It’s been three-and-a-half years since we lost Anthony Bourdian, the chef-turned-TV star and worldwide traveler, taking viewers on intimate excursions into cultures both well-known and far-flung. Though he spent the last couple decades very much in the spotlight, we’re still learning things about him. For instance, did you know he had a secret Reddit account? And that he would talk smack about Steven Seagal and praise Joe Rogan’s strength?
A new piece by Rolling Stone delves into the many posts of Reddit user “NooYawkCity,” who turned out to be Bourdain himself. His favorite forum was for Brazilian jiujitsu, which he began practicing — and excelling at — over his last several years. He never outright admitted his identity, but fellow Redditers eventually came to recognize his hyper-articulate and punchy musings as belonging to the author of No Reservations and the host of numerous travel shows.
The Stone piece points out that it was Bourdain without an editor, without the realization that the vast public may see it. “This was the truest Anthony Bourdain, writing simply for the sake of it, unburdened by his reputation,” writes journalist Alexander Darwin.
Bourdain mostly kept himself to the forum “bjj,” posting about his progress with the martial art. But he sometimes ventured elsewhere, offering very pointed opinions on a variety of matters. For instance, another passion of his was cinema, and he would talk about his love of movies made in Vietnam. But he also discussed movie stars he didn’t like, like the possible worst host of SNL.
“[Steven] Seagal is a ‘deadly mofo’ if you get between him and the all you can eat pasta bar,” Bourdain once wrote. “The hair is definitely dead though. A wad of that Dynell weave comes undone during a fight with Lightning Chunks of Death and you could choke.”
But he heaped praise upon Joe Rogan, at least as a pugilist. When someone discussed whether or not the NewsRadio alum-turned-podcaster could take Wesley Snipes in a fight, he had a very educated take. “I can tell you from personal experience you do NOT want Rogan’s arms anywhere near your neck,” Bourdain said. “He cranks. Hard. And enjoys it while he does it. He’d destroy Snipes. Like hospitalize destroy.”
Bourdain had a vicious tongue and you didn’t want to be on the other side of it. One time a troll came up with a highly offensive idea for a reality show, where ex-addict celebrities are given drugs to relapse on. Bourdain, who struggled with a drug habit he had in his younger days, was not amused.
“You are a terrible human being,” he wrote. “You richly deserve to lose sphincter control and seep slowly, steadily and fragrantly into your My Little Pony undies for the rest of your life.”
Bourdain also wrote about how Brazilian jujitsu had become an obsession, to the point that he kicked two of his other dangerous loves: drinking and smoking cigarettes.
“Drug free but a drinker until I started BJJ — at which point the inevitability of getting smashed every day made alcohol a much less attractive option and cigarettes out of the question,” he wrote. “Frankly, BJJ as an addiction has in many ways replaced my previous ones.”
You can see more from Bourdain’s covert Reddit account in Rolling Stone’s piece.