Interview: Flight Time & Big Easy talk ‘Amazing Race: All-Stars’

As I interview The Globetrotters, they're doing what they do best: Trotting the globe.

Nate “Big Easy” Lofton and Herb “Flight Time” Lang were eliminated from “The Amazing Race” All-Stars” on last Sunday's episode. It was the third time they've been on “The Amazing Race” and the third time they've gone home without winning, which you'd think would sting for a pair of basketball players who, by nature of their professional affiliation, never lose. 

Actually, you probably wouldn't think that if you've paid attention to Flight Time & Big Easy, who have earned the right to compete thrice on “Amazing Race” by virtue of their unflagging enthusiasm and their eagerness to entertain both viewers at home and every passer-by at every international location. Flight Time & Big Easy like to make people smile when they're on “The Amazing Race” and when they're not being followed by CBS cameras, they're usually still on the road making people smile.

In this case, that means that this week's “Amazing Race” exit interview was conducted at an airport, complete with deafening background noise at certain points. That's just the way the Globetrotters roll.

In their exit interview, the Globetrotters talk about their 31 Legs of “Amazing Race” experience, the recent challenges that caused them so much trouble and whether or not all of their “Race” losing has helped them empathize with the Washington Generals.

Click through for the full Q&A…

HitFix: When you guys got to the mat, you knew immediately that this was your 31st “Amazing Race” Leg, which I assume is a record. For each of you, what does that achievement mean?

Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton: It means we need to win one, so we don't have to race so many times! Naw. It's just fun, man. It's an honor. It's a blessing to be able to do. I don't know how many people at the airport and at venues around the world are saying they wish they could do the Race, they sign up to do the Race, but they never get picked. And for us to do it three times? And I would say we've been successful. Even though we got eliminated in sixth place, we've done 31 challenges and that's fun. That's the best part of the Race, when you break it down, is doing the challenges and interacting with the people along the Race. It means a lot to. I've enjoyed and I'm proud to have the record.

Herbert “Flight Time” Lang: Yeah, definitely. We would have loved to have won out of the three times, but the thing about that is that there's no teams that have been back on “The Amazing Race” that have won, so maybe it's a personal strategy for us to continue to lose so that we'll always have the chance to come back again.

HitFix: And as soon as you guys were eliminated, I assume you did the math on the Cowboys and their Leg count. When you were out, were you rooting for them to make the Top 3 and take your record or were you rooting against them?

Big Easy: Actually, we didn't do the math. We'll figure it out whenever the show ends, we'll look at it and see whatever happened with whoever. So we really don't know. We'll see when we see.

HitFix: We didn't see much interaction, but was there any sort of special bond you had with The Cowboys and Luke & Margie as the only three-time Racers?

Flight Time: Yeah, it's definitely a different kind of relationship with the Cowboys and Luke & Margie. Moreseo with Luke & Margie, because we actually worked with them a little bit in a couple different situations. With the Cowboys, we always liked the Cowboys and we never had any issues with the Cowboys, but the Cowboys are always a team that, over their Race time, they've always raced alone. They've never really partnered up with anyone. The first time I've really seen them partner up is when they gave the girls the Express Pass. Otherwise, they've always been like the Lone Rangers.

HitFix: The past couple weeks there have been a lot of team-ups and, as you say, the Cowboys gave the Country Girls the Express Pass. It seems like we've had a lot more alliance-driven racing in the past couple years. Since you go way back with the show, how do you guys feel about the alliance-heavy nature of “Amazing Race” today?

Flight Time: Our thing is always, we kept saying over and over again, “Just don't come in last, don't come in last.” And the thing about it is that when you're running with a pack and you know you've got people behind you, as long as you know that you're safe, you don't mind helping somebody else, because you never know when you'll need that other team. Perfect example: Yesterday, you had three teams basically running together. You had the Country Girls, you had the Afghanimals and you had Dave & Connor working together, because they knew that at least one team was behind them. So once you can complete a challenge, it's like an [muffled] experience and you're on to the next one and you know that you're safe to that point, so I definitely understand it. It makes sense. Unfortunately for us, this time we weren't able to get in that pack, catch up and get some of that help.

Big Easy: We would have worked with somebody if we'd had the chance, but like he said, we just weren't there in time. We weren't getting correct directions. People weren't speaking English. It just was one of those days. I like the alliances, not the alliance, but I like when people are in a situation where they can help someone and they do. I think whoever helps you out in that aspect… Sometimes you might need something and if you helped someone in the Leg before, they'll help you, but you had an opportunity to help but then you needed [muffled] I think it's a good thing. I don't believe in the cutthroat and the backstabbing. That's not who we are as a time, so I don't like to see it.

Flight Time: One thing that's for sure: The Brenchels and Dave & Connor don't have any kind of alliance going on.

HitFix: OK, then. Give me your read on that U-Turn fight. Did the Brenchels do anything wrong in that situation?

Big Easy: I personally think that, hey, that's a part of the Race. The reason I think they didn't do anything wrong is because they didn't go into the U-Turn saying they were gonna U-Turn Dave & Connor. They actually were gonna U-Turn The Cowboys because of the Express Pass, but when they were doing the task, they saw Dave & Connor right behind them, so they U-Turned them. Now personally, me and Flight Time wouldn't have used the U-Turn, but I can see why they used it.

Flight Time: I think in the previous couple Legs there might have been a little bit of shuffling between those two teams. At the gas-pumping station they might have had a few words and then definitely at the chariot-racing, there were a couple times that Dave felt like the Brenchels were purposely running into their cart, so I think it's something that just kinda builds up, which made it easier for Brendon to actually do the U-Turn. You noticed that Rachel, she didn't really want to do it, but Brendon was like, “We need to do it,” so who knows?

HitFix: You guys knew you were leaving at the start of the last Leg at basically the same time as the Afghanimals. I'm forgetting… Did you guys see any other teams at any point during that last Leg?

Flight Time: Yeah, if you noticed, when we pulled up to the actual city, the teams were running across the bridge, running to their cars. So yeah, we saw them. And we were there at the same time with the Afghanimals, because went to build the the cart while we were actually riding around. I wish we could have gotten a peek at how they built it and it had the crate on it. It definitely would have helped us out.

HitFix: I wanted to talk about that. There were those two tasks in the last couple Legs that tripped you guys up. There was the clue on the Spanish Steps and then there was the Donkey Build. Is that kind of thing where, when the Leg is done, you're able to piece together what went wrong? Or did you have to figure it out watching it on TV?

Flight Time: With the Build the Donkey, we found out after the Leg was over. After we got eliminated they told us what it was. I was telling some of my people, I said, “With the Donkey and the Steps, if it wasn't for people helping me, I would still be there right now.”

HitFix: But OK, what is your reaction when you hear what it was that you missed? Do you hit yourself in the head and go “Oh duh!” or was it really what you just said and you think you never were going to figure it out?

Big Easy: The thing with the donkey and the crate, I told him on TV, “I don't have nothing for you, dawg.” We didn't know! We read the clue. We looked at it. We looked around. It just was one of those little puzzles on the Race that got us. The Race always has little bitty things and if you don't catch it, you don't get it. But if you look at it, out of everybody on those six teams and the five of us who were there, only Dave figured out that you had to put the crate on the back for the wood. Everyone else was stumped and would have been stumped. It just goes to show you that when you get in that pack and you're able to get help, it pays off. 

Flight Times: With the Spanish Steps, like I said, I would have never figured that out, but with the donkey there was a bit of a “Duh” moment, but it's easier, definitely, sitting on the couch as a spectator and a fan going, “The crate! The crate! The crate!” Watching with my teammates last night, they were like, “The crate! The crate!” I'm like, “Yeah. I see the crate. What about the crate? If you're actually in that situation, it's different.” Yeah, it would have been nice to have figured it out, but it wasn't meant to be. We went back and we rode the donkeys. They brought some fresh donkeys out and we completed it within one try.

Big Easy: When you're watching it on TV and the camera keeps showing the crate, of course you know it's the crate, you know? But when you've just come off a stubborn donkey who didn't want to move and you ran across a beautiful landscape and you're running and a lot of stuff happened with your car? You just can't think of the crate at that time! But it was good, though. It was fun. We enjoyed it. If we had to do it again, we'd probably get stuck at that crate again.

HitFix: You talked at the beginning about how you keep doing the Race and you keep losing. Well, you guys have an interesting job, in that  you're on a basketball team that never loses. [They laugh.] Talk about this different experience on “The Amazing Race” and what it's like to keep losing?

Flight Time: Well, the experience is that we keep losing because they keep bringing us back. If we win, they won't bring us back.

Big Easy: My thing is that we keep losing, but we're winning too. Flight Time and I are heading to Hawaii right now. I just finished a tour up in Canada. And when I was in Canada, people were like, “We can't wait to watch you this weekend. Our family loves watching you two. We love the way you two Race. You're good role-models for the kids. Thank you for what you do every Sunday. We let our kids stay up late on a school night to watch you.” That's winning. If we can do something on the show and Flight Time and myself can say one thing during one of those episodes to bring a kid who gets bullied or a kid with low self-esteem an uplifting experience? We win. We win! We're winning and we're winning over and over again.

HitFix: Does the “Amazing Race” experience give you any new or different empathy for the Washington Generals? [They laugh.]

Flight Time: No. No empathy at all for them. No empathy. [He chuckles.] We've definitely got the best job in the world, because that we do win pretty much all the time. Like you said, we continue to lose on “The Amazing Race,” but like Big Easy says, we don't lose. It's all fun and games at the end of the day. You can't too serious. Some people take it too serious and end up worse off than when they went on there. In the past, you got couples that split up after it's over with and people who aren't friends anymore, but with us? We've still got the best job in the world and Big Easy and I? We still continue to hang out and see what happens next for us.

HitFix: Going off of that… How are Flight Time and Big Easy different from the Flight Time and Big Easy we met in Season 15 and Season 18? How are you different as friends and as a team?

Big Easy: We friends. We're always gonna be friends. I think nothing we ever do on or off the court could break the bond that me and him have. We're good friends. He's the best man at my wedding. I'm about to get married and that's my guy! No matter what happens on TV or off TV, we're gonna always be good. I think different from doing the Race with Flight Time, I definitely have calm, I'm relaxed. Too much don't bother me. A few things could happen right now that I would react different to because of watching Flight Time on the Race and being stuck with him in a hotel for 20 or 30 days at a time, I've realized that some stuff you just need to let go and let it be. It'll work itself out. I definitely am a more relaxed and calm person now.

Flight Time: I'd say I'm pretty much the same person. I probably weigh about five or 10 pounds more than I did back then. I probably would say that I've changed in the sense where we have so many new fans as a result of being on “The Amazing Race,” so that just makes me moreso being on my P's and Q's and trying to do the right things at all times.

HitFix: The second time you guys did this, the season was Unfinished Business, but you didn't win then or now. Do you still feel like you have Unfinished Business with “The Amazing Race”? 

Big Easy: I don't think we're gonna ever be finished with “The Amazing Race.” We might come out with our own “Amazing Race ourself” around the world and just go into places and just start running with people. Maybe we'll beat them?

Flight Time: We'll go into countries and just race the locals.

This season”s “Amazing Race: All-Stars” exit interviews:
John & Jessica
Margie & Luke
Joey & Meghan
Mark & Mallory
Natalie & Nadiya