV. I just wish I had been more prepared.
I did not get much of an edit for HvV. HvV was not about me. I mentioned earlier that for HvV my mind was not right to play Survivor and I had many unflattering moments out there that I am not proud of that did not make the show. Production could have really destroyed me if they had wanted, and I am grateful that they didn't. Instead, they chose to make Russell and Rob look great instead of making me look bad. Good call!
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
Before I did Gabon, I lived in my lake house in the woods by myself. I did not interact with regular society much. After Gabon, I decided that I needed to rejoin the human race so I put my house up for sale and moved to Austin, Texas where I found myself living alone and not interacting with regular society. A leopard doesn't change its spots.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
I talked earlier about regretting doing HvV. As for Gabon, I think often about what I would be doing and where I would be if I had never done Survivor. I don't know if I would be in a better place, a worse place, or the exact same place. What I do know is that Survivor has put me into this weird kind of club or community that brings me much joy and fulfillment.... for instance just doing this questionnaire, doing RHAP interviews, doing Cameos, being recognized, not to mention the lifelong friends that I have made. And my students think it is the coolest thing in the world that their substitute teacher was on TV. I often catch them watching YouTube videos of Gabon instead of doing their assignments.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your seasons?
For Gabon, you probably guessed that I keep in touch with Corinne Kaplan. In fact, I spent Christmas in Colorado with her this year. I visited Marcus Lehman a few years ago in Cincinnati. Kenny Hoang and I swap an occasional text or DM. It has been over a decade since Gabon, and we all go on with our lives and it is inevitable that you lose touch.
As for HvV, I actually lived with the one and only Coach Ben Wade in California for a few months after HvV aired. We still text and Skype. I check in on Cirie Fields every now and then with a text. We became close in Ponderosa being third and fourth voted out.
Even though I do not keep in touch with most of the people I played with, I would love to sit down with most of them and share a beer and revisit old Survivor war stories. And yes, that includes Crystal Cox.
I keep in touch with more Survivors that I did not play with than with Survivors that I played with (not sure what that means). Chris Hammons and Bret LaBelle and I went to Vegas together fall of 2019. Chris paid for everything, as usual. And then there is Twitter, where you keep in touch with dozens if not hundreds of Survivor friends most of which you have never met. And I must mention T-Bird Cooper, who takes care of me.
There are a handful of cast mates that I can count on one hand... well, maybe two hands that I have no interest in ever seeing again. And I am sure they feel the same about me. That is just how the cookie crumbles! (Heehee, I said cookie.)
Do you still watch Survivor, and, if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I watch. I have to watch. As much as I don't like what has become of my favorite show, I have to watch.
I am an old school guy. I loved Borneo, Australian Outback, Vanuatu, Pearl Islands, Palau, etc. I actually bought these seasons on DVD and watched a couple of episodes every day for the several months leading up to getting on a plane to Gabon. The game back then was so simple, so pure, so real.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
I would have loved to have played with Rudy. What can I say? The guy is an icon. I was lucky enough to speak with him a few times and he is as real as it gets. He should be the prototype for casting.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I would have to make two changes. First, the game has become too complicated. Fire Tokens. Nullifiers. Multiple idols. Multiple swaps. WTF? I can't even follow it anymore. I miss the old days of a good old fashioned Pagonging, which is no longer possible.
Second, CBS needs to stop using the show to shove their politics down our throats. I am not saying that I agree or disagree with their agenda. I am simply saying that hardcore fans like myself want to watch Survivor for its suffering and starving and bugs and crying and fights and alliances and challenges and blindsides. We can go to Fox News or CNN or watch the Oscars for all that other stuff.
With that being said... what do I know? The show has been on for 21 years and is still going strong. They must be doing something right. And I would be a liar if I told you I was not looking forward to the premiere of Survivor 41. I guess you could say that I have a perfect love/hate relationship with Survivor.
Finally, would you play again if asked?
I would make the trip to Fiji and begin the game. After the marooning in my first confessional I would QUIT. Then I would drink and eat and play golf and scuba dive for the next 39 days (or 29 days) with Mark Burnett paying for everything.