Carole Baskin in 'Tiger King.' © Netflix 2020

Carole Baskin got tricked into giving her first interview since 'Tiger King'

Netflix’s Tiger King transformed Carole Baskin into an overnight celebrity. In the time it took America to binge all seven episodes of the true crime docu-series, she went from obscure big cat rescue mogul to infamous maybe-murderess and sworn enemy of Joe Exotic, the "Tiger King" himself. Carole’s even gotten the TikTok treatment: There’s a remix of Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” with the lyrics retooled to be about the cold case involving Baskin’s ex-husband, and the accompanying dance has gone majorly viral. My ten-year-old neighbor knows it and has no idea who Carole Baskin even is.

Anyhow, after Tiger King swept the internet in March, Baskin went M.I.A., hunkered down in Florida with her big cats and Howard, her husband, refusing every single one of the (many) interview requests that’ve come her way. But a couple of YouTube pranksters managed to fool Baskin into thinking she was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — therefore duping her into giving her first interview since the Netflix series dropped.

Josh Pieters and Archie Manners, whose YouTube channel boasts more than 1.3 million subscribers, reached out to Baskin posing as late night talent bookers. The big cat queen initially turned them down, but she acquiesced to a Zoom interview once “Jimmy” agreed to only ask questions about her animals and not about Tiger King. To make it seem like Fallon was on the line, Pieters and Manners pulled audio clips from his past interviews and played them back to Baskin to mimic a real conversation. The pranksters detailed their process in a 12-minute YouTube video.

Baskin is being a good sport about the whole thing. In a statement to CNN, she said the prank gave her and Howard a nice chuckle. "I was suspicious as we were doing it because the questions appeared taped,” she said. “But had no idea it would turn out to be such a fun prank. It gave us a very welcome good laugh. I appreciate their cleverness and that they created their video in a way that I don't feel was in any way mean spirited."

The “We Tricked Carole Baskin” video was uploaded on May 3 and has more than 1.5 million views just a day later. It’s currently the #3 trending video on YouTube. Whether or not she “killed her husband, whacked him” and then “fed him to tigers, they snackin',” one thing’s for sure: people can’t get enough of Carole Baskin.