The jaded, unblinking gaze of Big Brother may have actually flinched a bit when Joe Barber, the twenty-something receptionist from Chi-Town, made his presence known in the BB house by regaling his fellow houseguests -- and a good part of the North American continent -- with stories of an ex-boyfriend who gave him an STD. Joe’s penchant for story telling became a liability when the star of his gonorrhea tale strolled down the stairs, and Joe never recovered entirely in the eyes of his fellow houseguests. Whether they found him trustworthy or not, after talking to him I could see why he was chosen for the show, because on the phone he’s animated, vibrant and funny – a lot of fun to talk to, actually.
Hi, this is Joe!
Hi Joe, I’m from Fans of Reality TV!
So how are you today?
I’m a little disappointed but making the best of it.
I know, I understand. I wasn’t sure I’d be talking to you today. Things got pretty confusing for viewers the past few days.
It really seemed like you swung the house vote for a while.
You know, at one point I did! But once one person jumps ship at this state in the game, everybody follows suit because you don’t want to be the odd man out when it comes to voting.
Who’s vote did you think you had?
At the best moment, I thought I had eight votes! I thought that I was able to get Eric, Zach – because originally I had Jessica, Nick, Kail, Mike and Jameka. And then because Nick was going to vote for me, Zach was going to vote for me. I really felt that Eric was leaning towards me. And Daniele, she might as well have gone on my side because everyone else was. But all of a sudden it all came crashing down because Daniele didn’t want to ruin her relationship with her dad, and Eric apparently had to vote me out because of America’s Choice, Nick who jumped ship because – for whatever ambiguous reason he gave me, then Jameka, then Mike didn’t do it, and Zach does whatever Nick wants to do, and then – you know, I told Jameka and Jessica not to vote for me if I didn’t get the votes so they wouldn’t stick out.
What time did you realize it wasn’t going to go your way?
I didn’t realize it until about twenty minutes before [the live show] that it wasn’t going to go my way. Down to the wire, it seemed like things were going well, but Nick concocted some fabricated story about me saying something that was obviously not true just to back out of voting for me. I was pretty upset about it, but at that point, I went ahead and told Jameka and Jessica not to vote for me.
You mentioned Eric, so now that you know about the America’s Choice Player, what are your thoughts on that?
I think it’s a brilliant twist. It’s the best twist they’ve had in seasons. I think it’s a great way to get the public involved in each and every episode, each and every week. Give Eric some sort of task to do – and in a way, it’s like America is the unofficial houseguest. They get to affect the game play each week instead of just having a sporadic America’s Choice. I think it’s a brilliant way to pull the viewers in and Big Brother really outdid itself this year with that.
Before the show started, they didn’t tell us which houseguest was America’s Player, and I thought it would be you. How do you think you would have done with that?
I think I would have done extremely well had I been America’s Player. With my crazy off-the-wall attitude, it kind of plays up the same positive aspect of Eric -- that if you got caught doing one of those things, you’d easily be able to spin your way out of it.
I think you would have been good at it.
Thank you, thank you. I think so, too.
What did you think about Eric sleepwalking?
Oh, I knew it was Eric. I knew Eric had tried to get into my bed. I knew he wasn’t sleepwalking, he said that he never had before, and I kept accusing him of it constantly. But everyone just told me I was dreaming, and eventually I just let it go because no one was buying it, and I would tell them, “You’ll all see when we get out of the house.” So it’s kind of nice that I ended up having the last laugh with that.
So I have to tell you -- some of the houseguests were talking behind your back, and they were afraid you would leave with some drama, like you would turn around and out alliances as you were walking out the door. Did that ever cross your mind?
It definitely did cross my mind but more so in the giggle fest that was mine and Jessica’s time before bed. Jessica and I would sit there and we’d just tell these absolutely ridiculous stories. The best thing ever would be to secretly bring a hose into the house, and as I got evicted, just spray everybody down with the hose. Just because everybody is dressed so nice for the shows. All their make up would have run, it would have been hilarious. But of course they’re all just funny little jokes. Nothing that I would have actually planned on doing. Maybe, depending on how you look at me, I think I’m a pretty classy guy and I went out with style and grace, which is how I pretty much do everything. [silly voice] Wink!
So you were part of this season’s twist – you had a rival in the house.
Having a rival in the house was very difficult. I felt like it gave you the biggest handicap from the start, because not only are you having to play the game and work through the beginning portion of the game, getting to know people and what not, but you have a person there that you know, so everybody feels that you guys are faking it and that you’re in an alliance together. You’re sitting there trying to work through your emotional baggage while you’re playing the game as well. I felt like, you know, everybody starting the race right at the same line, and as the person says “Ready, set,” and as they say, “go” they take the starting gun and point it at your leg and shoot you – then they say, “Go!” So all of a sudden you’re falling to the ground, and everyone else is up and running. You’re like, “What the heck? I just got shot in the leg. I can’t race, I can’t run. I’ve been working towards this race my whole life.” I’ve been working to play this game for so long, and from out of the starting gate, to have someone there I hated, someone who brought out absolutely the worst qualities in me – qualities that I easily would have been able to disguise or easily able to hide had he not been there – it’s a handicap from day one. It really provided a big challenge that obviously I didn’t overcome.
When you first were talking to others in the house, you were already talking about Dustin. It made you come across as a little vindictive, but they were hearing one side of the story. Do you think –
Well, I believe I painted a picture where neither of us was the victim. I painted an equal picture where Dustin had done some things to me and I had done some things to Dustin. I didn’t want to ever paint myself as the victim because I never felt that I was.
But did it ever come back to bite you when Dustin turned out to be in the house?
Yeah, you know, in retrospect, it did. People in these interviews have asked me what my greatest regret is, and that is that I was so vindictive with the Dustin thing – that I constantly trash-talked him. You know when you talk down about someone it really reflects on you ultimately. In retrospect, I should have let Dustin enter the house and let people make their own assumptions because soon enough, people are going to realize what a douchebag he is. People can figure it out on their own. When you push people so hard, they’re more reluctant to see it. I ended up kind of shooting myself in the foot there.
How do you think you ended up nominated by Jen? Why you?
I ended up getting nominated by Jen because I stirred the pot with her and Nick. Jen’s nominations were completely surface level. She put up Dick and Daniele because would both make fun of her to her face and were completely rude to her. Then she said that I was going up as a replacement nominee and she certainly followed through with that. The only thing was that two hours later she was apologizing to me, Kail was crying and saying, “Why did you do it, Jen? Why did you do it? We could have used his vote.” And suddenly I am evicted from the house. Jen absolutely regretted her nominations. I ended up there just because people pushed me there.
What was your lowest point as far as campaigning? I’m a feed watcher, and I can say that you really worked hard to get votes.
Thank you, I appreciate that. The worst part about getting those votes is having people look me in the face and tell me, “Yeah, I want to vote for you” and then knowing 20 minutes before the show that they had been lying. It was really tough because all I asked in the beginning of my campaign was for people to be honest with me. You know, as much as I hate them, Dustin and Amber were at least straight up honest and said, “No, we’re voting for ED.” Whereas every other person either said they were on the fence or said they were voting for me.
Do you think if the situation was reversed that Dustin could have talked you into voting to keep him?
If Dustin had asked me for his vote, I actually would have kept him in the house because then he certainly would have owed me and that would have been a great stride to building some trust between us.
So, is the house doomed to be boring now that you’ve left?
(not missing a beat) I don’t think even a single viewer is going to tune in next week now that I’m not on the show.
Ha! This isn’t the last you’ve seen of me on any platform whatsoever. I’m excited to move forward into different arenas of my life. But yeah, either way – if I had gone home or if Dick had gone home, they were losing one great person.
I didn’t watch The Early Show so I didn’t get to hear the explanation of why you were reacting to the face Dustin made in his goodbye message to you.
He constantly was trying to, even in our relationship, trying to always be better than me and one-up me because I’m an extremely confident person, and he took that almost as an attack on his own persona because he’s not as confident with who he is. His message to me was that I’m not the person I was two years ago, and my reaction was to laugh because, “No, duh!” I’m not the person I was two years ago. I was a naïve little boy who bought that you were a pretty face and a nice person. Now I just think you look like an old man trying to yell at me from your rocking chair on your porch of bitterness. All I wanted to do was apologize to him, and I got that. I got my closure that I needed, I got the guilt off my conscience, and he’s still trying to get the last word in. It’s just sad. I really do wish him the best. I hope he moves forward and is able to get through this, but based on what he told me in the house, and based on how he’s behaved in the last year, it’s obvious that he has a lot of bitterness towards me. I just wish him the best to get through that because I know what it’s like to hold onto that for a long time. I’m just glad that I got the opportunity to apologize for it.
I’d like to just read off some names and you could give me your opinion of that houseguest. What do you think of Zach?
Creepo! I can’t wait until they cast Live Action Shrek, because he’s a shoe-in.
(laughing) You’re killing me. How about Kail?
I think Kail is super sweet. She’s really nice. She’s an honest player, and it sucks because for some reason Evel Dick is just focused on her and obsessed with getting her out of the house. He’s stirred up a lot of negative press for her inside the house, he’s been campaigning against her; and people are starting to buy it even though it really has no merit.
So what about Evel Dick?
He’s a really strong player. He’s a force to be reckoned with and I think he’s going to go far. I don’t think he’s going to do it being trustworthy and honest, but he’s going to do what he’s got to do to stay. He even told me that he would vote out his own daughter if it would help him.
How about Jessica?
Jessica is the epitome of perfection. She’s smart, she’s sexy, she’s hilarious. She’s one of the few people who genuinely make me laugh. She really cheered me up any time I was down.
Aww, that’s sweet. What’s your impression of Nick?
Nick is a Casanova. He flirts with everybody and everything. But it’s mostly surface level. He’s a good person but he’s playing a game, and he’s not playing it well. I think he’s going to go in the next couple of weeks.
Was he flirting with everybody, both guys and girls?
Yeah, he flirts with guys and girls. I think he’s a great example of how all people should be. Just because you’re not homosexual or just because you’re not into a guy or a girl doesn’t mean you can’t flirt and be nice. Flirting makes everybody involved feel good. If more straight guys were comfortable with their sexuality and could do that – I think he sets a great example of how all men should be.
Just a few more – how about Daniele?
I think Daniele is a really smart player. People have to watch out for her. She’s something fierce. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say.
Jameka is very honest. She’s got a great big heart. She’s very caring, and she’s got a great sense of humor. She’s got a different style to her and it was something I really appreciated.
Now, can you tell us what is up with Jen?
Um, Jen is up with Jen. She’s just so – her head is so far up her own butt she can see out her own eyes still. She’s so all about herself. She’s completely self-absorbed. She does actually have half a brain which she hid very well, I think sometimes even from herself. Jen is Jen’s number one fan, that’s for darn sure.
I can’t tell if that’s an act, or –
You know, nobody can. It’s not just you. Nobody can.
Would you like to tell us what your future plans are?
My future plans? I’m going to see what opportunities come from this. I’d love to get some more on-camera time; I was extremely comfortable in front of the camera. I’d love to be some sort of personality. I feel like I really have a lot to offer, and hopefully that shows, and people pick up on that.
Is there anything you’d like people to know about you?
That I appreciate everybody’s love and support, that I had a great time doing it. I hope people take the things I said with a grain of salt and love me for I am. Take me or leave me, I’m Joe Barber.
Well, thanks so much for speaking to me today.
I appreciate it too!
And thanks to CBS for the interview.