Joining the jury this week was Dave Ball, the 38-year-old glib talker who lists his home as Los Angeles, where he works as a fitness instructor. “Danger Dave” had the unpleasant experience of being secure in a tight alliance that outnumbered the other side, only to see it all dissolve when one member of his group turned on the others. In this interview, Dave’s personality comes through in every line – and I’ll just leave it at that.
John told me last week that he told the remaining Galu members that Russell had the idol. I was wondering, why didn’t try to sway somebody from Foa Foa to get Russell off?
We did attempt to sway someone, and throwing John under the bus was a peace offering to show they could trust us, ironically enough. We tried to sway Jaison, I threw down with a speech that would have made vestal virgins lift their skirts, man. Orders of old would have been, “Bravo, Sir! Well done.” But Jaison didn’t sway because he just wasn’t playing the game, I guess. I told him, “You’re never going to beat Russell at the finals, you’re never even going to make it to the finals. You’ve spent all of your money on an advantage for an immunity challenge, which is stupid to do unless you think you’re fourth on the totem pole at Foa Foa. And if you think that, why do you think you’re going to make it to the final two or three unless you’re a strong physical competitor, which you’re obviously not. But if you flip, Brett and I will take you all the way to the end – and you know what, here’s why you can trust us: we’re pretty sure we can beat you, except that Brett and I are going to split the Galu votes and you’ll get all the Foa Foa votes. You just might have a chance at winning this thing. You want to go to Tribal Council sitting on the right side. You go with us.” It was brilliant. Way more brilliant than that. In an effort to get him to trust us, we sold John up the river because he punked out and flipped on the Laura vote.
After the merge, Galu had a clear advantage numbers-wise. When did it start to fall apart for you?
When Russell played the hidden immunity idol and blindsided Kelly.
It was all downhill from there.
Are you kidding me, losing a goddess like that? Of course it’s all downhill from there. Are you mad, sir?
What do you think of Russell’s style of game play?
So far it’s getting the job done so you can’t really say too much about it. It’s brutal, it lacks finesse, but it gets the job done.
Every season we see Survivors sitting around discussing the food they miss. Does that go away after time? Did you stop talking about food?
When you’re on the island? Are you mad, sir? Not even remotely. That’s like – Mick and Jaison would be like, “Seriously, stop talking about food,” and it’s like, “No man, I want some nachos with everything, [shrieking]I want some guacamole!” Snickers bars, you could go on all day – because you ain’t got nothing to do. The days without a challenge were the worst. You were just sitting around going, “We ain’t got nothing to do but daydream.” There ain’t no fish in that freaking lagoon. The biggest fish I saw was only three inches long, and there was only one of them, and only two 2-inchers. And that was it. And you can’t catch those things with a spear. And guess what, those throw nets? Unless you grew up throwing nets they’re impossible to work. You know what I mean? It’s like flying a plane. Just because you’ve seen planes fly overhead doesn’t mean you know how to fly.
During the football challenge, you said it wasn’t your sport. So after being on TV, are you getting more love now?
You know, a gentleman never tells.
Why risk a million for Laura?
Why risk a million for Laura? The obvious and easy answer is that she would have done the same thing for me. She wouldn’t have blinked. We were a team, and honestly, any other move would have been stupid. Look what happened to John. Anything else would have been retarded. Think about it. You’ve got numbers, but if you flip you ain’t got numbers any more. John was stupid and cowardly to flip, bottom line.
Are you shocked that the jury is all Galu at this point, and do you think that might be because you chose to keep Galu at the merge and not play an individual game?
I’m sorry, what? That was two or three questions in there.
There was two questions. Are you shocked that the jury is all Galu.
Uh, not after John flipped. After John flipped, it’s like, “Okay, we’re down in numbers.” It’s only surprising if you’re an idiot who cannot count.
So it’s John and not the fact that you guys didn’t play individual games?
John played an individual game and he’s gone. Erik listened to John, and he was gone. So playing an individual game – the only one out there playing an individual game is Shambo, and she’s not really even playing a game. She’s just lashing out at the demons of her past.
John said last week that he felt Russell is the greatest player to ever play the game of Survivor. Do you agree?
First, let’s put that in perspective. John has never seen the show before and doesn’t know how to play the game, so he really wouldn’t know. The second answer is, there are several different games going on within the overall game of Survivor. There’s the social game, the game in challenges, there’s apparently a hidden immunity idol game, and there’s a strategy game. How did Russell do in challenges? Pretty poor. How about socially? Also, pretty poor. But John likes making big statements that make him sound intelligent, like, “Brett’s just young and not very smart” when in fact, Brett is much smarter than John and only two years younger.
What is the hardest part of the Survivor experience for you?
(big sigh) Watching my family get taken out. Watching Kelly get blindsided was probably the worst moment of the game because she didn’t do anything to anybody – and she was a champion. She was a fierce competitor with a good heart. So was Laura. She was amazing. She was absolutely sweet as punch. Shambo is a complete and total wing nut who had a grudge against her because Laura represented everything that Shambo could never be: competent and bright and strong and funny and well-liked. Watching all those people get taken out just from bitterness from an emotional child is just…just gross. It’s a crime, it’s a sin. But you know what, the Lord moves in mysterious ways, baby!
What was the easiest part of the experience for you?
Gosh, I don’t know. The easiest part from me was transiting from real life into the intense experience of no food, no shelter, bring on the competition. The part that made most people flip out, I really enjoyed.
I wanted to know how Shambo’s chicken soup tasted.
You know, I was late to dinner so all I got was some chicken feet and some broth. But honestly, at that point of malnutrition, salty water tastes pretty good. You know what? Shambo can make a pretty decent chicken soup. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t really get any meat, I had some chicken feet with some claws and bones and scales and stuff. Like I said, I was late.
What was your relationship with Shambo? I read somewhere that you tried provoking her and getting her upset, was that true?
There was a point in time where Erik encouraged me to stir the pot, stir the flames between Laura and Shambo.
So what was your personal relationship with her?
(matter-of-factly) A romantic one.
I want to understand the whole Shambo versus the 90210 group stuff. Was Laura really mean to her?
Laura was never mean, ever. And if she was, they would have shown it. Does that make sense? Does everyone in reality TV media agree with that?
I agree with that, I just want to hear you say it.
Laura was nice as punch. We were trying so hard to be nice to Shambo that we were snapping at each other. I love Kelly, I love Laura, and I was snapping at them. Brett is my main guy, my number one alliance, and I was snapping at him because we were trying so hard to be nice to Shambo when she was obviously just flapping in the wind.
There was a scene where Monica suggested that Russell had the hidden immunity idol and you dismissed her. Any thoughts on why that happened?
It’s because we won the clue to the hidden immunity idol and we looked around and could not find it. It turns out that he had already found the idol before we got back with the clue, and I just assumed that we would have the chance at the idol because we won the opportunity. That’s how it’s been in the past but that’s just not how it played out this season. It was a gamble, and we lost. Kelly went home and to an extent it’s my fault, and I regret it. But there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk.
How much was the whole tribe aware of how deceptive Russell was?
An hour after we got back from the merge, we were all clear on never to trust anything Russell said – except for John, ha-ha! The rocket scientist. Of course, he also believed Shambo, so wow. I fear for our defense industry.
Did you know that Shambo was having crazy dreams about getting rid of you?
(chuckling) No, she didn’t reveal her psychoses to everyone else, only to the camera. When she gives those face – she’s a viper - you should look at her eyes, it’s like, wow! Somebody schooled in reading faces could say, “That is not a particularly healthy individual.”
Could you have taken down Jaison if he hadn’t had that advantage?
Are you talking about the immunity idol challenge where I almost beat him? Yes. For me that’s not even a question, that’s a certainty. I almost beat him. If he hadn’t had the clue, Natalie would have beat him. I’m saying that as a certainty. Natalie was a champ in that challenge. She was awesome.
Was Mick actually doing more strategy than we’ve seen or was he just sitting around letting Russell and some of the others do the work for him?
The latter, not the former.
Brett was your number one – when did that begin?
Day two. I went up to him and said, “You’re the smartest guy here.” But not in an ass-kiss way. I was like, “Listen dude, I can tell – you’re the one who’s sharp. You and me, final two. Think about it. No pressure. Whatever you decide, it’s totally cool.” Then I left him alone for an entire week. On day 8 or 9, I asked him what he thought. At first he didn’t trust me but by just leaving him alone, then going and playing my tail off in challenges, super hard, working around camp, he learned he could trust me.
What would you say you got the most out of your Survivor experience?
Oh…(thinking) I’d love to make a dirty joke but it would totally be untrue. You know what? I got a whole new family. I got Kelly and Laura and Brett, and they’re my family. A million dollars, a schmillion dollars. Jim Rohn – the late Jim Rohn, may he rest in peace, said “Making a million dollars is easy. But family, that’s valuable. That’s true wealth.” So I feel like a rich man.
Before the merge, you guys won a lot of the challenges –
We won them all, baby! Oh, except for the ones I didn’t compete in. My bad.
So that means Foa Foa had more practice with tribal councils. Do you think things would have been different if you’d gone more?
Wow. That is such an incredibly broad question. If we had lost a few more then yes, things would have been different. The numbers would have been completely different and the makeup of our tribe would have been completely different. Shambo would not have been in the picture. Depending on how many we lost, Chief Russell wouldn’t have been in the picture either.
Is there anything about the experience you wish you could have changed?
Yeah, I wish we could have had Chief last one more day so we could vote out Shambo.
How was that experience of Russell being taken out of the game?
It was a drag. But I mean, God – low blood pressure? Come on, you can snap back. Dehydration, seriously, with doctors on the scene with IVs? I wasn’t terribly worried.
It looked like you were.
Social game. If you’re a callous dickhead it’s really going to look bad for you on the jury. But if you look like “Oh my gosh I’m so concerned” just like everybody else – you mirror people’s actions, faces, best as you can. You want to be one of the tribe rather than leader of the pack. Which is one reason why Chief worked himself metaphorically to death because he was afraid of the stigma attached to being leader of the pack. It was that fear that drove him, and that’s why he kept working, kept working, and didn’t drink any water. It’s like, “Dude, chill out” but he couldn’t.
When you were waking up that one morning and Russell was there looking down on you, did you notice that he had the immunity idol around his neck?
No. It was a new moon at that period of time. It was darker than you can imagine. Unless you’ve been spelunking, you’ve never been in darkness. All right, awesome, we’re in a black cave 100 miles underneath the earth and you hold something up to my face and I won’t see it – of course I don’t see it, my rods and cones only work with light in the visible spectrum. There is none, I can’t see in infrared like the cameras can.
Was his apparent wealth such a secret?
I didn’t know about it; it was a surprise to me.
What was that moment like at Tribal Council when he put the idol around his neck because it seemed like such a moment of arrogance?
My initial reaction was, “Wow, what a douche bag.”
I was wondering –
What my website is? Dangerdaveball.com.
I was wondering what you think Foa Foa will do now that they’ve got the numbers on their side, whether they will just ditch Shambo or what do you think is going to happen?
Or whether they’re going to hold her, caress her and keep her warm at night? Well, Foa Foa has shown that they will stick together even to their detriment on an individual basis. So my guess is that’s what they will continue today unless Brett’s silver tongue works some magic. Other than that, I would assume they will stick together.
You seemed to enjoy the blindsides, so was that your facial mimicking or were you actually having fun?
You know what, the first blindside was brutal because it was Kelly. Kelly was, in a lot of ways, she was the heart of the tribe. She was a frickin’ angel. Don’t get me wrong, she was a total badass. She was strong as hell. She was a monster competitor. But that’s what made her awesome! She was cool, she kept her mouth shut, so that one hurt a lot. Then when John flipped… with Kelly, it was like, “Wow. Sucks that Kelly’s going but damn, good move Russell, that was wicked awesome.” But then when John flipped and Laura went home, that was like, “Damn, what a gutless moron John is.” You’re giving them numbers? You are an idiot, dude. You have no idea how to play this game. You’re the stupidest rocket scientist I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a couple. You believed Shambo, dude! You believed Shambo. You are a mouth-breathing moron. He called us idiots. He doesn’t know how to play the game!
Why do you have “relax” tattooed on your chest?
(yelling)Because I’m crazy, mother---(calmly)oh sorry, I don’t swear in public. Because I’m naturally on the intense side. I had to moderate that during game play, but otherwise you would have seen a lot more shooting from the hip from the Danger Dave Ball Dot Com.