The Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern has made a career out of eating every kind of animal genitalia under the sun on “Bizarre Foods.” What kind of perverse background could he possibly have that would compel him to eat such disgusting things? Well, a background as a drug-addicted hobo, for one. In an interview with “Nightline” that aired last July, Zimmern talked about his sordid, smelly past:
Zimmern: I lived in an abandoned building in lower Manhattan; one that we squatted – a bottle gang and I. I would steal purses off the backs of chairs in those swanky little cafes on Madison Avenue, run down the side street, leap the wall at Central Park and 5th Avenue, get on the subway, go down to the lower east side and sell the credit cards and passports that were in the purses for money to support my drug and alcohol habit. And then go to sleep at night on a pile of dirty clothes in this abandoned building and I sprinkled a bottle of Comet Cleanser around so the rats and roaches wouldn’t cross over at night so I could pass out in some peace and quiet and that’s what I thought was normal. That’s how I lived for a year – no showering, I was the guy you crossed the street to avoid if you walked by me in New York.
[John] Berman: It’s amazing. I mean, looking at you now, you look like my Uncle Murray. But it was that bad?
Zimmern: It was worse than that. I’d rather not scare you too much but you’re living the life where you are constantly beat up, abused, abusing other people, doing something horrifically shameful and tawdry things that crater your soul – you give away pieces of yourself that you swear you would never do. You know, I swore I would never talk to you like this and then reach into your jacket and take your wallet and those are the things that you do when you are being driven by the insanity and the compulsion of alcohol and drug addiction. [Eater]
How much you wanna bet the Travel Channel actually went specifically looking for a hobo to host “Bizarre Foods”? “Okay you bums, if any of you can talk into this camera, we’ll give you a bed and feed you all the deer testicles you can eat.”