HitFix Interview: Danny & Joey ‘Fitness’ talk ‘The Amazing Race’

Fortune allegedly favors the brave, but that’s not always true on “The Amazing Race.”
Joey “Fitness” Lasalla and Danny Horal to the “brave” path on Sunday (March 25) night’s “Amazing Race,” hoping to cap their recent rise up the standings with a Fast-Forward and, presumably, a first place finish for a Leg taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The friends, positioned as this season’s “Jersey Shore”-styled team, went head-to-head with couple Rachel & Dave on a bale-stacking challenge. The Fast-Forward couldn’t have been closer, but Rachel & Dave finished their hay-pile seconds before Danny and Joey “Fitness” could finish. 
As a result, Rachel & Dave won a pair of cars.
And, as a result, Danny & Joey “Fitness” earned a deficit they were unable to overcome, as they finished the Leg in last and were sent packing, a sad fate for team that had gone a long way towards erasing their earliest, stereotype-heavy introduction on the show. 
In this week’s “Amazing Race” exit interview, Danny & Joey “Fitness” talk about their decision to go for the Fast-Forward, their eagerness to break the “Jersey Shore” conventions and why they were able to just have fun on the show.
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HitFix: It’s been a recent trend that multiple teams haven’t attempted Fast-Forwards at the same time. It didn’t work out for you, but are you guys glad that you at least attempted the Fast-Forward?
Joey “Fitness” Lasalla: Yes and no. We had progression in the Race. We went from 10th to 8th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd. We wanted a first place finish and we saw Fast-Forward and we said right away that we were gonna go for it. We didn’t even know if there was another team going for it or not. Obviously, we got beat out by Dave. We kinda wanted to go for it, try to get a first place, but then on the flip side, we shouldn’t have risked that. We were doing pretty good. We were hanging with the pack and if we didn’t do the Fast-Forward, we feel like we definitely would have been Top 3 and even winning the million dollars, so I guess you could say “Yes and no.”
HitFix: How would you guys describe what the difference was between the two of you and Dave and Rachel on that Fast-Forward?
Danny Horal: We were the first team out of the temple in our cab. We didn’t think any other team was going for the Fast-Forward, because we kept looking behind us on our way to the area where the hay-stacking was and there no cab behind us. Then all of a sudden, their cab flew by us. They had a minute or two jump on us and that minute or two was a crucial minute or two, because we were only one stack away from saying we were done. I think they had a good technique going on, but even so, I think the cab really hurt us.
Joey “Fitness”: It seemed like — besides the cab, because our cabbie was definitely slow and he had no idea where he was going — talking about technique, it seemed like I was just throwing the haystacks down to Danny on the floor and he was picking them up and stacking them individually. Watching yesterday, it seemed like Dave was just throwing them right on top of the stacks, so it was kinda easier for Rachel to just push them around, as opposed to her going to the ground, spending time picking them up and then stacking them. It seemed like their technique was definitely more efficient and maybe a little fast, because by the time it took Danny to pick it up from the floor and put it on the stacks and stack it correctly, they definitely were taking out a lead on us.
HitFix: I know you don’t have watches out there, but do you have any sense of how long the Fast-Forward took?
Danny: We were only one stack away from finishing, so I think it took both teams about an hour, it felt like.
HitFix: So the Fast-Forward finishes and you don’t complete it. But you had to at least have hope that you’d be able to catch up time on the Roadblock and the Detour. When you saw what the actual tasks were, was there a point at which you realized these simply weren’t the type of tasks that would let you catch up?
Joey “Fitness”: You know, it’s funny that you say that, because most the time, depending on the Roadblock or the Detour, it’s pretty hard, where it might take a team an hour, but it could take teams five hours. So at first, we’re like, “You know what? We lost the Fast-Forward. We’re a strong team. We want to try to get through everything else” and when we got to the Detour and the Roadblock, it was things that, no offense to the other teams, but anybody could get through them. It was finding apples or scraping the man down, which is not really a talent or a skill, it just takes a little bit of time. And then the underwater training thing with the helicopter was real quick too. Even though we finished those pretty quickly, it seemed like all the other teams were way ahead of us.
Danny: The most devastating part about the whole thing is that I keep going back to the cab. We’ve heard about it in the past from people who have watched the show and from us watching the show and even last season with the Snowboarders, their cabdriver, he left from the pack of the other drivers and he was working by himself. That was the same thing with us. Once we went for the Fast-Forward and that was over with, our cab was all by himself, as opposed to the other teams’ cabs. They were all going to the same area, so they were following each other. Our cab had no clue where he was going, so it took us a long time to find the helicopter training place and that hurt us big-time.
HitFix: On Sunday, it made it look as if things were getting close coming out of the Detour. Was that just an editing trick or did you feel like you’d closed the gap?
Joey “Fitness”: To be quite honest, we really had no idea. When you’re racing and you see another team or other teams, you know that you’re kinda close to people. When you don’t see any other teams, we really had no idea if we were five hours behind or two hours behind or 20 minutes behind. We were just going at our pace, but a fast pace, and hoping that maybe another team might have messed up or gotten penalized for something. Even though we did do everything as fast as we could, it seemed like they just had too much of a jump on us.
HitFix: One of the things you said as you departed on Sunday as how proud you were to have made it as far as you did, because your friends wouldn’t have believed you’d even last that long. Why not?
Danny: First off, I’m happy that we made it past the first episode, because after the first episode we were kinda portrayed as “Those ‘Jersey Shore’ Type Guys,” so the stereotype was there: These kids must be just like like The Situation and just party, drink and be stupid. I think we showed the world that, “Hey, you know what? These are likable guys and they do more than just go tanning and go clubbing. They can actually travel the world and do crazy stuff” like we did on the show. Even our friends, they don’t see half the stuff that we did on the show. When we went off to film the show, we couldn’t tell anybody we were going to film “The Amazing Race.” I think they all thought we were going to film “Jersey Shore,” so we kinda surprised everybody.
Joey: Talking obviously the first Leg and then our progression, it seemed like, just reading the blog and all the articles on the websites and everything, people automatically deemed us as “That ‘Jersey Shore’ Team” and said stuff like, “They must be tacky. They must only care about girls and the gym.” Yeah, we made a couple of references about girls on The Race, but we definitely proved to our friends and family as well, we did a great job of showing that we are likable people. It’s like, “Yeah, you go to the gym and you tan and you like all that stuff, but you guys are funny and you had a good race together. You get along. You didn’t have drama with the other teams. You kinda were just running your own race and you guys were were just running your own race and you guys really wanted to win that million dollars.” And it showed. It didn’t show us fighting with everybody to get camera time. We really were acting like the cameras weren’t there and we were focused on winning the million dollars.
HitFix: As you guys say, that first episode really did portray the two of you in a very specific light. Was that just the way it was cut together, or was that the way you wanted to introduce yourselves before maybe proving you were different?
Danny: It’s also a television show and that was our first time with the cameras in front of us and after Day 1, we didn’t realize the cameras were there and that’s when you really saw our true side. We weren’t playing up to the cameras at all. We weren’t trying to just pick fights with teams to see what would happen or start controversy. We acted ourselves, which is just friendly guys who get along with everybody and act funny. I think America really liked us a lot after that.
Joey “Fitness”: I guess we were cast. People are gonna say maybe the Kentucky guys were cast as Southern boys or whatever and we were cast as the “Jersey Shore”-type group. It’s not that we necessarily played into the stereotype, but yeah, we were talking about how we met clubbing at the Shore and how it’s all about the gym and going to the clubs, because that’s kinda what we like to do. But also, on the flip side, there’s a lot more to that. It’s not just about that and most of the time, those people are always looked at as, “Yeah, they’re cocky. They’re too good for everybody. They’re stuck-up.” We’re actually the opposite. Yeah, we do the partying and all that stuff, but we’re likable people. We were friends with everybody on the Race. I guarantee there’s not one team that’s gonna say, “Wow. We don’t like these guys. They’re jerks.” We definitely wanted to show the world that there’s definitely another side to that “Jersey Shore” thing.
HitFix: So many teams make “The Amazing Race” into high drama, with shouting and screaming and crying. You guys really did just seem to have fun out there. Is that just completely natural for you two?
Danny: Yeah, that’s just how me and Joey are. We’re best friends and we joke around with each other. Even when we argued, two seconds later we’d be laughing at each other. That’s just how we are. We wanted to have a good time with this. This was a great experience that we had. It was more than a TV show for me. I’d never been out of the United States before. That was a whole new experience for me. I wanted to enjoy it. I didn’t want to go on this and argue with Joey. We’ve learned from other teams in the past, such as the Snowboarders from last year, they had a good time and they got along with each other and they were successful. We wanted to mimic that.
Joey “Fitness”: Definitely you have to go on the Race like, yeah, you wanna win the million dollars, but it’s about having fun, too. You can’t argue the whole way. It’s not gonna get you anywhere. It’s gonna definitely put you behind. If you can have a quick argument for two seconds and then use that as motivation towards pushing you to the goal of coming in first, second, third place, whatever, definitely do that. I definitely watch these other teams now, sitting back on the couch, I can see how every other team ran the Race and it’s kinda not “funny” watching them argue, but it’s kinda like “Wow. I can’t believe they’re arguing like that.” I’m watching me and Danny and we weren’t like that at all. We were getting along. It looked like we enjoyed ourselves and we had a good time. It’s like, “Oh, I’m here with my wife or girlfriend. This is a mess. I don’t want to be here.” We were happy to be there. We lived in the moment and we enjoyed it. It was definitely a great time and experience.
HitFix: We saw the two of you and how well you worked together, but I don’t know that we really got a sense of big differences between you. How are you guys different as personalities?
Danny: I get a lot more girls than he does.
Joey: We like the same stuff, obviously. A lot of times, reading a lot of these blogs and these websites and they’re saying that we’re just like Guy 1 and Guy 2, that they don’t know us apart, that we’re the exact same person. That’s fine. Hopefully to enough people, that we did make an impact, I’m Joey and Danny’s Danny – Likable guys, good personalities. Hopefully if there’s “Race: All-Stars” or a “Redemption Amazing Race” and they bring us back, we can show people again that we’re here to win it and we want to have a good time. Two things for sure: If we get brought back, we’re winning the million — Hands down, we’re winning — and Number 2, we’re not doing a Fast-Forward. If we’re presented with a Fast-Forward, we’re just gonna rip it up and let another team do it, because we definitely don’t wanna go out or have that happen to us again.
HitFix: Having had this experience and having your horizons broadened in this way, how has your world-view and your approach to life changed?
Danny: That’s one thing: Me and Joey weren’t all about being on TV, first of all. When we got chosen to do this show, it was more about winning a million dollars, but now that we’ve done, we got to show the world that there’s more to us than just clubbing and whatnot, that two guys like us can travel the world. It opened my eyes. I’ve never seen the world like I’ve seen it by being on the show. I’d like hopefully me and Joey to have the opportunity, maybe there’s a production crew out there that’s listening and we can get our own show to show other kids in our age group and our society that there is more to the world than just Miami and Vegas. There’s Paraguay, which was absolutely amazing, and Germany and whatnot.
Joey “Fitness”: Most people definitely don’t leave the United States. Regardless of if they like going to clubs or partying. They stay in the US. They’ll go to Vegas. They’ll go to Miami. But it’s an amazing experience visiting other countries. I never thought I’d be going to Azerbaijan. I didn’t even know what Azerbaijan was before I did the Race. Obviously Germany was nice. Italy. It’s just these places that people die to go to, we went there. We got to experience it. It was not as much getting to do everything that we wanted to, but we we’re racing through town, but we definitely had amazing experiences in the countries and I’d like to honestly go back to a lot of the places if we could.
This season’s “Amazing Race” exit interviews: