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George Shea: Hot Dog Villain

George Shea: Hot Dog Villain

Thu, 10 Feb 2022 11:00

Jamie Loftus is joined by Robert Evans to discuss George Shea the founder of Major League Eating who popularized the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who's simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff, you should know you will. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Just Google, who was the dictator of Romania. What? Yep, I'm Robert Evans. This is a podcast bad people. Sometimes I shout the name of a dictator. Well, I didn't wanna just do Hitler again. It's happened a lot of episodes of the show, my shouting Hitler, what that's a good now that they're so good name, there's so many things that you could have done. That was, I mean that it was really gonna be that or a tonal screeching. Ohh I tried to go with the high effort version. Alright, alright, fine, fine. You know what, if it takes giving you a little pat on the head for that to get things moving on the head, you know, like you know, yeah, it's Jamie. Yeah. Loftus. Yeah. Jay loft, galactus. There's you're circling around a really popular nickname. I am Jamie. Today we're doing a special Reverso episode of behind the ********. We're you join the rarified air of people who get to read episodes to me because there's some other ****** called Joey Chestnut and he eats hot dogs and you're angry about it, right? That's basically the pitch. That's not the pitch at all. Well, first, I don't know what the pitch is. There's a ************ named Joey Chestnut and I'm in love with him, but that has very little to do with what I'm going to be talking about today. So you've actually gotten the story 100% wrong. Joey Chestnut is someone that I. Love now the ******* that we're talking about. Joey Chestnut for weeks and I still have no idea who he actually is. You just say weeks. First of all, I'm offended. This has been a year of my life that I have. Three weeks is all I ever remember back to. That's true. OK, so, Joey, OK, this is, we're off to a terrible start. Is it just Joseph Chestnut if you're being formal? It's Joseph Chestnut if you're nasty. It's his dad's name. The best thing about Joey Chestnut is that his dad's name is Merlin, and that's just. There's some there's a ************ walking around named Merlin Chestnut. If you tell me his job as anything but foraging for mushrooms in the woods, I'm going to call you a liar. It's a close second. He's a public school music teacher, which I feel like Fitz Merlin Chestnut. The profiling Merlin chestnut. Chestnut music teacher. So Joey Chestnut is not the ******* we're discussing today, although he is intimately involved in the events that I will be describing. Rohs Nut is, for those of you who don't know, the hot dog eating champion and just in general I believe the eating champion of the world at this time. Most recently he's like the Joe Frazier of putting a lot of things in his mouth and then not puking. OK, that sounds a little dismissive of my husband's accomplishments, but go off the Joey I I saw Joseph this last year on he he competes in the. It's in the Nathan's hot dog eating contest on Coney Island on the 4th of July every single year going back to 2007. He's won 14 times. He's lost once. I will tell you why. It's a very funny reason. But I at this point, he's basically just competing with himself. He wins by a good 20 to 30 hot dogs every year and see, and that's that's more hot dogs than a person should be able to eat right there. Just the margin he won by is too many hot dogs. Will you just toss out a number? How many hot dogs do you think I saw Joseph Elizabeth Chestnut eat on the 4th of July in 10 minutes, 10 minutes? This last year, I'm gonna guess 60. It was 76. Jesus ******* Christ. It was 76, narrowly beating his own rap. His his former record of 75 then the previous year. Too many hot dogs he is well, OK, yes, but the thing though, what led Joey Chestnut strayed so far from God's light. First of all, that is my husband you're talking about. But I I do. I do see where you're coming from. There is. There's so much to talk about when it comes to competitive eating. I can't possibly cover it all. So I'm narrowing it to American hot dog eating from the past 40 years. And the main ******* to discuss is a man named George Shay, closely matched by his younger brother Richard Shay. So that is the topic. **** Shay, Dill, dickcheese, Shay. So that's the topic of today's episode. I've I've titled it George Shay's hot dog villain. I couldn't do better than that. I'm sure that that's that is a good title. That's probably what we'll just put out as the title of the episode now. In short, who he is. Explain to me quickly, when did we start doing this as a species? When did we start, like having contests to see how many hot dogs a ************ could eat? It goes way, way, way back. There is so much. There's so much to do. Discuss in terms of hot dogs in general, how they relate to American culture, and I'll just say right at the top, I'm writing a book about it, which is why I know so much about it. This is like, you've been deep in hot dog culture for a while now. Oh, I've been as deep in hot dog culture for the last eight months. So if you enjoy this episode, please buy my book that comes out next year. This is a very tiny part of it. It's a good question. There's no, like exact moment where eating contests became mainstream. They definitely, George Shea would have you believe they became popular at first in America, but they didn't. America very, very, very much ripped off the current competitive eating craze and kind of style and broadcasting tendencies from Japan, where it got very popular starting in the 90s. So it's gone. It goes back hundreds of years. As does hot dog culture in general. I mean, sausages and ground up meat goes back to ******* BBC now, yes, but but yeah, as far as formally broadcast eating events, they're they're newer. Newer than sausage at least. And America very much ripped off Japan in terms of how we do it. An uncommon story. So. Alright, OK, OK, I'm ready. I'm ready to learn, Jamie. I'm ready to learn about this wonderful new subculture. I'm very excited to tell you about it. Please ask any questions at any time, because it doesn't make sense. Yeah. I mean, my first question, which I would ask them, is what? What? What, what? What about the poops? That's going to be a problem for these guys, right? They are very cagey about the poops, Robert. I've been trying to find that out as well. They're very cagey about the poops. What? Can say is that there is. There's so much like any athletic event, which I do believe this is, there is a lot of showmanship involved and so, for example, what Joey Chestnut will do after eating 76 hot dogs, which I have to repeat, he did. Yeah, I wasn't. That's significant fraction of of of like a cow. Yeah, it's a that's a good chunk. Yeah, good chunk and and I I was in the press pit for that event. And then at the end, Joey Chestnut. I can't tell if this is something he's made to do or something he does by of his own volition, but he does not leave the stage right away. All the other hot dog eaters who lose the contest are allowed to leave, presumably to throw up and ****. They will never admit to this, but I'm assuming that that's what they do. Yeah. Joey Chestnut does not leave the stage. He stays on the stage. For upwards of an hour right after eating 76 hot dogs, smiles and answers questions for the press. So yeah, so he is. He's said in interviews that he doesn't throw up **** and **** right away. I am ********. A little skeptical of these claims. ******** I you know, it's his body and his choice, and I respect his bodily autonomy to hold in however much processed meat he wants for as long as he physically can. And and that is true love. Joey Chestnut's real girlfriend gave an incredible quote, I think. Like in the last couple of years where she was just like Joey smells different after like his pores. Of course not. But not even just like sweat. But like, just like there's meat. You're out of your course. It's radiating off of him. It's incredible. It's incredible. I mean, because he's holding an entire refrigerator worth of meat inside his body. I joke about being married to Joey Chestnut. Because I am. But I believe, God bless that woman, I don't. How do you, how? I don't know. Sounds? I mean, you have to have a number of plumbers on speed dial because you can't take somebody being busy, right? Like they've gotta get out there right away if there's a problem. Look, Merlin son gets the job done. We're talking about George Shea. George Shea, which we'll be getting very deep into is the MC and the kind of the the person who made who effectively publicized the Nathan's hot Dog Eating contest and by extension kind of hand selected Joey Chestnut to be the face of of that kind of endeavor. So here are some things that George Shay has said. Incapacity of the MC of the Hot Dog Contest on stage. I'm just going to throw three out. He says this on stage on Coney Island quote while introducing a hot dog eating contestant quote. His mother held him close and whispered in his ear. She said you are of mine flesh, but you are not mine. Own fate is your father and you belong to the people. And then he'll bring out a hot dog eating contest. A contestant. Here's another one. He was buried alive under 60. Cubic feet of popcorn and he ate his way out to survival. That David Blaine of the bowel, the evil Knievel of the elementary canal, the Houdini of cuisine. Please welcome crazy legs Conti. And then, of course, an older man who is white and has dreads comes on stage and eats 40 hot dogs. Right you are you getting kind of the cadence of what I'm. Here's a here's another one. He will do whatever it takes to win. Three days ago he broke up with his girlfriend and euthanized his dog to leave a void of emptiness inside of him. So he can do it today with hot dogs and buns and then he brings out some other guy and this is been going on for George has been doing this for 30 years. He has said a lot of things over the years, what I and it and it does take a turn, but he said a lot of things. Taken a couple so far. Broke up with his girlfriend and euthanized his dog. Purchase said a lot of things, some of them about what makes someone a champion, some of them about what makes someone an American, and a lot of them about hot dogs, because that is what his job is. Most of what George Shea will tell you is complete ******** and he will be the first to tell you that. Here are two quotes from him that I think are the closest to the truth as he's ever told. The first is something he said to Mel Magazine last year. He said you could argue that people are so inured to everything that there's very little downside. Causing controversy. The second thing you said was in 2019. In 2019 there was a 30 for 30 about hot this hot dog eating contest, and George Shay is very much the villain he says this. A lot of what I say literally isn't true in terms of words, but emotionally it is true. And that is sort of the entire ethos of what George Shay does. Verner Herzog has said some similar things. I mean, is there an episode in the works? No, because he's a perfect man who lived the ideal human life. Well, George Shay, he simply hasn't. He simply. He. He's he's a very ****** ** man. George Shay and his brother Richard Shea are a large part of why the Nathans Deutsche. There are a large part of why the Nathan's famous hot Dog Eating Contest is one of America's most disgusting traditions, right up there with drone strikes. They're not the entire reason, which would be a bad place for a drone strike. This first of all, don't say that because I go there. Hmm. Look, we're gonna have to sacrifice some good people in order to deal with the problem. Please. Me and Joey and Badlands Booker. Have you ever seen Badlands Booker or Matt Stoney? I'm talking about some of the greatest champions in our culture, Robert. Yeah, I have no idea who those people are because they do eating contests and that's not a thing most people know about. You're sick in the head. You're so lost. OK? So George and **** Shay made this a very popular cultural thing in the US by channeling energy, excess and showmanship. They are the founders of Major League Eating, which was founded in 1997, and they are also the perpetrators of a bunch of deception, racism and misogyny that exist in service of America's great dish, the hot dog. Now, Robert, we've discussed hot dogs before. Mm-hmm. And I am curious if you have updated, improved your views on the hot dog 'cause. Last time we talked about it, you said Octopus was a hot dog, which was just so commonly and it's delicious, not great. I mean it's it's an octopus on bread and I'm sure it's delicious, but it's not hot. That's not a hot dog to purse. I think hot dogs are defined by the fact that you can't possibly limit them to a specific sort of meat. Anything on a hot dog bun is a hot dog. Well, that's a, that's a that's a gorgeous assumption. I I would say that it tends to be a a meaty paste that can only be created under the least ethical circumstances possible. So if we have the octopi in your hot dogs are are are dying in the most unsavory ways, I will guarantee they are. I mean, as a general rule, if we're getting it from the sea, we're we're destroying. The Ocean's ability to support life in order to do it well, no, I understand that, but I I just have you ever seen video footage of a hot dog factory? Because it's it's unique. It's uniquely bad. Yeah. I I mean, what I love. I I will say I prefer hot dogs that are mixes of unspeakable nightmare meats. Of course. Because I I want when I'm eating a hot dog, I want to feel bad about myself. Well, you should, you should. And I have. And my life is really, I've taken years off of my own life. Not out of, not out of eating hot dogs, which people will say they'll cite this study being like, oh, every hot dog you eat takes 36 minutes off of your life when it's like, well, serotonin adds to your life so it pretty much evens out. Yeah, absolutely. But the but the psychic guilt of of eating this many hot dogs is what's removing time from my life. The Shea brothers. Create so they they created Major League eating into a marketable sport in the US, drawing heavily from the sport's early success in Japan. So today there's over 250 eaters who are registered with Major League eating, and they've expanded to competing outside of hot dogs. They started with the Nathan's contest, but now they compete, bucking everything. There are wings contest, there's pie eating contests. There's Joey Chestnut started with asparagus eating. That was his big oh, that poor woman. Was his breakout. Yeah, it was his breakout moment, Robert. He ate asparagus in San Diego and ascended to a great man. There's calamari, there's ramen, there's everything. There's like hundreds of categories. And now the Joey Chestnut is currently the face of Major League eating. But it wasn't always that way. The Shea brothers grew up in the 1960s. George Shea was born in 1964, or five in Boston. Richard Shay is 4 years younger. They grew up in Maine with no particular interest in sports or competitive eating whatsoever. Richard Shea describes them as being very introverted teens who did amateur magic and listened to The Smiths and R.E.M. Together. Well, that does make sense, because the State Board of Maine is slowly waiting for death. I was about to say, I mean, I think that as far as teenagers in Maine, that's not that bad. Amateur magic. There's a lot of worse ways to go. Yeah, you you stare into the Gray skyline and wait for your life to end. That's that's what what all the kids get up to in Maine. I spent a lot of time in Maine as a kid, and I never made a single friend. No, nobody has friends in Maine. It's not allowed. Your only friend is the echoing emptiness of the woods. But I will say the streets are paved with signed Stephen King. Drugs and yeah, do. That part is nice. Yeah, I do love that. So they grow up in Maine. George later enrolls in Columbia University in New York. He wants to be a fiction writer. This is a big part of the George Smith. He's a ******* dweeb. He's walking around listening to The Smiths and R.E.M. On his little cassette player. He's a huge fan of James Joyce and Flannery O'Connor who he claims to these to this day. Are his biggest writing influences when he's writing the introduction to hot dog contests, which are, to his credit, sometimes very literary? So he wants to be a fiction writer, but he graduates in 1986 and has to get an adult job while he's working on a series of failed plays and novels that never get off the ground anywhere. But he starts living in New York and working for a series of pretty high profile ad men. And so the guy who gives him his big start and gets him into the nathans famous. Hot dog Eating contest is this guy named Morty Matz, who is extremely fascinating in his own right. He also it's like the most ad man name I've ever heard. So more Democrats invented the Nathan's famous hot Dog eating contest, although he denied this for years and years. Meanwhile, **** Shay, who kind of fades in and out of this story, he went to Villanova. And later, kind of just, he's kind of like riding Georgia's coattails throughout this experience, this, this whole story. Yeah. So Oh no. Sophie's Internet. You lost to Sophie. OK, cool. Well, everyone back at home we lost Sophie, so Sophie. You know. We're gonna go to ads now? Might as well. Oh yeah, do you wanna a product or a service maybe? Yeah. Let's go check out ads while we see if those ******* ******** that spectrum. Can get Sophie back on the Internet. Ohh Robert. First they dropped corn cob TV and then they dropped Sophie's ****** *******. They think we're a bunch of dumb Hicks, Jamie. That was a very professional pivot. I loved every second of it. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. For anyone who hates their phone Bill, Mint Mobile offers premium wireless for just $15.00 a month. Mint Mobile will give you the best rate whether you're buying. Or for a family. And it meant family start at 2 lines. All plans come with unlimited talk and text, plus high speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. 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Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. Oh my God, those ads were great. And what's even greater is that Sophie's back. Hi, Sophie's back. The spectrum gods have taken. I don't know. I can. All of my all of my happiness. Yeah, and. They still haven't brought back corncob TV. They still haven't. And and I have a bad feeling that they won't, even though I've really enjoyed the programming, including iconically cough and flop, of course, of course. I mean, one of the greatest shows on television or was, and they didn't break ****. I don't care what people say. No, they didn't. I've been there. I've seen it. I wrote, yeah, you know what it was? It's great television. We're talking about George Shay, OK? George so George Shea, he graduates from Columbia in 1986, starts working for this ad man named Morty Matz. Morty Matz is an absolute legend in the field. He's still alive. I think he's like 97 years old. I'm gonna just kind of skip down to. What Morty Matz has done because his resume is just extremely wild, Morty Matt says when he takes over the Nathan's hot dog eating account and begins this contest, he gives a series of made-up legends as to how long this contest has existed, all of which are lies. He first says that there has been a contest since 1916 when Nathan's opened. He says that four immigrants held a hot dog eating. Contest on the pier on the 4th of July to determine who was the most patriotic. That was a lie. He then pivoted to say that the contest began in 1941 as a protest to World War One. And that was a lie. Wait, World War One in 1941? Sorry, World War Two? OK, and then what? Were they OK in 1941? If you're protesting World War Two, you're probably not. Someone you would want to associate your your sport with either but. To be fair, he's lying. And then yeah, of course, of course. And then Morty pivots this again and says in 1971 that it was begun as a protest to the Vietnam War. He he makes up all of these weird lies. But Jamie, yeah, what is your lioness to when lying is good or not? Because I have a thing that I've been doing for a while now where whenever I have a close friend or loved one, I tell them one lie. And it's it's always it's always something very subtle. But the first example of this is I I convinced the person I was with for a number of years. Just as the result of a casual conversation once that the band Hanson had died in a terrible bus crash, you told me it was literally last week. And like, I know. Well, I'm trying to say what what is the line? Because sometimes it can be fun to do that sort of stuff. And then someone brings up a lie. The lie you told me and what I've I never tell anyone what the lie I've told. I know the lie you. I know the lie Robert told me. He didn't tell me when someone was named Daddy. No. Well, yeah, that is that. But that was for an altruistic reason. I had to save Christmas. Me, I never lie. I will never tell you. I never lied to you, I that's great. The point is that you should never trust anybody, and that's why everyone gets one lie. I trust you there. I know that's what makes it so dangerous. I only lie. It's the opposite of gaslighting. I don't wanna know the life, *** **** it. So sad. I don't think that these are bad lies. I think that these are very marketing egy lies and Morty Matz, because he's still alive and he's literally almost 100 years old, he admits in 2010. It's it's too old and he's still working, which I'll get. He's currently he's currently working on rehabilitating the the reputations of some Mega Church pastors. That's what he's working on in his twilight years, meaning he's 97. But he he admits in 2010 that all of these origin stories are lies, and that it was Morty Matt's idea in this early 70s to start holding this contest to drum up some publicity for for Nathan's hot dogs. Other things about Morty mats that I would just like you to know is that he's almost 100. He fought in World War Two. He's currently still the press agent for the Durst. Family? No. Robert Durst. So he's he's he's been a busy man lately. He's at work there is just like his career is is equally fascinating to me. He he. So he is the reason George Shea exists. George Shea came up working for this guy who did like George Shea. I think a combination of very funny and very evil things. Some things that are attributed to Morty Matz as sort of. Innovations, for better or worse. In American PR, he's said to have popularized the idea of a perp walk. So like marching a suspect into police headquarters for people to take pictures of. I guess that that was something that he kind of innovative and you would never want any you you should not want people to know if that's the thing you helped invent. Well, that's the thing about these guys though. They don't care. Like it's all about impressions. It doesn't matter what the impression is as long as it's getting attention. So he fully claims. You know whether it's true or not that yeah I'm the guy who invented the perp walk. He worked with the New York Mob in the 60s. He's he invented that big name when you say worked with the mob, I don't have any more information than that. That's just what he said he's worked with he he worked a lot he I think he's self-described Gotti adjacent mob is what was said. He invented the big national debt clock. That was, I don't know if it's still there, but it was in Times Square for a very long time. He invented that with the Durst family. He invented the current route of the New York City Marathon so that it would go through more areas and get more press. He's working with Mega Church pastors now, and he created the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest. He's done a lot of stuff and his legacy is is very all over the place. And I. Really? I'm just like, should he still be alive? I don't know. Definitely not. I I'm gonna answer that one. I'm gonna say maybe. You know, he should have hung up his little head a long time ago. But but all that to say he creates this myth around Nathan's hot dog eating contest. And already there's a lot of mythic qualities to the hot dog eating or too hot the hot dog industry in general there. It doesn't really fall under the purview of this story. You'll just have to buy my book next year to find out, Robert. But it I mean, it's very, very well known that, like, the meatpacking industry is a ******* disaster and that the hot dog isn't an American dish. It was brought here by. German, Polish and Austrian immigrants as sausages and kind of innervated overtime by independent carts the the real American quality to hot dogs is the industrial era, and the most American thing about hot dogs is the worker and animal abuse that comes with their production. So, like, whether it's the like it, I mean, to this day it's like, you know, you've got Upton Sinclair reporting on meatpacking in the jungle, right. And then you've also got. As recently as last year, there were those meatpacking scandals after Trump and, you know, sent out that executive order that to say that the meat factories must remain open. And so there were these huge coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking industries and there were like. Executives and managers taking bets on how many workers were going to get coronavirus because of this executive order and their own incompetence to protect their own workers. Like it's just an absolutely. The story of hot dogs is truly the stuff of nightmares. But George Shea's job is to make it very American and very appealing and very watchable. Right? So George Shea starts working under this guy. Morty matz. Mr Perp walk himself. Mr Robert Durst. Best friend? In the 1980s, OK, so. Uh, George Shea, prior to this, had been sort of like working his way up in this company. He was slowly. I feel like, I mean, it's we hear this story all the time. He was just slowly giving up on his dream of becoming an artist in pursuit of becoming a very evil person, you know? So much like Hitler's a friend of the pod. Hitler, right? And then the reverse. Hitler, George W Bush, like there's all these failed artists. Who end up doing the most ****** ** thing you could think of? George Shea. Fortunately, there's been like multiple people who are like, thank God George Shea only is interested in hot dogs. Or he really could have done some damage because he's truly, like a very ****** ** person. But in the 80s he would do all these sorts of things. For Morty Matz, there was one account of him convincing an attractive woman to sit on an egg for two weeks and claim that she was trying to hatch it. That was some PR he did. What was that? What is that PR for? What is that sell, Robert? I don't know. You gotta know who it was for, right? Was it like an egg selling company? What, is this? My source there? And I wasn't interested in learning more, to be perfectly honest. My source there is it. It's in the 30 for 30 documentary where George Shea is showing the documentarian around his office and says, hey, this is one of my early successes and he points to a newspaper clipping that I could not find online. *******. Anywhere of a woman sitting on an egg saying woman sits on an egg for two weeks and he's like, this is one of my earliest successes who. I'm assuming he was advertising eggs, but I don't know. Yeah, it must baffling. OK, great. And OK, that's that's that's wonderful. I love this mystery. Listeners at home find out what he was selling. Another thing he does is this is to promote Palisades Park. He puts an elephant on water skis. These are the things that he's doing. To prove himself to Morty maths right, and it works. And Morty mats by the late 80s, early 90s says, hey, I wanna bring you in on the Nathan's hot dog eating account, you know, start coming to these contests that I've been holding since the 1970s. So this is the story that George Shea tells about how he came to take over this contest beginning in 1990. Again, George Shea is saying it, so it very well could be a lie, but this is what he says in 2021. He says that he first became more intimately interested in 1990 after noticing that a hot dog eating competitor was cheating during the contest. So he went up to his boss, Morty Matz, and said, hey, someone is cheating, we should do something about this and then quote big Morty told me to go over and get a cop to arrest the guy, which I thought was crazy, UN quote. But basically what this taught him was it doesn't matter who wins, it just matters how much attention it gets the company. And it's with this mentality that George Shay takes over the Nathan's hot dog eating account in 1990. The first one he runs is in 1991, and by this time Richard Shay was slowly starting to become involved as well. Some things that he did throughout the 90s before establishing a Major League eating and after, there there was this huge scam he did where he wrote a scholarly article that he submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine called the Belt of Fat theory. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. I've heard of this from the King of the Hill episode about competitive eating. Yes. So that was a real thing. He basically made-up this complete ******** lie, submitted it to the New England Journal of Medicine. And then upon being rejected, got a ton of press for saying, I can't believe the New England Journal of Medicine doesn't think that the belt of fat, fat theory is any good to get more people to come to the contest. And it worked. It like, it always works. That was. That's fascinating. I mean, and also, I, I think I kind of want to lie to the New England Journal of Medicine now, too. Seems like a worthwhile thing. What's your lie of choice? I mean, you said one lie. Does that apply also to the New England Journal of Medicine, Robert? Yeah, I think I might try to get them to believe that. Hanson died in a bus crash. I think that that's of critical interest to them. The other major thing that he does. Before founding Major League eating, the belt of fat thing came, came after. But before that, the critical innovation that he makes to this contest is that he invents a prize, which there wasn't previously. There was just a winner. And then it's over. There weren't champions. It wasn't viewed as a sport. It wasn't people weren't supposed to be invested in it year round. It was just kind of a yearly stunt. Yeah, it sounded like a lot more reasonable than what it's become. Yeah, but George Shea decided, you know what? I think this is going to be a sport. So he invented something called the Mustard belt, which he made with an old belt, a bunch of paint from an art store and rhinestones. He like made it on the the floor of his friend's apartment and just brought it to a contest in the 90s and said this is, you know, a symbol that you're now competing for which very, very quickly increased interest in competing. There's kind of the idea of this WWE style belt that you could win. For for for winning the contest. And I would say that the current Nathan's contest is equally built on Japanese competitive eating TV shows and the WWE because George Shaw's wife is a writer for the WWE. Which is also endlessly interesting to me as she produces soap operas and writes for the WWE. This is just like the most pageant style family of all time. Very fun. And it's also in the 90s that George Shay becomes the the MC of these events. So, Robert, I made you look at a picture of this guy's listeners. If you haven't seen a picture of him, I would Google the term. George Shay, hot dog. Yeah. There's a bunch of George shares in the world. Robert, how would you just how did you describe this man to me? Just describe him. Roger Stone dressed as the Riddler, if the Riddler came from the antebellum South. And that's also kind of the vibe of his performance as well. So his his job of MC, it's all energy, it's all very mythic overstatement. And his job is to to basically bring on the most normal looking people in the entire world and make them sound like they're WWE wrestlers, which he's been doing for 30 years now, for better or worse, very effectively. But this is how a George Shay describes what he does. In 2021, he said, uh, quote, a guy eating a bunch of hot dogs is one thing, but a guy in a straw hat pounding the tables like an apocalyptic preacher is such a contrast that it really drew people in, UN quote. So he developed this style of introducing competitors and attributing these very mythic qualities to him. So this is from The New Yorker in 2016. He's. It says Matt Stoney represents youth. George Shea says youth is feral and it is vicious. Joey Chestnut is a hero. George Shea says he has God's username and password, which I think is awesome. He's a. I mean, some of them are pretty good, and Sonya Thomas, who calls herself the Black Widow, is a villain. George Shay says she is the darkness driven ever westward by the rising sun. So it just looks very. Dramatic performative style. So OK, by the late 1990s, George and **** Shay founded Major League Eating, which still exists to this day. **** kind of stays in the background, although later on he will begin to work as a color commentator on ESPN when they start to broadcast them nationally. But we're not there yet. The 90s for this Shays are is very kind of scrappy. They are starting to start contests around the country. Nothing really bad has happened yet. They're just trying to get this made-up sport that they invented to take off, and it's sort of working sort of does, and I'm not sure why, but it does feel like competitive eating is one of those things that couldn't really take off until we had 911 happen. I'm not sure why, but I think 911 was critical for competitive eating. You're almost right. You're almost right. Much like a. Movie Shrek. Competitive eating really takes off about two months before 911 happened, but it's very, very close. It takes off in, I think, that this is actually, I think that Shrek came out in July 2001, maybe June, and competitive eating, Major League eating really starts to take off in 2001 for a reason, I'm about to tell you. But yeah, like the Major League eating it was like a very scrappy, like slowly, slowly building momentum throughout the 90s and early 2000s. They've got this big, goofy logo that has Latin on it, and the Latin translates to engorging truth, so it's just all like. Ridiculous. So what they're missing, essentially, and getting this sport that they've invented to take off, is any sort of champion or person worth rooting for that is like very much what is missing. And so they find their first major champion, who becomes, I think. Kind of a. Huge casualty of George Shaw's villainous tendencies, and that is a Japanese eating champion, Takeru Kobayashi. Do you know of Takeru Kobayashi Robert? He does not. Is he who they named the Kobayashi Maru for? I don't know. I think we're. I don't know what you're talking about. OK, that's fine. That's fine. No, I don't need to explain things. Please continue. I very much know. So kobiyashi he was, he was a very, very popular figure in America for a span of like 5 to 7 years. But he was, he's a Japanese eating champion who first begins to compete in America in 2001. And so he was invited by Major League eating to come from. Japan to compete in America at the Nathan Tata gating contest because there was already, you know, cultural infrastructure for competitive eating on TV and in pop culture in Japan. And so there were all of these kind of like low budget competitive shows that Kobayashi became a minor celebrity in because he was this very, I don't know, he was just really fun to watch. He was like 23 years old. He was really skinny. He had a 6 pack. He had, like a signature move called the Kobiyashi Wiggle. He was just like this, like. Sexy heartthrob who girls loved and he could eat so much meat in one sitting and that was his whole thing. But what kind of set him apart in terms of what impressed people about him in America was that he trained as if he were an athlete, like he had an actual training regimen and stayed very lean and wasn't, you know, what Americans associated competitive eating with, which was just like people gorging themselves, like there was strategy involved. So Kobyashi comes in 2001. And the Shays are very they're always emphasizing his otherness since he gets to America, there are emphasizing, oh, look at this skinny kid, he says he can eat 50 hot dogs. What a liar, you know all this stuff. But Kobiyashi comes to America and in a single event on the 4th of July double s the record for a number of hot dogs that you can eat in at that time 12 minutes. So he eats. 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes does a lap of full lap around the closest American and people lose their **** and he immediately becomes this kind of huge viral in early 2000s terms figure in America. So the Shays are very quick to say, oh, we've got to keep this guy, you know, around. This is the most attention our competition has ever gotten and they encourage kobyashi. Keep coming back, which he does, because now he's becoming an American celebrity. There's access to money he's in like a MasterCard commercial. He becomes, you know, a minor American celebrity now. And what is like interesting? And this is all laid out in the 30 for 30 documentary which I would highly recommend called the Good, the Bad, the Hungry. Is that from the very, very beginning, the shades we're always rooting for and against kobyashi they were saying, well, this guy can eat more hot dogs than anyone else, but what if an American could do that? And they were always kind of trying to stoke the very American tendency to dislike people who are not American. And so Kobiyashi was not really hyper aware of this at the time because he became an American celebrity so quickly that he he he thought he was going to be, you know, in New York for a weekend in 2001. Not, you know, not in September, but he was just going to go, you know, to America for a couple of days. So he he didn't speak English fluently and he didn't really understand for awhile how he was being talked about right in front of him, even though, I mean there's a lot of footage of it and it's pretty unsettling. And overtime he starts to realize kind of what is going on, but he becomes a celebrity and he wins the contest in the US for the next six years. He wins every single year from 2001 to 2006. There's no real American competitor that can touch him. And the Shays kind of continue this process of building him up so that they can keep their operation, you know, popular, but also constantly saying, let's get an American in here. They were very, very much seeking out an American champion. Which brings us to 2007. Where Major League Eatings first viable rivalry comes out and the sheets are ******* all over it. And guess who comes into the picture at this point, Robert? Guess who it is? It's Joseph chestnut, baby. He is, and he's exactly who they're looking for. He is a random white guy from San Diego whose dad's name is Merlin. He is like the champion that they're looking for. And so this is extremely bad news for for Kobayashi, who at this point has a lot of American cultural clout. But the second that there is an American rival for him, the shares are very, very clearly switching their allegiance. And they're doing this through promotional materials. They're doing this through the press. And all of a sudden, Kobayashi is being villainized in the press instead of lifted up as kind of the only hero of this sport. What is especially frustrating about that is that Joseph Chestnut only became a competitive eater because he was a huge fan of Kobayashi. Like, literally every current American eating champion started because they watched Kobayashi on TV when they were kids, because he was this just huge figure. He could do things that no one else could do. He trained, you know, he was very artful in the way he ate. And so Joey. Says that he saw Kobayashi on a terrible spike TV broadcast, which, again the Shays are getting all sorts of money off of this because they signed Kobyashi 2 Major League eating. He's not allowed to work for anyone else, and they start to kind of like license his appearances out. So they're making a ton of money off of his success, and when Joey's a teenager, he sees Kobayashi on American TV losing a hot dog eating contest to a grizzly bear. What? What? What? This is on TV, Robert he. Watch there is on Spike TV. Kobayashi, I mean the list of Apple TV. How is it legal to do that to a grizzly bear? That can't be good for them. Look I don't know that I mean it shouldn't be legal to do to to Carol Kobiyashi. I mean they. But it's and it's interesting to listen to Kobayashi talk about his views on American culture and how that changed over time because he, I mean it was just the Shays were very much escalating the second there was interest in the sport. They were like, OK, Kobayashi can eat 50 hot dogs. OK what can we get him to do on TV? We're going to get him to compete against a grizzly bear. We're going to have him eat cow brains against a bunch of American weirdos. Like they had him doing all of this stuff and he's in a contract that is mutually beneficial. Like he's making a lot of money, but he can only do what they say he can do, which becomes a big problem later on. But Joey seems kind of like it started as a big problem. I would argue everything you've described as a problem it is. It's a huge problem and it's and it's one of those things. It reminds me of the podcasting industry in that there's just no that I have no notes and I'm so grateful. That it exists, but there's no, there's no precedent for it. You know, like there there was never a Major League eating contract. People, you know, they're they're marketing it as a sport, but people who are in sports don't think it's a sport. So it just kind of becomes this weird novelty thing that if you are the person in power and making these contracts and there is a significant language barrier between you and your champion, you can **** someone over pretty heavily. Which is what? They do over time to to Caro Kobiyashi. So Joey. Joey sees Kobe actually lose to a grizzly bear and says I want to be that grizzly bear baby, he said. Alright Merlin, get in the car, we're gonna start eating asparagus. And that's what Joey does. I mean, Joey like is so inspired that he decides he wants to be an eating champion and while he's in College in San Diego, he starts training with his mom and he wins a local. Asparagus eating contest and slowly it becomes clearer as he's competing in more and more, you know increasingly prestigious eating events that he might be an actual threat to kobiyashi. So when the Shays get wind of this, they see Joey Chestnut who is really the most whatever guy. I mean I I love him dearly, but he's just some guy, right? And they but he can eat a lot of hot dogs and they're like, OK, this is the American champion. That we want. Let's push this rivalry as much as we possibly can. And so by 2007. There is an established rivalry between Joey and Kobayashi, and they're pushing it. And at this point, beginning in 2003, off of Kobayashi's popularity in the US, ESPN begins broadcasting this event every year. It's been on ESPN every single year since 2003. They split it by gender in 2011, which I'll get to because there's no reason to do it, and it's ****** ** but they broadcast the men's competition on ESPN. And they broadcast the women's competition on ESPN 3 because. Well, you know, but anyways it as of 2007 all genders compete in the same contest. So the big three competitors in this contest that the shades are pushing are kobiyashi, Joey Chestnut and Sonya Black Widow Thomas and Joey beats Kobayashi. And this is a huge turning point in the sport, but only because it. Very much changes the way that the shades approach marketing. There are now 2 champions, so Kobayashi. Doesn't quite understand this at first. He was at first like kind of excited to have someone to compete against because it was, I guess kind of like bored, like they had to keep pitting him against animals because no one could compete with him. But now all of a sudden, well, there's this guy he can actually compete with, and he was kind of excited about it, only to find that. Very, very quickly the tide changed at the Shays. You know, encouragement to being as racist to kobyashi as you could possibly be in service of Joey Chestnut becoming the American champion. So Joey wins in 07, and immediately the crowd turns on. Kobayashi and the Shays are encouraging it. They're saying all sorts of, I I don't want to say what they were saying. It was very racist and immediate. And they're draped in American flags shouting USA, USA to Joey chestnut and kind of in Christ, right. And it's like in a single moment, you know, Joey is like changed from. Some guy from San Diego into a symbol that is very much not within his own control and the Shays are in control of that symbol. And so you know after 2007 kobyashi is the other the extremely other non American enemy and Joey is the American champion right? You're great thoughts. I yeah I I mean it's it makes. It makes sense that like. They would abandon the guy who had made them all of his money as soon as there was a chance at having an American and and, like use him cruelly. Cause it seems like that's exactly the kind of people they are, yeah. I don't know. It's it's it's wild. That competitive eating sounds more or less exactly like the WWE. Yeah, yeah, for sure. There, there we go. But you know what? Isn't unethical. What to its workers? Ohh no, the podcasting industry. Uh, huh? For sure. And you know what that's supported by. Ohh OK. I was like, where is this going? These, these products and services exactly. God bless product USA. USA, yeah. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. 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Is there anything that we haven't talked about or or I should have asked you or you'd like to add that seems relevant? You should have asked me why I'm missing fingers on my left hand. A story about sacrifice. I think his suffering drove him to try to alleviate suffering. And the shocking discovery I made where I faced the consequences of writing a book I thought would help people? Isn't that funny? That's not funny at all. It's depressing. Very depressing. Revisionist history is back with more. Listen to revisionist history on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts. I've never seen less enthusiasm for a great idea in my life. We're back and look, I lied a little bit. There's a lot of unethical stuff in the podcasting industry. For example, sometimes Sophie asks me to get up as early as 11:30. OK, that's first of all violence against Roberts and I won't horrible for it. Second of all, we just found out a few minutes ago that you are a liar. So. Yeah, what is that? What is an example of a lie that you've told me? No. One lie. Everybody gets one. No. Yeah, well, it was my lie. The daddy thing. Or is it a different lie? No, no. That was for a utilitarian purpose. I had to do that for everyone's sake. Go categorizing your lives like that. That's ********. I it's called categorizing, and I do it all the time. Does my lie have anything to do with Anderson? I can't say so. I think I know what it is and I'm furious. I can't say wow, what it OK do I wanna know? Everyone gets one for everyone, including the listeners of this show. You know, everybody gets 11. No, it's the lie. Robert loves 100% of you. I've never said that lie. I know, but that's the lie. He loves you all 40% of the statistically speaking that, that. But that's the lie. That's the line. OK. So serious. It's 2007, you guys. Joey is the champion now and everyone is the the tide is very much turned on. Kobayashi and George Shay being himself, being his straw hat villain, is very upfront about what he was trying to do here. He says this in the 30 for 30 documentary in 2019. He says. I've always used Pro American rhetoric. And the belt is a national prize from the day the belt was made. Reminder the belt was made by him in a living room out of cardboard. Says quote you think I want Kobyashi to win six years in a row? Necessarily if he wins, he wins. But that's not great for the narrative. You need to understand that there's an American hero, and you can be a hero in the same exact way, but you can't be an American hero because you weren't American, UN quote. So that's he's very, very clear, OK? He's like, hello, I am racist about my weird cardboard belt that I made. And this is where I mean it. Genuinely like it. It's. It's difficult to watch and and learn about because this like, for some time, I mean, he's fine now, but like this, like really destroyed Kobayashi's life for some time. Where he, you know, he describes being completely shocked and scared at how the American public very rapidly turned on him once Joey Chestnut became the champion. And he said, quote, I didn't understand American culture, so it scared me and George Shay, you know this guy. Who is contracting him and is in complete control of his finances, is going on live television and mocking him to his face. You know, after immediately after Kobyashi loses, George Shay gets on stage and his little outfit and says the dark days of the last six years are behind us of his own champion and, you know, raises Joey Chestnut's Fist in the air. And. Joey's role in this is insidious and passive, where in all of the interviews, Joey is very aware of what's going on. He knows that he's being, you know, raised as this champion, and he knows that Kobayashi's being mistreated, but he doesn't stand to benefit from saying anything, and so he doesn't. And it's clear in kind of clips that you can find that the Shea brothers, and and George in particular, are very much trying to control. Joey Chestnut's behavior you can see in a series of promotional clips that they'll ask Joey a simple question of like, well, how does it feel to beat Kobayashi, you know, and Joey is? He's a simple man, you know, he'll he'll say things like it felt good, you know, like, and then you know, George Shea will be off camera offering him mythic punch up to to what Joey said. To make it sound meaner and to make it sound more, you know, jingoistic and all of this stuff. There's this incredibly ****** ** clip where George Shay, I mean, he's he's filming a promotional clip talking about the day that Joey Chestnut defeated Kobyashi. And he says in this very I don't know. He's like, you know, the ******** is at 11. And he says, after that event, I went back to my room and I wept. I silently wept because something was lost. We had a hero and our hero was no longer invulnerable. And I wept. And then he stopped. There you are. These people are eating too much food. Like, stop it. Stop taking it so seriously. Stop being like this. Well, he's lying, though, because it's like right after, you know, he says, and I wept. There's a pause. He thinks the camera is cut and then he starts laughing because he's making it all up and he's doing it to humiliate Kobayashi and elevate Joey Chestnut because he doesn't give a ****. And he would just wants people to to watch the *******. Broadcast like he does it, it is like a level of I'm, I'm certain that he's a jingoistic racist person, but there is, there's like a level of lawlessness here that really. Uniquely unsettles me, where it's like it's kind of hard to know what he thinks about anything because he'll just say whatever he needs to say to get attention. Like it's it his views could be anything. It's. I don't love it so. After this, Kobayashi becomes understandably frustrated with Major League eating. He loses his mother, which also kind of makes him want to be closer to home. He doesn't want to be in the US so much anymore. Is also being actively mistreated by people in the US. People are like cornering him on the streets of New York and screaming USA and his face, and he's saying like, I felt unwelcome. I was shocked. They used to cheer for me and I started to feel like I wasn't welcome in America anymore. So he wants out, you know, he's he's not being treated well in this contract. He there's been this WWE style heel turn that he has not consented to and people are treating him like **** and. So he competes against Joey for a couple more years. It's on and off, I believe. I mean, Joey is edging him out most of the time. I do believe that Kobayashi wins against him at least once in that stretch of years. But by 2010 he's done and Kobayashi tells George Shea, I'm not competing in the competition this year, I'm, I'm, I'm done. And this was partially because George Shea would not release him from his contract because. All of Major League Eating was so dependent on this rivalry specifically, he didn't want to let Kobayashi out. He just wanted to keep calling him a ***** ** **** on live television and saying racist things and having that be how Kobyashi made his living so. He says I'm not going to do it anymore. And at the 2010 contest there is a big dramatic event where Kobayashi refuses to compete but does go to the contest wearing AT shirt that says free Kobe and basically starts this chant in the crowd among Kobayashi supporters. And this is all an ESPN like you can watch the whole thing. Joey is in the middle of competing. Against no real viable competitor at this time, except for the Black Widow and. Kobayashi is in the crowd wearing a free Kobe shirt. I really want a free Kobe shirt. I think our listeners can find that for you. There's somebody who here listening, who is deep into eater culture and it's gonna be now yelling at me that eaters are what you call people who are part of the weird fetish community and not appropriate as a term for these athletes. And they're very angry right now. They're shrieking at me through their headphones in the middle of a Trader Joe's. I hope I'm getting this right. To whoever that listener is because I it's it's a lot to take in. What's fun about stuff like this, Jamie, is no matter how much research you do. You were wrong in a specific enough way that somebody is literally ******** on the floor of a Trader Joe's having a stroke injury. Because you've gotten a fact wrong about Kobayashi's early practicing career. Such ****. It's going to be great for this. It's going to be great insight into your life, really. My listeners are very nice, OK? He's wearing. So he's wearing your shirt. This is free Kobe. He starts a chant saying let him eat, let him eat. And Kobayashi is like, I mean he is a showman at heart. He could eat a lot of ******* hot dogs, but he's again, no offense to my husband Joey, but he's got the showman personality and the technique that Joey Chestnut has never had. Joey Chestnut, an awkward guy who could eat 76 hot dogs. That's basically what he can do. Kobayashi has like an air about him. He's very exciting to watch and so. What he does is storm the stage after the contest ends saying I want to shake Joey's hand. That's all he says. What George Shay identifies is an opportunity that goes back to him being at that 1990 contest saying it doesn't matter what the right thing to do is have him arrested and people will watch that. And so George Shay it is said there's no proof that George Shay ordered this, but it stands to reason, George Shay tells security. Arrest Kobiyashi on live television and that's what happened. He was dragged off the stage, he was slammed into the and he was arrested on live television. What the ****? Yeah, the change. Why couldn't people just watch ******* other dudes eat too much? Like, why does all of this nonsense have to happen? It what? It wouldn't be on ESPN if it was just guys eating? I mean it. It is absurd, like how far they're willing to go. And it is also absurd how effective it is, because this was a huge story, like when Kobayashi was arrested at the contest that he had won six previous. Times at the contest that he had popularized in the first place. And they ******* arrested him like it was just it was. It's I'm very deep into this, but it is very compelling footage to watch and again, George Shay, years later, is very upfront about what he was trying to do, he says. This last year, he says when Kobiyashi stormed the stage, it was phenomenal. Unfortunate in so many ways, but phenomenal for press. That's how it grew and grew. It was always about the free media. This year we had something like 40 billion consumer impressions, just a massive number and huge value and. So again, it's just he doesn't care. Like it's whatever The thing is that's gonna get attention is the thing he will do. And in this moment, it was arrest Kobyashi, which is you know it. Yeah. How do you feel about that? I. I think they've overcomplicated. Watching people kill their hearts through processed meat and I'm I'm livid, Jamie. I'm the angriest I've ever been. Good, good. I was hoping that this story would get you there because it is a very, it's so, I mean and it's so like. Specifically American in the ways that it's infuriating because it's all just like. Weird PR and eating things that are bad for you like it's all so ridiculous. It's already it was never going to be a good thing because it's it's bad to eat 76 hot dogs like. It's not a good thing to do. Watch for a number of reasons. Be careful. Be careful. But but they've just made it so unpleasant for no reason, and I am. I'm I'm livid. Do you understand now, though, why people say that it's good that George Shay only applies this skill of evil to hot dogs? Because imagine this somewhere else. It was. Yes, I I am glad that he stayed out of politics, I guess. People like him are going to do damage somewhere, and maybe sailing off them to the competitive eating community is better than some things. But I mean, the main person who screwed here is Kobayashi, who I just I I love. Kobe, Free Kobe, uh. He's devastated by this happening, obviously, he says. I thought the US was a place where people would be recognized as an American hero because of their achievements, and I thought that where you came from and what race you are had nothing to do with it. And Joey Chestnut said in response to this entire event, maybe I lack a little empathy, because Joey Chestnut, I mean this. He's not the ******* on the chopping block here, but he he. You know, he doesn't say anything. He doesn't say anything in Kobayashi's defense, since in spite of the fact that Kobayashi's the only reason that he's even doing what he's doing, he he very much goes with the flow, with the Shay brothers every single time. So OK. So that's kind of the extent of the the men's contest to this day. I mean, ever since Kobe actually left the sport, Joey has lost one time and I will tell you why now. It's very funny. After Kobayashi's gone Joey chestnut, like to this day, is the face of the company. The shares love him. He plays ball with ******* whatever he makes, you know, like 2 to $300,000 a year. Competitive eating. He's got a vanity mustard line. He loses once in 2015, and it is very funny. In 2014, he proposed to his then girlfriend on stage immediately before eating 70. Hot dogs. She says yes, it's all. We're all like, woohoo, you know, and George Shea facilitates the proposal. It's all very weird and corporate. 2015 Joy Chestnut shows up to the event, and you find out through a series of very funny ESPN color commentary that the wedding was called off. And she dumped him. It did not you. Good for you, honey. She was. She was said to have been his trainer. You gotta wash that man right out of your hair. And Joey is so upset that he was dumped that he loses to my other hot dog eating crash Matt Stoney, who's a very popular YouTuber who's objectively just a very good looking person, but he loses to Matt Stoney. In 2015. And then does that thing that scary people do sometimes that he was so upset that he lost to Matt Stoney a, you know, the competitor associated with youth, that he spends the next year getting absurdly good at eating hot dogs and then comes back the next year and has been undefeated since. And he has a new girlfriend now, which I'm assuming he balanced, you know, he balances in his marriage. With me, she says. He smells like too much meat, but they seem to love each other. I don't know, I ordered some of his mustard. It's not my business. Quick word, why are you enabling? This is what I is what I want to know, because you may be kind of a ******* here yourself. Why? Why are you enabling this this horrible industry? Why am I enabling the hotdog industry? Well, no, no, not the hot dog industry, the competitive eating industry. I'm fine with the hot dog industry. Well, I there's there's so much about the competitive eating industry I haven't gotten to cover here because it doesn't pertain to George Shea, for example. So many people in the hot dog eating community are ******* each other. It's fascinating, I mean. You would have to you would have to just **** other hot dog people because the meat smell is gonna be a problem for anyone else, Robert. Literally. So I I went to the contest this year. The the current women's champion could not compete because she was eight months pregnant with another hot dog eaters baby. Like it, this **** goes deep. It is a fascinating subculture and I I can't let it go. They're just very folks doing the worst thing they can think of for not even a lot of money. Things I could think of doing it yourself is this entire sport. It's it takes a lot for me to be like, well, I guess football doesn't sound so bad anymore. I little bit of CTE here and there, I still think. I mean if you watch clips, which I know you're not going to kobiyashi really not. It peaked with the Kobyashi chestnut competitions, like take the Shays out of it. Their competitions were very exciting when they were pure, and it was just like two guys trying to see who can eat the most meat. It's very fun to watch. Their techniques are very different. They're whatever, OK, I have to tell you one more thing about George Shay and it it it pertains to how he doesn't like women either, so. There is a champion who is a woman for some time in this same era of Kobyashi and Joey Chestnut. She her name is Sonia Thomas. She's she's really cool. I'll, I'll she basically they. She also came into the sport after seeing Kobayashi on TV. She's a naturalized U.S. citizen. She came from South Korea. She managed a Burger King at Andrews. Air Force Base in Maryland and was like, I can eat a lot of Burger King, let me see if I could eat a lot of hot dogs. And she got really ******* good at eating a lot of hot dogs and she was consistently the second and third place in an all genders competition for years. But in 2011 the shades decided that they wanted to separate the contest by gender. There was no reason given for why this was other than just misogyny, because every other competitive eating contest in the country at that time. Was not separated by gender because there was no reason to do that. Yeah. There's no. Why would why would you ever think that's necessary? Stomachs is stomachs. Yeah. And Sonia Thomas, I mean there was a huge, like, she had this real kind of like run in the mid 2000s of like she was beating Joey Chestnut all the time and she was beating Kobayashi and like it. She's kind of erased from the main narrative. But she was a huge competitor and who was just like very fun and like. She loved the Backstreet Boys and the Carpenters, and she worked at a Burger King like she was just America is not ready for a woman who can eat a lot of hot dogs. We're we're 20 years away from being able to accept that fully. Clearly not because it was like all the press around her was very misogynist. Like in every piece written about her, she was it was written about like she had an eating disorder, as if every hot dog competitive the entire sport is an eating disorder. People, like all of them, have one yeah, it is a professional eating disorder, but you only attribute it to her 76 hot dogs. That isn't eating disorder. This, I mean, she's she's still around. She stopped competing after a while, but she's. I mean. She is very petite. She was the first time she won she weighed 99 pounds and 837 hot dogs like she's she's very petite. But that is a significant amount of her body weight in in hot dogs consumed. It is quite like, I think it's more impressive that she that she can do that than Joey or Kobayashi can do ******* anything. But whatever. Like, so beginning in 2011 the Shays decide actually we, you know, and this is after Kobayashi's departure from the sport. We want to separate men and women. They give no reason and they immediately move the women's competition to ESPN3 where no one will ever see it. They changed the belt from a mustard belt to like this pink ***** shaped thing and they cut the prize money by 75% so that you are a woman who can eat the most hot dogs, which Sonia Thomas always was. You would only get 2005. $100 as opposed to the 10,000 you get if you win the main contest on ESPN. The she's put a lot of pressure on Sonia Thomas to endorse this decision and sort of posit it as a good thing. And she made the point at the time saying, you know, maybe this will be good, maybe more women will get involved in the sport. This is fine. I don't feel the need to ask for more money. And but it you know it. It blows up in her face. You know, the the women's contest to this day is still broadcast on ESPN3. The the amount of money is still, I mean, there's still a lot of disparity in terms of Joey Chestnut makes a hell of a lot more money than the current women's champion Mickey Sudo, who was pregnant with. I can't emphasize it enough on other hot dog eaters, baby. And they still give women a pink Pepto-bismol belt instead of the mustard belt. And this year? Bill de Blasio gave the women's belt away, so it was insulting, generally horrible all around. So that is the story of George Shea. He is still M seeing the contest to this day. He still uplifting Joey chestnut as the one true champion. Fortunately, with time there are, you know, competitive eaters that are now less financially dependent on the Shea brothers specifically than they were when Kobayashi was kind of at his peak in the US because Internet so. There are competitors like Badlands Booker and Matt Stoney who have millions and millions of subscribers on YouTube and Tik T.O.K, and there are more ways to be able to eat or chug a lot of food and make money from it that are not inherently connected to these two ******* weirdos. But for the most part, they still have the market very much cornered. It's here that I will include George Shay recently joined Cameo. If you, Robert, describe cameo because you describe cameo to to me, it's it's where people who are technically famous get paid what are actually kind of embarrassingly small amounts of money in order to make random videos for strangers on the Internet. Alright, well, for me, it was not an embarrassingly small amount of money because I pay. So I I've been withholding this fact, but I wrote a whole show about being Joey Chestnut's fictional wife. I've been workshopping it here. It's called. Mrs Joseph chestnut. America, USA. And it's all about my tortured marriage to Joey Chestnut. And so for this show, I wanted to get a cameo from George Shea. Encouraging Joey Chestnut to break up with me was the point of this. I paid 120. US American dollars for this, Robert. And he sent me whatever this is OK, Sophie, could we get, can we watch it? $120.00 is good for for Joey Chestnut. It's very funny when someone like Rudy Giuliani is in there and making videos for 150 bucks because it's like you, you shouldn't be that cheap. Rudy Giuliani like. Robert's going to. It's not a good video. And it's The thing is, even though it makes no sense, there's no option on cameo to respond to someone and say, hey, that's not what I asked for. That's not what cameos for. You don't you don't get to cameo to have an equal relationship with these people, Jay, here's what he's saying. You ready, Robert? Hmm. Ladies and gentlemen of America, citizens of the world, we now address Joey, a man of incredible. Strength. The Warrior King who stands where the land meets the horizon, steadfast and unshakable, upon whose shoulders God has arranged the flesh of an Archangel. A man of immense wisdom who, while he is faced by abundant challenges, will stand on the ramparts of victory overlooking a sea of truth, because he will never stop and he will never stand down, and he will never submit, and he will never surrender. Until his bones are cracked and splintered and scraped like chalk on pavement, until the very Dome of heaven collapses and the black avalanche of space pours down around us, he will fight on. Why? Because the rock on which he stands is not a rock. It is the United States of America. And now it is go time. It is go time. Time it is go no go. Lock and load. Love him and leave him smoking if he got him. See. Want to see. You see on the other side. Time. Time. Condition red. All hands on deck. Batten down the hatches. Belly up to the bar. Do it too. Would feel the burn. Fire on the hole. Hold the phone could be. Could go home. Game on game day. Game face. Never say never. Never say die. Never give up. Put up or shut up. Shape up or ship out. Show me the money. Make my day good night, Irene. Wake me when it's over. It's go time on word from Jamie. Do you like the end? I like at the end where he goes from Jamie. It's a real First off. I'm not happy that you gave this person $120.00. I'm really not feel good about it. I've. You should bad. You should not feel good about it. Advocate. That was worth every penny. No, it wasn't. It was bad. I feel I really thought that I was. Look, I've used cameos in my shows before. I used a Heidi Montag cameo in my last show to great effect. His girl. I remember. It was wonderful. To great effect. Yeah, George Shea. What was that did that we just heard? We just heard someone have a meltdown. Yeah, I know that. I mean, it's, I guess, an element of it. It's it's competent showmanship, but also it's the kind of showmanship you have when your sport is incredibly boring and you feel like you have to throw a bunch of nonsense in there because all it actually is is watching people eat ******* hot dogs. OK, first of all, again, I feel the need to say brought your ******* mouth. Yeah. This is gonna be a lot of there's gonna be a lot of people messaging me after this, being like, Robert, I love your show, but I also have been a fan of competitive eating for years and I need you to know why you're wrong. And I'm just gonna let you know. Not gonna read those emails, people. I do feel like there is significant crossover between your audience and people that like competitive eating. And that's not an insult because I am that audience. I The thing is, it's I I do believe that it is a sport. And I believe that it is a sport that is run by two ******* weirdos that shouldn't be in charge of the sport. And I believe that Joey Chestnut is a complicit, you know, he's he's half complicit and half trapped and free. Kobe is how I feel. I want to share one more quote from George Shea and then I'm going to absolutely die. Yeah, so. Again, this boils down to. One man and his younger brothers desire. You. You know, just create a bunch of ******** where it doesn't need to be and have it be extremely successful. So last year, George Shay says in an interview to Mel Magazine, he says this humans can't understand something without a narrative, so we'll make one up in the absence, and that's a very powerful thing. And ultimately, I think that's what he does. He creates a narrative where one doesn't need to be to get people excited and upset, and he's very good at it, and he'll weaponize. The worst of people in order to do it. And that's the story of George Shea. Well, I hated this, Jamie. I it actually feels great to hear you say that. I feel like that means I did an OK job. Yeah, you did a wonderful job. I, I, I I don't like these people, and I don't like what they're doing. They're bad. I maybe we shouldn't have food. Maybe that's not a thing we get to have anymore. You know what's cool, though, is that Kobe still competes. But he competes competes in a different area of New York against nobody. He just eats a ton of hot dogs with his like, friends and community. And he regularly just quietly has an eating disorder. No, no, he didn't. No, it's community. It's exciting, like it's community eating. He didn't the, the, the exciting that you were giving the negative twist to that story. I'm going to give the the positive twist to watch him eat. No, no, it's OK. It's a community. No, it's just like a community event that he and his wife put together of. Like, it's a it's free food for everyone who shows up. And then Kobe eats a ton of hot dogs because that's what he's famous for and that's what he's really, really good at. And so I thought it was very cool to see him, you know, like they didn't. They didn't make him quit. He still does it and now he does it for himself. I'm happy for him. They didn't take away the thing he loved the most. I would, I would be eating a lot of meat. Yeah, I mean, I I do think, yeah, people have people have the right to want to eat a lot of meat. I just find all of this deeply off putting Jamie. Free Kobe. I'm I'm glad that Kobe's doing better, though. Not a fan of Joey Chestnuts, though. Look, Joey Chestnut is I, you know? Yeah. Look, also, Joey Chestnut absolutely has the name of a character in. And I think you should leave sketch it is. And that is just his name. And then the further you go up the family tree, the scarier the names get. Merlin chestnut. Come on, there's if you want to see something really ****** ** which I know you don't, but the videos of Joey Chestnut because there's, like, no protocol for how you should train to eat 76 hot dogs. So Joe's just doing like freeform jazz on how you would prepare for something like this, and there's these horrifying video clips of him. Gasp. Like, he does sit-ups, but he does sit-ups where he's gulping air like he's trying. And then he chews on a little plastic ball for 20 minutes a day to get his jaw all limber and, like, he just. He does all these. I mean, I guess it works. But to what end? He's I do think that ultimately, Joey Chestnut is not an ethically good person. But on the other hand, I think he is being forced to kill himself for our entertainment. And I think that that is very sad. And in its own way, I I guess, yeah, yeah, that's sad. All of this is bad. That said, I will be there at the 2022 contest and I might actually train and see if I could maybe get on stage in the women's contest because I think you'll have to eat like 11 hot dogs in 10 minutes. I could do that. Yeah, I could do that too. Well, there you go. But no, no, come with me. I don't support this, but I I hope together and you survive eating all those hot dogs. Oh, you're no fun. I, I, I I couldn't be less supportive of this, of this for you, Jamie. Maybe that's the one. Maybe that's the one lie he's telling Jamie. We don't know. That's. Yeah, yeah. I got to eat. When I was leaving the contest, they they put like a plate of a pyramid of 200 hot dogs in front of Joey. Just again for the showmanship of it all here, only 876. And so for the rest of the 125, they just give them out to the audience. And so I got to eat. Kind of Joey's leftovers, and it did feel really special. No? Well, I don't like that. I don't like. I'm not. I'm not gonna say I'm happy for you, but I'm glad you had an experience that you regard as pleasant as happy for me, because I thought it was very fun to eat. Joeys. Soggy little leftover felt good. I said ohh. In the middle of a pandemic. Felt safe. Yeah. I mean, I wasn't going to bring that part up, but. Yep. Yep. Well, Jamie, you got any plegables? If you possibly want to interact with me after what you just heard, yeah, you can. You can go on Twitter or Instagram. You can find me there, Jamie Loftus. Help on Twitter, Jamie cry superstar on Instagram. And just set a reminder in your phone for a year from today saying, hey, did I preorder jamies book, Raw Dog, that comes out in April 2023. I sure hope I did. And then you can buy that book that will come out next year. That I'm currently absolutely torturing myself. Trying to complete. So I hope you read it. When it comes out, it's about this. I mean, truly this George Shea stuff takes up a couple of pages. There's just so much about hot dogs and their history and and there's just a lot. So I hope you read out. Raw dog, incredible title, very excited for that. I really pushed for raw dog. And yeah, I love you have satisfied with the outcome and you can listen to any of my podcasts, my urine. Celita podcast spectral Caster acast about the Cathy comics. Follow your heart. Thanks for letting me do this, Robert. I had to. I had fun putting this together. Thank you for telling me this. How do you see? Doesn't it feel exciting to be on the other side and you feel absolutely deflated and like dying at the end? I feel great. I'm just gonna sit alone in a dark room for the rest of tonight. Yeah. What do you think I do every ******* time I'm on this show. And that's fair. This is this is very. I mean, Carmen, I may have to go just open one of my old Hitler books to cheer myself back up. There you go. A little bit of vitamin H and the boy we know in those books they can pre-order your book. And the revolution. Yeah. Google AK Press after the revolution and you can pre-order my book. And if you pre-order it, it comes with a special signed book plate in it, which is a nice little art sticker thing inside the book that has my signature on it. So pre-order it. AK Press after the Revolution, please buy my novel. It'll be out in May. You can have it in hardcover. I'm still working on the sequel. I just finished Chapter 4 and started Chapter 5, so it's it's humming right along. Sign mine absolutely and if you order a pre pre-order it you'll get a signed one. Ohh **** you. And we got a behind the ******** live stream show on February 16th, 17th. One of those days. It's moment in the *******. Yep. We. That's right. Over. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break our handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV and iHeartRadio, this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff, you should know you will. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.