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February 10, 2022 91 mins

Jamie Loftus is joined by Robert Evans to discuss George Shea the founder of Major League Eating who popularized the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Cho was the dictator of Romania. What I'm Robert Evans.
This is a podcast bad people. Sometimes I shout the
name of a dictator. Well, I didn't want to just
do Hitler again, a lot of episodes of shouting Hitler.

There's so many things that you could have done that.
I mean, it was really going to be that or
a tonal screeching to go with the high effort version. Alright, alright, fine, fine,
you know what if it takes giving you a little
path on the head for that together the yeah loft Loftus.

There's there circling around a really popular nickname, I am Jamie.
Today we're doing a special REVERSEO episode Behind the Bastards,
where you join the rarefied air of people who get
to read episodes to me. Um, because there's some motherfucker
called Joey Chestnut and he eats hot dogs and you're

angry about him. Right, that's basically the pitch. That's not
the pitch at all. Well, first, I don't know what
the pitch is. There's a motherfucker named Joey Chestnut and
I'm in love with him, but that has very little
to do with what I'm going to be talking about today. Um,
so you've actually gotten the story wrong. Joey Chestnut is

um someone that I love now, the bastard that we're
talking about Joey Chestnut for weeks and I still have
no idea who he actually is. You just say we
First of all, I'm offending this has been a year
of my life. Weeks is all I ever remember? That
that's true. So Joey, okay, this is We're off to

a terrible will start. Is it Jess Joseph Chestnut If
you're being formal, it's Joseph Chesnut If you're nasty. Uh,
his dad's name. The best thing about Joey Chestnut is
that his dad's name is Merlin. And that's um. So
there's a motherfucker walking around named Merlin Chestnut. If you

tell me his job as anything foraging from mushrooms in
the woods, I'm going to call you a liar. It's
a close second. He's a public school music teacher, which
I feel like fits Merlin Chestnut the profile Merlin Chestnut
nutt music teacher. So Joey Chessnunt is not the bastard
we're discussing today, Although he is intimately involved in the

events that I will be describing Joey Chestnut is for
those of you who don't know, the hot dog eating champion,
and just in general, I believe the eating champion of
the world at this time, most recently, like the Joe
Frasier of putting a lot of things in his mouth
and then not puking. Okay, that sounds a little dismissive

of my husband's accomplishments, but go off the Joey. I
saw Joseph this last year on he he competes. He
competes in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney
Island on the fourth of July every single year going
back to two thousand and seven. He's won fourteen times.

He's lost once. I will tell you why. It's a
very funny reason. Um. But at this point he's basically
just competing with himself. Um. He wins by a good
twenty thirty hot dogs every year. Um. And so that's
that's more hot dogs than a person should be able
to eat, right there. Just the margin he won by

is too many hot dogs? Were you just toss out
a number? How many hot dogs do you think? I
saw Joseph Elizabeth Chestnut eight on the fourth of July
in ten minutes, ten minutes. This last year, I'm gonna
guess sixty. It was seventy six. Christ it was seventy,

narrowly beating his own his former record of seventy five
the previous year. Too many hot dogs? He is, well, okay, yes,
but what land Joey Chestnut so far from God's light?
First of all, that is my husband you're talking about.

But I I do, I do see where you're coming from.
There is um there's so much to talk about when
it comes to competitive eating. I can't possibly cover it all.
So I'm narrowing it to American hot dog eating from
the past forty years. And the main bastard to discuss
is a man named George say Uh, closely matched by

his younger brother Richard say So. That is the topic, Dick,
the old Dick chees uh. So, that's the topic of
today's episode. I've I've titled it George say hot dog Villain.
I couldn't do better than that. I'm sure that that
is a good title. That's probably what we'll just put
out as the title of the episode. That in short,

who he is? Explain to me quickly? When did we
start doing this as a species, when did we start
like having contests to see how many hot dogs a
motherfucker could eat? It goes way, way, way back. There's
so much, Um, there's so much to discuss in terms
of hot dogs in general, how they relate to American culture. UM.

And I'll just say right at the top, I'm writing
a book about it, which is why I know so
much about it. This is youve been deep in hot
dog culture for a while now. Oh, I've been as
deep in hot dog culture for the last eight months. Um.
So if you enjoy this episode, please buy my book
that comes out next year. This is a very tiny
part of it. Um. It's a good question. There's no

exact um moment where eating contests became mainstream. They definitely, Um,
George Shay would have you believe they became popular at
first in America, but they didn't. America very very very
much ripped off the current competitive eating craze and kind
of style and broadcasting tendencies from Japan, uh, where it

got very popular starting in the nineties. So it's gone.
It goes back hundreds of years, as does hot dog culture.
In gen I mean sausages and ground up meat goes
back to fucking BC. Yes, um, but but yes, as
far as formally um broadcast eating events. Um, they're they're newer,

newer than sausage at least, and America's very much ripped
off Japan in terms of how we do it. That's
not an uncommon story. So alright, okay, okay, I'm ready.
I'm ready to learn, Jamie. I'm ready to learn about
this wonderful new subculture. I'm very excited to tell you
about it. Please ask any questions at any time, because

it doesn't make sense. Um. Yeah, I mean my first
question which I would ask, that what what What about
the poops? That's got to be a problem for these guys, right,
they are very cagy about the poops, Robert. I've been
trying to find that out as well. They're very cagy
about the poops. What I can say is that there
is there's so much like any athletic event, which I

do believe this is. Um, there's a lot of showmanship involved.
And so for example, what Joey Chestnut will do after
eating seventy six hot dogs, which I have to repeat
he did, I wasn't a significant fraction of of of
like a cow. Yeah, it's a that's a good chunk,
good chunk and um and I I was in the

press pit for that event and then at the end, um,
Joey Chestnut. I can't tell if this is something he's
made to do or something he does by of his
own full ship, but he does not leave the stage
right away. All the other hot dog eaters who lose
the contest are allowed to leave, presumably to throw up
and ship. They will never admit to this, but I'm
assuming that that's what they do. Um. Joey Chestnut does

not leave the stage. He stays on the stage for
upwards of an hour right after eating seventy six hot dogs,
smiles and answers questions for the press. So yeah, so
he He's said in interviews that he doesn't throw up
piston ship right away. I am bullshit a little skeptical
of these claims, but I you know, it's his body

and his choice, and I respect his bodily autonomy to
hold in however much process meat he wants for as
long as he physically can. Um. And that is true love.
Joey Chestnut's real girlfriend gave an incredible quote. I think
like in the last couple of years where she was
just like, Joey smells different after like his poor but

not even just like sweat, but like just like there's meat.
It's radiating off of him. It's incredible. It's incredible. I
mean because he's holding an entire refrigerator worth of meat
inside his body. I joke about being married to Joey
Chestnut because I am, but I God bless that woman.

I don't how do you how? I don't know sounds
you have to have a number of plumbers on speed
dial because you can't take somebody being busy right like,
They've got to get out there right away if there's
a problem. Look, Merlin's son gets the job done. Um,
we're talking about George Say, George Shay UM, which will

be getting very deep into, is the m C and
the kind of the person who made who effectively publicized
the Nathan hot dog eating contest and UM, by extension
kind of hand selected Joey Chestnut to be the face
of UM of that kind of endeavor. So here are

some things that George Say has said. Incapacity of the
m C of the hot dog contest on stage, I'm
just gonna throw three out He says this on stage
on Coney Island quote while introducing a hot dog eating contestant. Quote,
His mother held him close and whispered in his ear.
She said, you are of mine flesh, but you are

not mine own. Fate is your father, and you belong
to the people. And then he'll bring out a hot
dog eating contest Uh contestant. Here's another one. He was
buried alive under sixty cubic feet of popcorn, and he
ate his way out to survival. That David Blaine of
the Bowel, the Evil kin Evil of the Elementary Canal,
the Houdini of Cuisini. Please welcome Crazy Legs conti. And then,

of course an older man who is white and has dreads.
I'm on stage and he's forty hot dogs? Right? Are
you getting kind of decayed into Here's a Here's another one.
He will do whatever it takes to win. Three days ago,
he broke up with his girlfriend and euthanized his dog
to leave a void of emptiness inside of him so

he can do today with hot dogs and buns. And
then he brings out some other guy. And this has
been going on for George. She has been doing this
for thirty years. He has said a lot of things
over the years what I and and it does take
a turn, but he said a lot of things taken
a couple so far, broke up with his girlfriend and

euthanize his dog. Uh. George, She has said a lot
of things, some of them about what makes someone a champion,
some of them about what makes someone an American, and
a lot of them about hot dogs, because that is
what his job is. Most of what George Say will
tell you is complete bullshit, and he will be the
first to tell you that. Here are two quotes from

him that I think are the closest to the truth
as he's ever told. The first is something he said
to mel magazine last year. He said, you could argue
that people are so inured to everything that there's very
little downside to causing controversy. The second thing he said
was in en Uh in twenty nine. There was a
thirty for thirty about hot this hot dog eating contest,

and George Say is very much the villain. He says this,
A lot of what I say literally isn't true in
terms of words, but emotionally it is true. Um, and
that is sort of the entire ethos of what George
Say does. He has said some similar things He's I mean,

is there an episode in the works? Um no, because
he's a perfect man who lived the ideal human life. Well,
George Say, he simply hasn't he He's He's a very
funked up man. George Shea and his brother Richard Say
are a large part of why the Nathans are a

large part of why the Nathan's famous hot dog eating
contest is one of America's most disgusting traditions, right up
there with drone strikes. They're not the entire reason which
would be a bad place for a drone strike. First
of all, don't say that because I go there. Um, look,
we're gonna have to sacrifice some good people in order

to deal with the problem, please me and Joey and
bad Lands Booker? Have you ever seen bad Lands Booker
or Matt Stoney. I'm talking about because his champions in
our culture, Robert, Yeah, I have no idea who those
people are because they do eating contests and that's not
a thing most people know about. You're sick in the head.
You're so alived, Okay, so uh George and Dick Shay Uh,

made this a very popular cultural thing in the US
by channel energy, excess and showmanship. Uh. They are the
founders of Major League Eating, which was founded in and
they're also the perpetrators of a bunch of deception, racism,
and misogyny that exists in service of America's great dish,

the hot dog. Now, Robert, we've discussed hot dogs before,
and I am curious if you have um updated improved
your views on the hot dog at dog because last
time we talked about it, you said octopus was a
hot dog, which was just so common. It's delicious. I mean,
it's octopus. It's an octopus on bread, and I'm sure
it's delicious. Hot Um. I think hot dogs are defined

by the fact that you can't possibly limit them to
a specific sort of meat. Anything on a hot dog
bun is a hot dog, Well, that's a that's a
that's a gorgeous assumption. I would say that it tends
to be a meaty paste. It can only be created
under the least ethical circumstances possible. So if we have

the octopi in your hot dogs, are are are dying
in the most unsavory ways. I will guarantee you they are.
I mean, as a general rule, if we're getting it
from the sea, where we're destroying the ocean's ability to
support life in order to do it, well, no, I
understand that. But I just have you ever seen video
footage of a hot dog factory? Because it's it's unique,

it's uniquely bad. Yeah, I mean what I love. I
will say I prefer hot dogs that are mixes of
unspeakable nightmare meats, of course, because I want when I'm
eating a hot dog, I want to feel bad about myself.
Well you should, you should, um, and I have, and uh,
my life is really I've taken years off of my

own life, uh not out of not out of eating
hot dogs, which people will say, they'll cite this study
being like, oh, every hot dog you eat takes thirty
six minutes off of your life, when it's like, well,
serotonin adds to your life, so it's pretty much evens out.
But the but the psychic guilt of eating this many
hot dogs is what's removing time from my life. The

Shade brothers uh created so they created major league eating
into a marketable sport in the US, drawing heavily from
the sports early success in Japan. So today there's over
two hundred and fifty eaters who are registered with Major
League Eating, and they've expanded to competing outside of hot dogs.

They started with the Nathan's Contest, but now they compete
sucking everything. There are wings contest, there's pie eating contest,
there's Joey Chestnut. Started with asparagus eating. That was his
that poor woman, that was his breakout, his breakout moment.
Robert he ate asparagus in San Diego and ascended to
a great man. Uh. There's calamari, there's raman, there's everything.

There's like hundreds of categories. Um. And now the Joey
Chestnut is currently the face of Major League Eating. But
it wasn't always that way. The Shay brothers grew up
in the nineteen sixties. George Say was born in nineteen
sixty four or five in Boston. Richard Shay is four
years younger. They grew up in Maine, with no particular

interest in UH sports or competitive eating whatsoever. Richards Shay
describes them as being very introverted teens who did amateur
magic and listen to the Smiths and r e m together. Well,
that does make sense because the state sport of Maine
is slowly waiting for death. I was about to say,

I mean, I think that as far as teenagers in Maine,
that's not that bad amateur magic. There's a lot of
worse ways to go. You stare into the gray skyline
and wait for your life to end. That's that's what
what all the kids get up to in Maine. I
spent a lot of time in Maine as a kid,
and um I never made a single friend. No, nobody

has friends in Maine. It's not allowed. Your only friend
is the echoing emptiness of the woods. But I will
say the streets are paved with signed Stephen king Bucks
and I do love that. Um so they grew up
in Maine. George later in rolls in Columbia University in
New York. He wants to be a fiction writer. This

is a big part of the George. He's a fucking
do weve. He's walking around and listening to the Smiths
and R. E. M on his little cassette player. He's
a huge fan of James Joyce and Flannery O'Connor uh
who he claims to these to this day are his
biggest writing influences. When he's writing the introduction to hotdog contests,

which are, to his credit, sometimes very literary. Um. So
he wants to be a fiction writer, but he graduates
in and has to get an adult job while he's
working on a series of failed plays and novels that
never get off the ground ewhere, but he starts um

living in New York and working for a series of
pretty high profile ad men. And so the guy who
gives him his big start and gets him into, um,
the Nathan's Famous hot Dog Eating Contest is this guy
named Morty Matt's who is extremely fascinating in his own right.

He also it's like the most admin name I've ever heard.
Um So Morty Matt's uh invented the Nathan's Famous hot
Dog Eating Contest, although he denied this for years and years. Um. Meanwhile,
Dick Shay, who kind of fades in and out of
this story. He went to Villanova and uh later kind
of just he's kind of like writing Georgia's coattails throughout

this experience. Um, this this whole story. Um, Oh, no,
Sophie's Internet. Well, everyone back at home, we lost Sophie. Sophie.
You know we're gonna go to ads. Now might as well,

Oh yeah, do you want a product or a service? Maybe? Yeah,
let's go check out ads while we see if those
fucking assholes at Spectrum UH can get Sophie back on
the internet. They dropped corn cob TV and then they
dropped Sophie motherfucker's We're a bunch of dumb Hicks, Jamie.

That was a very professional pivot. I loved every second
of it. Oh my god, those ads were great. And
what's even greater is that Sophie's back. Hi, Sophie's back.
The Spectrum gods have taken Um, I don't know of

my happiness. Yeah, they still haven't brought back Corn TV.
They still haven't, and I have a bad feeling that
they won't, even though I've really enjoyed the programming, including
iconically coffin Flop of course, of course, I mean one
of the greatest shows on television or was, and they didn't.

I don't care what people say, No they didn't. I've
been there, I've seen it. I wrote, Yeah, you know
what it was. Its great television. We're talking about George say, okay, um, George,
So George say he graduates from Columbia in starts working
for this ad man named Morty Matts. Morty Matts is

an absolute legend in the field. He's still alive. I
think he's like nineties seven years old. Um, I'm gonna
just kind of skip down to, uh what Morty Matts
has done, because his resume is just extremely wild. Morty
Matts says when he takes over the Nathan's hot Dog

eating account and begins this contest, he gives a series
of made up legends as to how long this contest
has existed, all of which are lies. He first says
that there has been a contest since nineteen sixteen, when
Nathan's opened. He says that four immigrants held a hot

dog eating contest on the pier on the fourth of
July to determine who was the most patriotic. That was
a lie. He then pivoted to say that the contest
began in nineteen forty one as a protest to World
War One, and that was a lot. World War one
in nineteen one, right, World War two? Okay? And uh
then okay, in nineteen forty one. If you're protesting World

War two, you're probably not someone you would want to
associate your sport with either, but look to be fair,
he's lying, and then yeah, of course, of course. And
then Morty pivots this again and says in nineteen seventy
one that it was begun as a protest to the
Vietnam War. He makes up all of these weird lies, Jamie,

what is your lion as to win lying is good
or not? Because I have a thing that I've been
doing for a while now where whenever I have a
close friend or loved one, I tell them one lie,
and it's it's always it's always something very so. The
first example of this is I I convinced the person
I was with for a number of years, just as
the result of a casual conversation once that the band
Hanson had died in a terrible bus crash. You told

me I was literally last week, And like, I know, well,
I'm trying to say, what is the line? Because sometimes
it can be fun to do that sort of stuff,
And then someone brings up a lie, the lie you
told me? And what I never tell anyone? What the
lie I've told? I know the lie? You? I know
the lie Robert told me he didn't tell me when
someone was named Daddy, But that was for an altruistic reason.

I had to say, Christ told me I never I
never lied to you. That's great. The point is that
you should never trust anybody, and that's why everyone it's
one lie. I trust you there, I know. That's what
makes it so dangerous. I wanted I only lie. It's

the opposite of gas lighting. I want a god dammit,
so sad. I don't think that these are bad lies.
I think that these are very marketing lies. And Morty
Matt's because he's still alive and he's literally almost a
hundred years old, he admits in two it's it's too

old and he's still working, which I'll get. He's currently
he's currently working on rehabilitating the reputations of some mega
church pastors. That's what he's working on in his twilight years,
meaning he's seven. But he admits in that all of

these origin stories are lies and that it was Morty
Mattss idea in this early seventies to start whole ding
this contest to drum up some publicity for um, for
Nathan's hot Dogs, UM. Other things about Morty Matts that
I would just like you to know is that he's
almost a hundred He fought in World War Two. He's

currently still the press agent for the Durst family, so
he's been a busy man lately. He's at work. Uh
there is just like his career is equally fascinating to me.
He so he is the reason George Say exists. George

Shay came up working for this guy who did, like
George Say, I think a combination of very funny and
very evil things. Um, some things that are attributed to
Morty Matt's as sort of innovations for better or worse
in American pr He's said to have popularized, uh, the

idea of a purp walk, So like marching a suspect
into police headquarters for people to take pictures of. I
guess that that was something that he kind of innovated,
and he would never want any You should not want
people to know if that's the thing you helped invent.
Well that's the thing about these guys though, they don't care,
like it's all about impressions. It doesn't matter what the

impression is as long as it's getting attention. So he
fully claims, you know, whether it's true or not, that yeah,
I'm the guy who invented the purp walk. Um, he
worked with the New York Mob in the sixties. He's
he invented that Big Nat worked with the Mob. I
don't have any more information than that. That's just what

he said. He's worked with he worked a lot. He
think he's self described Gotti adjacent mob. Is what was said. Um,
he invented the big National Debt clock. That was I
don't know if it's still there, but it was in
Times Square for a very long time. He invented that
with the Durst family. Um. He invented the current route

of the New York City Marathon so that it would
go through more areas and get more press. Um. He's
working with mega church pastors now. Uh. And he created
the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest. He's done a lot of stuff,
and his legacy is is very all over the place.
And I really am just like, should he still be alive?
I don't know. Definitely not. I'm going to answer that one.

I'm going to say, maybe, you know, he should have
hung up his little hat a long time ago. Uh.
But but all that to say, he creates this myth
around Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest, and already there's a
lot of uh. Mythic qualities to the hot dog eating
or too hot the hot dog industry in general. Um there,

it doesn't really fall under the purview of this story.
You'll just have to buy my book next year to
find out, Robert. But it, I mean, it's very very
well known that like, the meat packing industry is a
fucking disaster, um, and that the hot dog isn't an
American dish. It was brought here by German, Polish and
Austrian immigrants um as sausages and kind of innovative over

time by independent carts. The real American quality to hot
dogs is the industrial era. And the most American thing
about hot dogs is uh the worker and animal abuse
that comes with their production. So like, whether it's the
like I mean to this day, it's like, you know,
you've got Upton Sinclair reporting on meat packing in the jungle, right,

and then you've also got uh as recently as last year,
there were um those meat packing scandals after Trump and
you know sent out that executive order that to say
that the meat factories must remain open. And so there
were these huge coronavirus outbreaks at meat packing industries, and
there were like executives and managers taking bets on how

many workers were going to get coronavirus because of this
executive order and their own incompetence to protect their own workers.
Like it's just an absolutely the story of hot Dogs
is truly the stuff of nightmares. But George Shay's job
is to make it very American and very appealing and
very watchable. Right, So George Say starts working under this

guy Morty Matt's Mr Purp Walk himself, Mr Robert Durst
best friend um in the nineteen eighties. Okay, so ah,
George Shape prior to this had been sort of like
working his way up in this company. He was slowly
I feel like, I mean, it's we hear this story

all the time. He was just slowly giving up on
his dream of becoming an artist in pursuit of becoming
a very evil person, you know, um, so much like Hitler, right,
and then the reverse Hitler George W. Bush, Like, there's
all these failed artists, um who end up doing the

most funded up thing you could think of, George Say. Fortunately,
there's been like multiple people who were like, thank god, George,
she only is interested in hot dogs. Or he really
could have done some damage because he's truly like a
very fucked up person. Um. But in the eighties he
would do all these sorts of things for Morty mats.
There was one account of him, um, convincing an attractive

woman to sit on an egg for two weeks and
claim that she was trying to hatch it. That was
some pr he did. What was what is that pr for?
What is that, Robert? I don't know. You gotta know
who it was for? Right? Was it like an egg
selling company? What is this? My source there? And I

wasn't interested in learning more, to be perfectly honest, my
source there is. It's in the thirty for thirty documentary
where George Say is showing the documentary in around his
office and says, hey, this is one of my early successes.
And he points to a newspaper clipping that I could
not find online fucking anywhere of a woman sitting on
an egg, saying woman sits on an egg for two weeks,

and he's like, this is one of my early successes.
Who I assull think he was advertising eggs, but I
don't know. It was baffling. Okay, great, and that's that's
that's wonderful. I love this mystery listeners at home find
out what he was. So another thing he does is
this is to promote Palisades Park. He puts an elephant

on water skis. These are the things that he's doing
to prove himself to Morty Mats, right, and it works.
And Morty Mats by the late eighties early nineties says, Hey,
I want to bring you in on the Nathan's hot
dog eating account. You know, start coming to these contests
that I've been holding since the nineteen seventies. So this

is the story that George She tells about how he
came to take over this contest beginning in nineteen Again, George,
she is saying it, so it very well could be
a lie, but this is what he says. Um. He
says that he first became more intimately interested in after

noticing that a hot dog eating competitor was cheating during
the contest. So he went up to his boss, Morty Mats,
and said, hey, someone is cheating. We should do something
about this. And then quote big Morty told me to
go over and get a cop to arrest the guy,
which I thought was crazy unquote uh. But basically what

this taught him was it doesn't matter who wins, It
just matters how much attention it gets the company. And
it's with this mentality that George Say takes over the
Nathan's hot Dog Eating account in the first one he
runs is And by this time Richard Say was slowly

starting to become involved as well. Uh some things that
he did throughout the nineties before establishing Major League Eating
and after Uh, there was this huge scam he did,
uh where he wrote a scholarly article that he submitted
to the New England Journal of Medicine called the Belt

of Fat Theory. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard of
this from the King of the Hill episode about competitive eating. Yes,
so that was a real thing. He basically made up
this complete bullshit lie, submitted it to the New England
Journal of Medicine and then, upon being rejected, got a
ton of press for saying, I can't believe the New
England Journal of Medicine doesn't think that the belt of

Fat fat theory is any good to get more people
to come to the contest, and it worked it like
it always works. That was fascinating, I mean, and also
I think I kind of want to lie to the
New England General in medicine now too, seems like a
worthwhile thing. What's your lie of choice? I mean you
said one lie? Does that also to the New England
Journal of Medicine, Robert, Yeah, I think I might try

to get them to believe that Hansen died in a
bus crash. I think a gout of critical interest. The
other major thing that he does before founding Major League eating.
The Belt of fact thing came came after, but before that.

The critical innovation that he makes to this contest is
that he invents a prize, which there wasn't previously. There
was just a winner and then it's over. There weren't champions,
it wasn't viewed as a sport. It wasn't people weren't
supposed to be invested in a year round. It was
just kind of a yearly stunt. Yeah. It sounded like
a lot more reasonable than what it's become. Yeah, But

George Shay decided, you know what, I think this is
going to be a sport. So he invented something called
the Mustard Belt, which he made with an old belt,
a bunch of paint from an art store and rhinestones.
He like made it on the floor of his friend's
apartment and just brought it to a contest in the
nineties and said, this is you know, a symbol that

you're now competing for, which very very quickly, uh, increased
interest in competing. There's kind of the idea of this
w w E style belt that you could win for
UM for for winning the contest. And I would say
that the current Nathan's Contest is equally built on UM

Japanese competitive eating TV shows and the w w E.
Because George Shea's wife is a writer for the w
w E. UM, which is also endlessly interesting to me.
She produces soap operas and writes for the w w E.
This is just like the most pageant style family of
all time. Very fun. Uh. And it's also in the

nineties that George Say becomes the the m C of
these events. So, Robert, I made you look at a
picture of this I listeners, if you haven't seen a
picture of him, I would google the term George Shay
hot dog. People lose a bunch of George Says in
the world. Uh, Robert, how would you just how did
you describe this man Roger Stone dressed as the Riddler?

If the Riddler came from the Antebellum South, and that's
also kind of the vibe of his performance as well.
So his his job of em C, it's all energy,
it's all very mythic overstatement, and his job is to
to basically bring on the most normal looking people in

the entire world and make them sound like they're w
W E wrestlers, which he's been doing for thirty years now,
for better or worse, very effectively. But this is how
George Say describes what he does in he said, uh quote,
a guy eating a bunch of hot dogs is one thing,
but a guy in a straw hat pounding the tables

like an apocalyptic preacher is such a contrast that it
really drew people in unquote. Um. So he developed this
style of introducing competitors and attributing these very mythic qualities
to him. So this is from The New Yorker in um,
he's it says Matt Stoney represents youth. George Say says,

youth is feral and it is vicious. Joey Chestnut is
a hero. Uh George Shay says he has God's user
name and password, which I think is awesome. He's I
mean some of them are pretty good. UH and Sonya Thomas,
who calls herself the Black Widow, is a villain. George
Say says, she is the darkness, driven ever westward by

the rising sun. So it's just look this very dramatic
performative style. UM so okay. By the late ninety nineties, UH,
George and Shay Uh founded Major League Eating, which still
exists to this day. UH Dick kind of stays in

the background, although later on he will begin to work
as a color commentator on ESPN when they start to
broadcast them nationally. But we're not there yet. The nineties
for this, shas are is very kind of scrappy. They
are starting to start UH contests around the country. Nothing

really bad has happened yet. They're just trying to get
this made up sport that they invented to take off,
and it's sort of working sort of. And I'm not
sure why, but it does feel like competitive eating is
one of those things that couldn't really take off until
we had nine eleven happen. I'm not sure why, but
I think nine eleven was critical for competitive eating. You're

almost right, You're almost right. Much like the movie Shrek,
Competitive eating really takes off about two months before nine
eleven happened, but it's very very close. It takes off
in I think that this is actually I think the
Shrek came out in July two thou one, maybe June,
and uh competitive eating major League getting really starts to

take off in two thousand and one for the reason
I'm about to tell you. Um, but yeah, like the
Major League Eating, it was like a very scrappy, like
slowly slowly building momentum throughout the nineties and early two thousand's.
They've got this big goofy logo that has Latin on it,
and the Latin translates to engrging truth. Um, so it's

just all like ridiculous. So what they're missing essentially and
getting this sport that they've inmitted to take off, is
any sort of champion or person worth rooting for. That
is like very much what is missing. And so they
find their first major champion who becomes I think kind

of huge casualty of George Shay's um villainous tendencies, and
that is Japanese eating champion to Kara Kobyashi. Do you
know of to Kara Kobyashi? Robert uh is he who
they named the Kobyashi Maru for I don't know, I

think we're I don't know what you're talking about. What
that's fine, that's fine. No, I don't need to explain things.
Please continue. I very much so. Kobe as he was,
he was a very very popular figure in America for
a span of like five to seven years. But um,
he was. He's a Japanese eating champion who first begins

to compete in America in two thousand and one, and
so he was invited by Major League Eating to come
from Japan to compete in America at the Nathan Tatta
Eating Contest because um, there was already, you know, cultural
infrastructure for competitive eating on TV and in pop culture
in Japan, and so there were all of these kind

of like uh, low budget competitive shows that Kobyashi became
a minor celebrity in because he was this very um,
I don't know, he was just really fun to watch.
He was like twenty three years old, he was really skinny,
he had a six pack, he had like a signature
move called the kobe Ashi wiggle. He was just like
this like sexy heartthrob who girls loved, and he could

eat so much meat in one sitting, and that was
his whole thing. Um. But what kind of sent him
apart in terms of uh, what impressed people about him
in America was that he trained as if he were
an athlete, like he had an actual training regimen and
stayed very lean. Um, And wasn't you know what Americans

associated competitive eating with, which was just like people gorging themselves,
like there was strategy involved. So Obooshi comes in two
thousand and one, uh, and the shaise are very they
they are always emphasizing his other nous since he gets
to America, Um, they're emphasizing, oh look at this skinny kid.

He says he can eat fifty hot dogs. What a liar?
You know, all this stuff. But Kobyashi comes to America
and in a single event on the fourth of July
doubles the record for a number of hot dogs that
you can eat in at that time twelve minutes. So
he eats fifty hot dogs in twelve minutes, does a lap,

a full lap around the closest American and people lose
their ship and he immediately becomes this kind of huge
um viral in early two thousand's terms figure in America.
So the Shades are very quick to say, oh, we've
got to keep this guy, you know around. This is

the most attention our competition has ever gotten. And they
encourage Kobo Ashi to keep coming back, which he does
because now he's becoming an American celebrity, there's access to money,
he's in like a MasterCard commercial. He becomes, you know,
a minor American celebrity now, um and what is like
interesting And this is all laid out in the thirty

thirty documentary which I would highly recommend, called The Good,
The Bad, the Hungry UM is that from the very
very beginning, the Shades were always rooting for and against
Kobe Ashi. They were saying, well, this guy can eat
more hot dogs than anyone else, but what if an
American could do that? And they were always kind of

trying to um stoke the very American tendency to dislike
people who are not American UM. And so Kobe Ashi
was not really hyper aware of this at the time
because he became and American celebrities so quickly that he
he thought he was going to be you know, in

New York for a weekend in two thousand and one,
not you know, not in September, but he was just
going to go, you know, to America for a couple
of days, so he didn't speak English fluently, and he
didn't really understand for a while how he was being
talked about right in front of him, even though I
mean there's a lot of footage of it, and it's

um pretty unsettling, and over time he starts to realize
kind of, um, what is going on. But he becomes
a celebrity and he wins the contest in the US
for the next six years. He wins every single year
from two thousand and one to two thousand and six.
There's no real American competitor that can touch him, and uh,

the Shase kind of continue this process of building him
up so that they can keep their operation, you know, popular,
but also constantly saying, let's get an American in here.
They were very very much seeking out an American champion.
Which brings us to two thousand and seven, Uh, where

Major League Eatings first viable rivalry comes out and the
Shaise are fucking all over it. And guess who comes
into the picture at this point, Robert, guess who it is.
It's Joseph Chestnut. Baby. Uh, he is and he's exactly
who they're looking for. He is a random white guy
from San Diego whose dad's name is Merlin. He is

like the champion that they're looking for him. And so
this is extremely bad news for for Kobe Ashi, who
at this point has a lot of American cultural clout.
But the second that there's an American rival for him,
the Shades are very very clearly switching their allegiance, and
they're doing this through promotional materials. They're doing this through

the press, and all of a sudden, Kobe Ashi is
being villainized in the press instead of lifted up as
kind of the only hero of this sport. Um. What
is especially frustrating about that is that Joseph Chestnut only
became a competitive eater because he was a huge fan
of Kobe Ashi. Like literally every UH current American eating

champion started because they watched Kobe Ashi on TV when
they were kids. Because he was this just huge figure. Um.
He could do things that no one else could do.
He trained, you know, he was very artful in the
way he ate. And so Joey says that he saw
Kobi Ashi on Terrible UH Spiked TV broadcast, which again

the Shades are getting all sorts of money off of
this because they signed koby Ashi two major league eating
he's not allowed to work for anyone else, and they
start to kind of like license his appearances out, so
they're making a ton of money off of his success.
And when Joey is a teenager, he sees koby Ashi
on American TV losing a hot dog eating contest to

a grizzly air. What what what this is on TV? Robert?
He watch there is on Spike TV. Kobyash, I mean
the list of a TV how to do that to
a grizzly bear. That can't be good for them. Look,
I don't know that means it shouldn't be legal to

do to to Karrol kobe Ashi, I mean they but
it's and it's interesting to listen to. Kobe Ashi talked
about his views on American culture and how that changed
over time, because he, I mean, it was just the
chaise were very much escalating the second there was interest
in the sport. They were like, Okay, Kobyashi can eat

fifty hot ducks. Okay, what can we get him to
do on TV? We're gonna get him to compete against
a Grizzly Bear. We're gonna have him eat cow brands
against a bunch of American weirdos, Like they had him
doing all of this stuff, and he's in a contract
that is mutually beneficial, like he's making a lot of money,
but he can only do what they say he can do,
which becomes a big problem later on. But Joey seems

kind like it started as a big problem. I would
argue everything you've described as a problem, it is. It's
a huge problem, and it's and it's one of those things.
It reminds me of the podcasting industry in that there's
just no that. I have no notes, and I'm so
grateful that it exists, but there's no there's no precedent
for it, you know, like there there was never a

major league eating contract. Uh. People, you know, they're they're
marketing it as a sport, but people who are in
sports don't think it's a sport. So it just kind
of becomes this weird novelty thing that if you are
the person in power and making these contracts and there's
a significant language barrier between you and your champion, you
can fux someone over pretty heavily, which is what they

do over time to Kara Koby Ashi. Um So Joey.
Joey sees Kobe ashily lose to a grizzly bear and says,
I want to be a bear baby. He said, all right, Merlin,
get in the car. We're gonna start eating asparagus. And
that's what Joey does. I mean, Joey like is so

inspired that he decides he wants to be an eating champion.
And while he's in college in San Diego, he starts
training with his mom and he wins a local asparagus
eating contest, and slowly it becomes clear, as he's competing
in more and more, you know, increasingly prestigious eating events,

that he might be an actual threat to Kobe Ashi.
So when the Chaise get wind of this, they see
Joey Chestnut, who is really the most whatever guy. I mean,
I I love him dearly, but he's just some guy, right,
and they but he can eat a lot of hot dogs,
and they're like, Okay, this is the American champion that

we want. Let's push this rivalry as much as we
possibly can. And so by two thousand and seven, Um,
there is an established rivalry between Joey and kobe Ashi,
and they're pushing it. And at this point, beginning in
two thousand three, off of kobe Ashi's popularity in the US,

ESPN begins broadcasting this event every year. It's been on
ESPN every single year since two thousand and three. Um,
they split it by gender, in which I'll get to
because there's no reason to do it and it's fucked up.
But they broadcast the men's competition on ESPN and they
broadcast the women's competition on ESPN three because um, well

you know. But anyways, it as of two thousand seven,
all genders compete in the same contest. So the big
three competitors in this contest that the Shades are pushing
or Kobe Ashi, Joey Chestnut, and Uh Sonja Black Widow
Thomas and uh Joey beats Kobe Ashi. And this is

a huge turning point in the sport, but only because
it very much changes the way that the Shas approach
UM marketing. There now two champions, so kobe Ashi um
doesn't quite understand this at first. He was at first
like kind of excited to have someone to compete against

because it was I guess kind of like bor like
they had to keep pitting him against animals because no
one could compete with him. But now all of a sudden,
well there's this guy he can actually compete with, and
he was kind of excited about it, only to find
that very very quickly, the tide changed at the Shais,
you know, encouragement to being as racist to Koby Ashi

as you could possibly be in service of Joey Chestnut
becoming the American champion. Um So Joey win ends in
oh seven uh, and immediately the crowd turns on Kobe
Ashi and the Shades are encouraging it. They're saying all
sorts of um. I don't want to say what they

were saying. It was very racist and immediate. And they're
draped in American flags, shouting USA, USA to Joey Chestnut
and kind of in and right, and it's like, in
a single moment, you know, Joey is like changed from
some guy from San Diego into a symbol that is

very much not within his own control, and the Shades
are in control of that symbol. And so you know,
after two thousand seven, Kobe Ashi is the other, the
extremely other non American enemy, and Joey is the American champion.
Right UM's thoughts. Yeah, I mean it's it makes it

makes sense. But like they would abandon the guy who
had made them all of this money as soon as
there was a chance at having an American and and
like use him cruelly because it seems like that's exactly
the kind of people they are. M. I don't know,
it's it's it's wild. The competitive eating sounds more or

less exactly like the w W E. M. Yeah, sure,
there we go. But you know what isn't unethical to
its workers? Oh no, the podcasting industry, uh huh, for sure.

And you know what that's supported by. Oh okay, I
was like, where is this going? These these products and
services exactly? God bless product USA. USA. We're back. And look,
I lied a little bit. There's a lot of unethical

stuff in the pod casting industry. For example, sometimes Sophie
ASTs me to get up as early as eleven thirty. Okay,
that's first of all, violence against Roberts. And second of all,
we just found out a few minutes ago that you
are a liar. So what's what is an example of

a lie that you've told me? No one lie. Everybody
gets who was my lie of the daddy thing or
is it a different lie? No? No, that was for
a utilitarian purpose. I had to do that for everyone's say,
categorizing your lives like that. That's bullshit. It's called categorizing
and I do it all the time. Does my lie
have anything to do with Anderson? I can't say so.

I think I know what it is, and I'm furious.
I can't say, Wow, what, okay? Do I want to know?
Everyone gets one, including the listeners of this show. You know,
everybody gets one? What's the lie? Robert Low's one of
you lie? I know, but that's the lie he loves.

Statistically speaking, but that's the lie. That's okay, So curious.
It's two thousand and seven, you guys. Joey is the
champion now and everyone is. The Tide is very much
turned on Kobe Ashi and George Say being himself, being

his straw hat and villain. UH is very um upfront
about what he was trying to do here. He says
this in the documentary. In Uh, he says, I have
always used pro American rhetoric, and the belt is a
national prize from the day the belt was made. Reminder,
the belt was made by him in a living room

out of cardboard. Uh, he says, quote, you think I
want Kobe Ashi to win six years in a row?
Necessarily if he wins, he wins. But that's not grey
for the narrative. You need to understand that there's an
American hero, and you can be a hero in the
same exact way, but you can't be an American hero
because you weren't American. Unquote. So that he's very very clear. Okay,

He's like, hello, I am racist about my weird cardboard
belt that I made. Um, and this is where I
mean it genuinely like it. It's uh, it's difficult to
watch and learn about because this like for sometime, I
mean he's fine now, but like this like really destroyed

Kobyage's life for some time. Where um, you know, he
describes being completely shocked and scared at how the American
public very rapidly turned on him once Joey Chestnut became
the champion. Um, he said, quote, I didn't understand American culture,
so it's scared me and George say, you know, this

guy who is contracting him and is in complete control
of his finances, is going on live television and mocking
him to his face, you know. After immediately after Kobyashi loses,
George Say gets on stage and his little outfit and says,
the dark days of the last six years are behind
us of his own champion, and you know, raises Joey

Chestnuts fist in the air. And Joey's role in this
is um insidious and passive, where in all of the interviews,
Joey is very aware of what's going on. He knows
that he's being you know, raised as this champion, and
he knows that Kobyashi is being mistreated, but he doesn't
stand to benefit from saying anything, and so he doesn't. UM.

And it's clear and kind of clips that you can
find that, UM, the Say brothers and and George in
particular are very much trying to control uh Joey Chestnuts behavior.
You can see in a series of promotional clips that
UM they'll ask Joey a simple question of like, well,
how does it feel to beat kobey Ashi? You know,

and Joey is, UM, he's a simple man. You know,
He'll he'll say things like it felt good, you know,
like and then you know, George she will be off
camera offering him mythic punch up um to to what
Joey said, to make it sound meaner and to make
it sound more you know, jingoistic and all of this stuff. Um,

there's this incredibly funked up clip uh where George say,
I mean, he's he's filming uh promotional clip uh talking
about the day that Joey Chesnut defeated Kobe Ashi and
he says, um, in this very I don't know, He's like,
you know, the bullshit is at eleven and he says,

after that event, I went back to my room and
I wept. I silently wept because something was lost. We
had a hero and our hero was no longer invulnar
double and I wept. And then there you are. These
people are eating too much food, Like stop it, stop
taking it so seriously, stop being like this. Well he's
lying though, because it's like right after you know, he

says and I wept, there's a pause. He thinks the
camera has cut, and then he starts laughing because he's
making it all up. He's doing it to humiliate Kobayashi
and elevate Joey Chestnut because he doesn't give a ship
and he just wants people to to watch the fucking
broadcast like he does it. It is like a level
of I'm I'm certain that he's a jingoistic, racist person,

but there's there's like a level of lawlessness here that really,
um uniquely unsettles me, where it's like it's kind of
hard to know what he thinks about anything because he'll
just say whatever he needs to say to get attention.
Like it's his views could be anything. It's UM, I
don't love it so UM. After this, Kobayashi becomes understandably

frustrated with Major League eating. UM. He loses his mother, um,
which also kind of makes him want to be closer
to home. He doesn't want to be in the US
so much anymore. Uh. He's also being actively mistreated by
people in the US. People are like cornering him on
the streets of New York and screaming USA in his space,

and he's saying, like I felt unwelcome. I was shocked.
They used to cheer for me, and I started to
feel like I wasn't welcome in America anymore. UM. So
he wants out, you know, he's he's not being treated
well in this contract. There's been this w W E
style he'll turn that he has not consented to and
people are treating him like shit. And so uh, he

competes against Joey for a couple more years. Uh. It's
on and off. I believe, I've that Joey is edging
him out most of the time. I do believe that
koby Ashi wins against him at least once in that
stretch of years. Um. But by he's done and Kobe
Ashi tells George say, I'm not competing in the competition

this year. I'm I'm I'm done. Uh. And this was
partially because George she would not release him from his
contract because all of Major League eating was so dependent
on this rivalry. Specifically, he didn't want to let koby
Ashi out. He just wanted to keep calling him a
piece of ship on live television and saying racist things

and having that be how Kobyashi made his living. So
he says, I'm not going to do it anymore. And
at contest there is a big dramatic event uh where
koby Ashi refuses to compete but does go to the
contest uh wearing a T shirt that says free Kobe

and basically start to this chant in the crowd among
Kobe y Ashi supporters, and this is all on ESPN,
like you can watch the whole thing. Joey is in
the middle of competing against no real viable competitor at
this time except for the Black Widow, and Um, Kobe
is in the crowd wearing a free Kobe shirt. I

really want a free Kobe shirt. Um. I think our
listeners can find that for you. There's somebody who here
listening who is deep into eater culture, and it's going
to be now yelling at me that eaters are what
you call people who are part of the weird fetish
community and not appropriate as a term for these athletes.
And they're very angry right now. They're shrieking at me

through their headphones in the middle of a trader. Joe's
I hope I'm getting this right to whoever that listener is,
because it's it's a lot to take in. What's fun
about stuff like this, Jamie's, no matter how much research
you do, we're wrong in a specific enough way that
somebody is literally shifting on the floor of a trader.
Joe's having a stroke in fury because you've gotten a

fact wrong about Kobe Yashi's early practicing career, some ship.
It's going to be for this going to be great
insight into your life. My listeners are very nice. Okay,
um he's wearing so he's wearing a shirt. This is
free Kobe. He starts a chancing let him eat, Let
him eat, and Kobe Ashi is like, I mean, he

is a showman at heart. He can eat a lot
of fucking hot dogs. But he's again no offense to
my husband Joey, but he's got the showman personality and
the technique that Joey Chestnut has never had. Joey Chestnut
is an awkward guy who could eat seventy six hot dogs.
That's basically what he can do. Kobe Ashi has like
an air about him. He's very exciting to watch. And

so what he does is storm the stage after the
contest ends, saying I want to shake Joey's hand. That's
all he says. What George Shay identifies is an opportunity
that goes back to him being at that contest saying
it doesn't matter. What the right thing to do is

have him arrested and people will watch that, and so
George say it is said, there's no proof that George
say ordered this, but it stands to reason, George Say,
tell security arrest Kobe Ashi on live television, and that's
what happened. He was dragged off the stage, he was
slammed into and he was arrested on live television, and

what the fuck? Yeah, the chanch. Couldn't people just watch
fucking people other dudes eat too much? Like why does
all of this nonsense have to happen? It was, It
wouldn't be on ESPN if it was just guys eating too.
I mean it it is absurd, like how far they're
willing to go, and it is also absurd how effective

it is because this was a huge story, like when
Kobe Ashi was arrested at the contest that he won
six previous times at the contest that he had popularized
in the first place, and they fucking arrested him like
it was just it was It's I'm very deep into this,

but it is very compelling footage to watch. And again,
George Say, years later, is very upfront about what he
was trying to do. He says this last year, he says, uh,
when Kobyashi stormed the stage, it was phenomenal, unfortunate in
so many ways, but phenomenal for press. That's how it
grew and grew. It was always about the free media.

This year we had something like forty billion consumer impressions,
just a massive number and huge value. And so again
it's just he doesn't care, Like it's whatever the thing
is that's going to get attention is the thing he
will do. And in this moment, it was arrest Kobe Yashi,
which is you know it, Yeah, how do you feel

about that? I I think they've overcomplicated watching people kill
their hearts through processed meat. And I'm I'm livid, Jamie.
I'm the angriest I've ever been. Good good. I was
hoping that this story I would get you there because
it is a very it's so I mean, and it's

so like specifically American in the ways that it's infuriating
because it's all just like weird pr and eating things
that are bad for you, Like it's so ridiculous. Um,
it's already it was never going to be a good
thing because it's it's bad to eat seventies six hot dogs,

like it's not a good thing to do. Watch for
a number of reasons. Be careful, be careful. But but
they've just made it so unpleasant for no reason, and
I am I'm livid. Do you understand now, though, why
people say that it's good that George Shay only applies
this skill of evil to hot dogs, because imagine this
somewhere else it was. Yes, I am glad that he

stayed out of politics. Um. I guess people like him
are going to do damage somewhere, and maybe siloing off
to them to the competitive eating community is better than
some things. But I mean, the main person who's screwed
here is Kobe Ashi, who I just I love Kobe

Free Kobe Uh. He's devastated by this happening, obviously, he says,
I thought the U S was a place where people
would be recognized as an American hero because of their achievements.
And I thought that where you came from and what
race you are had nothing to do with it. Um.
And Joey Chestnut said in response to this entire event,

maybe I lack a little empathy because Joey chest I
mean this, he's not the bastard on the chopping block here,
but he you know, he doesn't say anything. He doesn't
say anything in Kobe Ashi's defense, and in spite of
the fact that kobe Ash she's the only reason that
he's even doing what he's doing. He very much goes

with the flow with the Shade Brothers um every single time.
So okay um. So that's kind of the extent of
the men's contest to this day. I mean, ever since
kobe As she left the sport, Joey has lost one time,
and I will tell you why now. It's very funny. Uh.

After Kobyash, she's gone. Joey Chestnut like to this day
is the face of the company. The chaise love him.
He plays ball with fucking whatever. He makes you know,
like two to three thousand dollars a year. Competitive eating.
He's got a vanity mustard line. He loses once, and
it is very funny. He proposed to his then girlfriend

on stage immediately before eating seventy hot dogs. She says yes,
it's all and we're all like woo, who you know?
And George facilitates the proposal. It's all very weird in
corporate joy that shows up to the event and you
find out through a series of very funny ESPN color

commentary that the wedding was called off and she dumped him. Uh,
it's good for you, honey. She was. She was said
to have been his trainer. You gotta wash that man
right out of your hair. And Joey is so upset

that he was dumped that he loses to my other
hot dog eating crash, Matt Stoney, who's a very popular
YouTuber who's objectively just a very good looking person. Um.
But he loses to Matt Stoney and then does that
thing that scary people do sometimes, that he was so

upset that he lost to Matt Stoney, you know, the
competitor associated with youth, that he spends the next year
getting absurdly good at eating hot dogs, and then comes
back the next year and has been undefeated since. And
he has a new girlfriend now, um, which I'm assuming

he balanced, you know, he balances in his marriage with me.
She says, he smells like too much meat, but they
seem to love each other. I don't know. I ordered
some of his mustard. It's not my business. Quick word,
Why are you enabling this? Is what I is what
I want to know, because you may be a kind
of the bastard here yourself. Why why are you enabling this?
This marble industry? Why am I enabling the hot dog industry. Well,

uh no, no, not the hot dog industry, the competitive
eating industry. I'm fine with the hot dog industry. Well,
there's there's so much about the competitive eating industry I
haven't gotten to cover here because it doesn't pertain to George. Say,
for example, so many people in the hot dog eating
can unity are fucking each other. It's fascinating. I mean,

you would have to you would have to just suck
other hot dog people because the mead smell is going
to be a problem for anyone else. Robert literally, So
I went to the contest this year. The current women's
champion could not compete because she was eight months pregnant
with another hot dog eaters baby. Like it, This ship
goes deep. It is a fascinating subculture, and I can't

let it go. They're just very folks doing the worst
thing they can think of a lot of money. The
worst things I can think of, yourself is this entire sports.
It takes a lot for me to be like, well,
I guess football doesn't sound so bad anymore, but a
cte here and there, I still think. I mean, if

you watch clips, which I know you're not going to
Kobe she really uh it peaked with the kobe Ashi
Um chest Uh competitions like take the Shase out of It.
Their competitions were very exciting when they were pure and
it was just like two guys trying to see who
can eat the most meat. It's very fun to watch.

Their techniques are very different there whatever, Okay, I have
to tell you one more thing about George say and
it uh it pertains to how he doesn't like women either.
So uh, there is a champion who is a woman
for some time in this same era of Kobe Ashi

and Joey Chestnut. Uh. She her name is Sonya Thomas Um.
She's she's really cool. I'll uh. She basically they She
also came into the sport after seeing kobey Ashi on
tv UM. She's a naturalized US citizen. She came from
South Korea. She managed a Burger King at Andrews Air

Force Base in Maryland and was like, I can eat
a lot of burger king. Let me see if I
can eat a lot of hot dogs. And she got
really fucking good edd eating a lot of hot dogs.
And she was consistently the second and third place in
an all genders competition for years, but in the Chaise
decided that they wanted to separate the contest by gender.

There was no reason given for why this was um
other than just misogyny, because every other competitive eating contest
in the country at that time was not separated by gender,
because there was no reason to do that. Yeah, there's
why would why would you ever think that's necessary. Stomachs
is stomachs. And Sonya Thomas, I mean there was a
huge like she had this real kind of like run

in the mid two thousands of like she was beating
Joey Chestnut all the time, and she was beating Kobayashi
and like it she's kind of erased from the main narrative,
but she was a huge competitor who was just like
very fun and like she loved the backstreet boys and
the carpenters and she worked at Burger King. Like she

was just America is not ready for a woman who
can eat a lot of hot dogs. We're twenty years
away from being able to accept that fully. Clearly not.
Because it was like all the press around her was
very misogynist, Like in every piece written about her she
was it was written about like she had an eating disorder,
as if every hot dog conson. Literally the entire sport

is an eating disorder. People like all of them have one. Yeah,
it is a professional eating disorder. Seventies six hot dogs.
That isn't eating disorder. This I mean she's she's still around.
She stopped competing after a while, but she's I mean,
she is very petite. She the first time she won,

she weighed ninety nine pounds and eight thirty seven hot dogs.
Like she's, she's very petite. That is a significant amount
of her body weight. It is quite like, I think
it's more impressive that she than she can do that
than Joey or kobe A. She can do fucking anything,
but whatever. Like So, beginning in the Shaise decide, actually

we you know, and this is after Kobya's departure from
the sport, we want to separate men and women. They
give no reason, um, and they immediately move the women's
competition to ESPN three, where no one will ever see it.
They change the belt from a mustard belt to like
this pink pussy shaped thing, and they cut the prize

money by seventy So that you are a woman who
can eat the most hot dogs, which Sonya Thomas always was,
you would only get two thousand, five hundred dollars as
opposed to the ten thousand you get if you win
the main contest on ESPN U. The Shas put a
lot of pressure on Sonya Thomas to endorse this decision

um and sort of posited as a good thing. And
she made the point at the time saying, you know,
maybe this will be good, maybe more women will get
involved in the sport. This is fine. I don't feel
the need to ask for more money. Um. And but
you know it, it blows up in her face. You know.

The women's contest to this day is still broadcast on
ESPN three. The the amount of money is um still.
I mean there's still a lot of disparity in terms
of Joey Chestnut makes a hell of a lot more
money than the current women's champion, Mickey Pseudo, who was
pregnant with I can't emphasize it enough another hot dog

years baby. Um. And they still give women a pink
pepto bismol belt instead of the mustard belt. And this
year build the Blasio gave the women's belt away. So
it was insulted all around. So that is the story

of George Say. He is still m seeing the contest.
To this day, he's still uplifting Joey Chestnut as the
one true champion. Uh. Fortunately, with time, there are you know,
competitive eaters that are now less financially dependent on the
Shay Brothers specifically then they were when Kobe Ashi was

kind of at his peak in the US. Because Internet,
so there are competitors like bad Land Booker and Matt
Stoney who have millions and millions of subscribers on YouTube
and TikTok, and there are more ways to be able
to eat or chug a lot of food and uh

make money from it that are not inherently connected to
these two fucking weirdos. But for the most part, they
still have the market very much cornered. Um. It's here
that I will include George Say recently started went cameo.
Uh if you Robert described cameo, because you described cameo

to where people who are technically famous get paid what
are actually kind of embarrassingly small amounts of money in
order to make random videos for strangers on the Internet.
All right, Well, for me, it was not an embarrassingly
small amount of money because I pay So I've been
withholding this fact, but I wrote a whole show about

being Joey Chestnut's fictional wife. I've been work shopping it here.
It's called Mrs Joseph Chestnut America, USA, and it's all
about my tortured marriage to Joey Chestnut. And so for
this show, I wanted to get a cameo from George, say,
encouraging Joey Chestnut to break up with me was the
point of this. I paid one and twenty US American

dollars for this, Robert, and he sent me, whatever this is, okay, Sophie,
can we can we watch it? Dred and twenty dollars
is good for Joey Chestnut. It's very funny when someone
like Rudy Giuliani is in there and making videos for
a hundred and fifty bucks, because it's like you, you
shouldn't be that cheap, Rudy Giuliani, like Robert's gonna it's

not a good video. And it's the thing is, even
though it makes no sense, there's no option on cameo
to respond to someone and say, hey, that's about what
I asked for. That's not what cameos for. You don't
You don't get to cameo to have an equal relationship
with these people. Jay, Here's what he's said me you ready, Robert,

Ladies and gentlemen of America, citizens of the world, we
now address Joey. A man of incredible strength, a warrior
king who stands with the land meets the horizon, steadfast
and unshakable, upon whose shoulders God has arranged the flesh
of an archangel, a man of immense wisdom, who, while

he is faced by abundant challenges, will stand on the
ramparts of victory, overlooking a sea of truth. Because he
will never stop, and he will never stand down, and
he will never submit, and he will never surrender until
his bones are cracked and splintered and scraped like chuck
on pavement, until the very dome of Heaven collapses and

the black avalanche of space pours down around us. He
will fight on why Because the rock on which he
stands is not a rock. It is the United States
of America. And now it is go time. It is
go time. Time, it is go no go, Lock and
Lord and love him and leave him smoking. If he

gotn't see you want to see a seing on the
other side. Time time it's condition read all hands on deck,
batt and down the hatches, belly up to the bar,
do it to would feel the burn fire and the
whole hold the phone could be gold. Go home game
on game day. Game face, never say never, never said,
I never give up. Put up a shut up, shape
up a ship out, show me the money, make my day.
Good night, Irene. Wake me when it's over. It's go time.

A word from Jamie. Do you like the end? I
like at the end where he goes from Jamie, I'm
not happy that you gave this person add twenty dollars.
Feel good about it? Advocate that was worth every penny.
You know it wasn't it was bad. I feel I

really thought that I was. Look, I've used cameos in
my shows before. I used a Heidi Montag cameo in
my lash a Girl. I remember it was wonderful to
great effect. George Shape, what was that that we just heard?
We just heard someone have a knockdown? Yeah, I know that.

I mean it's I guess an element of it's it's
competent showmanship, but also it's the kind of showmanship you
have when your sport is incredibly boring and you feel
like you have to throw a bunch of nonsense in there,
because all it actually is is watching people eat fucking
hot dogs. Okay, first of all, again, I feel they
need your fucking mouth. Yeah, this is gonna be a

lot of there's gonna be a lot of people messaging
me after this, being like Robert, I love your show,
but I also have been a fan of Competitive Eating
for years and I need you to know why you're wrong.
And I'm just gonna let you know now, not going
to read those emails people. I do feel like there
is significant crossover between your audience and people that like
competitive eating. And that's not an insult because I am
that audience. I The thing is, it's I I do

believe that it is a sport, and I believe that
it is a sport that is run by two fucking
weirdos that shouldn't be in charge of the sport. And
I believe that Joey Chestnut is a complicit you know,
he's he's half complicity it and have trapped and free
Kobe is how I feel. I want to share one

more quote from George say uh and then I'm gonna
absolutely die. Um So again, this boils down to one
man and his younger brothers desire UM two. You know,
just create a bunch of bullshit where it doesn't need

to be and have it be extremely successful. So last year,
George Say says in an interview to Mail magazine, he
says this, humans can't understand something without a narrative, so
we'll make one up in the absence. And that's a
very powerful thing. And ultimately, I think that's what he does.
He creates a narrative where one doesn't need to be

to get people excited and upset, and he's very good
at it, and he'll weaponize the worst of people in
order to do it. And that's just ory of George Say. Well,
I hated this, Jamie. I it actually feels great to
hear you say that. I feel like that means I
did an okay job. Yeah, you did a wonderful job.

I I don't like these people and I don't like
what they're doing. They're bad. I maybe have food. Maybe
that's not a thing we get to have anymore. You
know what's cool, though, is that um Kobe still competes,
but he com he competes in a different area of
New York against nobody. He just eat a ton of

hot dogs with his like friends and community just and
regularly quietly has an eating disorder. No, no, he didn't know.
It's community. It's exciting, like it's community eating. He didn't
the the exciting that you were giving the negative twist
to that story. I'm going to give the positive to

watch him eat. No, it's a it's a community. No,
it's just like a unity event that he and his
wife put together of like it's uh, it's free food
for everyone who shows up. And then Kobe eats a
ton of hot dogs because that's what he's famous for
and that's what he's really really good at. And so
I thought it was very cool to see him, you know, like,

they didn't they didn't make him quit. He still does
it and now he does it for himself. I'm happy
for him. They didn't take the thing he loved the most.
I would. I would eating a lot of meat. Yeah,
I mean I I do think. Yeah, people have, people
have the right to I want to eat a lot
of meat. Um. I just find all of this deeply

off putting. Jamie Free Kobe. I'm glad that Kobe is
doing better, though. Um. Not a fan of Joey Chestnuts though, look,
Joey Chestnut is you know, yeah, look, absolutely has the
name of a character. And then I think you should
leave sketch it is and that is just his name.

And then the further you go up the family tree,
the scarier the names get. Merlin Chestnut. Come on, there's
if you want to see something really fucked up, which
I know you don't, but the videos of Joey Chestnut,
because there's like no protocol for how you should train
to eat seventy six hot dogs. So Joey Chesnut is
just doing like free form jazz on how you would

prepare for something like this, And there's these horrifying video
clips of him, um gas like he does sit ups,
but he does sit ups where he's gulping air like
he's trying. And then he choose on a little plastic
ball for twenty minutes a day to get his jaw
all limber, and like he just he does all these

I mean, I guess it works, but to what end
he's I do think that ultimately Joey Chestnut is not
an ethically good person. But on the other hand, I
think he is being forced to kill himself for our entertainment,
and I think that that is very sad in it
in its own way. I get, yeah, yeah, that's sad.

All of this is bad. That said, I will be
there at contest and I might actually train and see
if I could maybe get on stage on the women's contest,
because I think you only have to eat like eleven
hot dogs in ten minutes. I could do that. Yeah,
I could do that too. Um but no, no, I
don't support this, but I together eating all those hot dogs. Oh,

you're no fun. I couldn't be less supportive of this
for you, Jamie, maybe that's the one. Maybe that's the
one lie he's telling you, Jamie, we don't know. That's yeah.
I got to eat. When I was leaving the contest,
they put like a plate of a pyramid of two
hundred hot dogs in front of Joey, just again for

the showmanship of it all. He only ate se and
so for the rest of the five they just give
them out to the audience. And so I got to
eat one of Joey's leftovers and it did feel really special. Well,
I don't like that. I don't like. I'm not gonna
say I'm happy for you, but I'm glad you had
an experience that he was happy for me because I

thought it was very fun to eat Joey's soggy little leftover.
Felt good, I said, oh, in the middle of a pandemic,
felt safe. Yeah, I mean I wasn't going to bring
that part of but yep, ye. Well, Jamie, you got
any plugables if you possibly want to interact with me
after what you just heard, Um, yeah you can. You

can go on Twitter, Instagram. You can find me there.
Jamie loft is help on Twitter, Jamie christ superstar on Instagram,
and just set a reminder in your phone for a
year from today saying hey, did I preorder Jamie's book
Raw Dog that comes out in April? I sure, hope
I did, And then you can buy that book that

will come out next year that I'm currently absolutely torturing
myself trying to complete. So I hope you read it
when it comes out. It's about um this, I mean
truly this, George She stuff takes up a couple of pages.
There's just so much about hot dogs and their history,

um and uh and there's just a lot. So I
hope to tread out Raw Dog. Incredible title. Very excited for.
Thank you. I really pushed for raw Dog and satisfied
with the outcome. And you can listen to any of
my podcasts, uh my YearIn Mental Lolita podcast, spectel Cast
or act cast about the Kathy Comics. Follow your Heart.

Thanks for letting me do this, Robert. I had to.
I hadn't know if I'm putting this together. Thank you
for telling me this how it doesn't it feel exciting
to be on the other side and you feel absolutely
deflated and like dying at the end. I feel great.
I'm just gonna sit alone in a dark room for
the rest of tonight. Yeah, what do you think I

do every fucking time I'm on this show? And that's fair?
This is this is very I mean comment. I may
have to go just open one of my old Hitler
books to cheer myself back up. There, you books. They
can pre order your book after the Revolution. Yeah, google
a k Press after the Revolution and you can pre

order my book. And if you preorder it, it comes
with a special signed book plate in it, which is
a nice little art sticker thing inside the book that
has my signature on it. So preorder it a k
Press after the Revolution. Uh, please buy my novel um
It will be out in May. You can have it
in hardcover. I'm still working on the sequel. I just

finished chapter four and started chapter five, so it's it's
humming right along. And now you signed mine, absolutely, and
if you order a pre order it, you'll get a
signed one. Fuck you. And we got a behind the
Bassard's live stream show on February one of those dates. Uh,
it's a moment, how stuck on slash Phine the Bastards. Yep,

we that's over. Mm hmm.

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