Exclusive: Flight Time and Big Easy talk about 'The Amazing Race'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/10/2011
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang, although very tall, came up just a little bit short of winning The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business and its $1 million dollar grand prize during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the all-stars edition of the long-running CBS reality competition.
Despite beginning the Race's final leg in last place, the "Harlem Globetrotters" team, with a good amount of hustle and hope, were able to pass fellow finalists seventeenth-season Racers Gary Ervin and Mallory Ervin -- who caught a bad break when their taxi driver got lost for a significant amount of time -- but failed to surpass fourteenth-season Racers Jennifer Hoffman and LaKisha Hoffman during the competition's concluding Florida leg, becoming the second team to arrive at the Pit Stop.
On Monday, Big Easy and Flight Time talked to Reality TV World about their The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business runner-up finish -- including whether they thought they a chance to catch up to Kisha and Jen on the leg's final bicycle ride and claim the victory, why they felt the "best team" had won, when they found their taxi driver who had failed to wait for them outside the Roadblock task, what their response was to being called "big bullies," how they lost a great advantage thanks to Big Easy's "terrible poker face," and what specific task they were convinced led to their demise.
Reality TV World: Congratulations on making it to the end.
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: Hey, thanks a lot. We appreciate it. One of our goals was to do better than we did the first time and we accomplished that, so it's all good.
Reality TV World: You guys are athletes, so were you surprised that not only weren't you guys able to close the gap on The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business winners Kisha and Jen during that final bike ride, but it seemed like the girls were actually able to pull away from you?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: Kisha and Jen are athletes also, so they had that 10-minute window on us and they used it to their advantage. They're tough -- they're tough women -- the whole time, they looked like gazelles, as we always said when they were running. So, [if] we had a little more time, we maybe could have caught them, you never know, it could have worked, definitely.
Reality TV World: So I'm sure like it seemed like an eternity, but do you have any idea about how long that bike ride actually took you?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: I'm guessing that bike ride took about 15-20 minutes. I mean, yeah, we had the wind blowing and the TV made it look a lot closer than it was. I'm sure they had -- we never saw them once we got to the bridge, and we still had the hope that they went the wrong way, which we pretty much knew didn't happen either once we got to the actual bridge pretty easy.
The Race was a lot of fun; The best team won. They were consistent throughout the Race. They were one of the teams that never struggled throughout the Race. They were never near the back. They were always kind of in the middle and they closed the deal when they had to.
So, we're happy with them winning and we're okay with it. Like I said on the show, we really can't complain. We both have good jobs to go back to. We're still Globetrotters at the end of the day.
Reality TV World: Have you guys gotten any ribbing from your teammates about losing the final leg to a couple of girls?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: No!
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Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: No, no, not at all. Our teammates actually, they know Jen. They came to a couple games and that's their girl. So, if we're going to lose to anybody, those two or [fourteenth-season Racers Zev Glassenberg and Justin Kanew]... [they] probably hopefully would have picked us too because they liked us.
Reality TV World: Last night's episode made it look like the Race basically came down to you guys finishing the underwater Roadblock task ahead of Jen and Kisha but then falling behind them looking for your taxi. Do you think that's accurate, or do you guys think Jen and Kisha would still have ended up passing you two anyway?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: The thing that ultimately cost us coming in first place was the place setting at the trailer park. That's the only thing that we had, because as far as bringing the actual trailer out and putting it together -- the fence and stuff like that was blowing down -- we had everything in place, and they kind of overlooked that. But the main thing that we were missing that cost us really, was setting up the place setting on the picnic table.
Reality TV World: It looked like earlier on the way to Miami, FL, you guys might of had a chance to knock them out where Big Easy, it looked like you basically gave away that there was a flight due to arrive in Rio at 7:30AM to Kisha and Jen and Gary and Mallory when they were all prepared to take a flight arriving at 5:40PM the following day. Looking back, what can you tell us about that? Was that intentional or what happened there?
Nathaniel "The Big Easy" Lofton: Our thing is, going into the Race, that we always said, "We might go tell everybody everything, but we're not never going to tell anybody anything wrong. We never gonna lie on the Race." So, they asked us the question, I couldn't lie to them and say, "No we're on this flight," or "No, we didn't get this flight."
I just looked at them and Flight Time -- he's stressed -- and he wasn't going to lie to them no matter what. I don't care if it's for a million dollars or whatever. I wasn't going to go out there and lie and you know, a lot of stuff can be misconstrued on the show, but nobody can say we lied to anybody at all.
Reality TV World: So you think they just read your poker face?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: It was a terrible poker face. (Laughs) We don't play poker.
Reality TV World: Not well, at least apparently. (Laughs) Why did you guys decide to tell your taxi driver to go get some gas while you were doing the underwater Roadblock task in Key Largo -- I'm assuming he was just about out of gas, or what was going on there?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: Yeah, well we figured the best time to get gas was while we were doing something instead of us sitting in the car waiting for him to stop and get gas, because that's nerve-wracking, it would seem tougher to do. So we figured if he's going like that -- but it didn't make a big difference, you know? Because at one time or another, everybody had to get gas because it was like a seven-hour leg.
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: We told him to go get gas, and he came back with hot dogs, potato chips and everything. (Laughs)
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: (Laughs)
Reality TV World: So that's one of the things I would like to clarify, when you guys ran up the road, that was him you found up the road eventually, right?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: Right. That was our taxi driver.
Reality TV World: It sounds like that didn't end up costing you a significant amount of time. What was it, a couple of minutes or something?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: Yeah, it definitely was just a couple of minutes and like I said, once we got to the trailer park -- the trailer park was the thing -- it was just anybody's Race no matter what time you got there.
All you had to do was make sure you had everything in the right place, and it was just the one little detail that ultimately did us in. Nothing up to that point, I think personally, I don't think anything up to that point really affected the outcome other than us not getting the place setting right.
Reality TV World: Do you think Gary and Mallory [also] still had a chance at that point? Because it seemed like they were kind of out of it, no?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: If Gary and Mallory would have made it to that thing when we first got there, they would have beat all of us, because we were there way longer than they were -- both teams were.
Reality TV World: It seemed a little surprising that the trailer task was the last task you had to do, because a lot of The Amazing Race seasons have ended with a Roadblock that involved remembering the earlier legs, but this season didn't feature that. Did that surprise you, and had you two been taking notes and studying in anticipation of a memory task?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: Yes, definitely. We all expected it. I mean, all the teams on the Race, we all kept little notepads and definitely on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, we were all studying and going over our notes trying to remember each and every thing that happened during the Race. So, once we got to the final challenge -- which was Miss Rosie's trailer park -- we were definitely surprised.
Reality TV World: Going back a couple legs, did you guys ever figure out what happened with your chocolate gnome mold?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: The thing that happened with the chocolate mold was I mean, we got people in there that were supervisors helping us out with making the gnome, and even my person that was helping me -- she knew that I had completed pretty much the top and bottom part of the gnome. So, the gnome definitely came up missing, as to exactly who took it, we're not sure.
Both of the teams in there felt like [twelfth-season Racer Vyxsin Fiala] did, but still even to this point, we're not sure if she actually did. But it definitely did come up missing and it was okay, like I said, "We'll move on and I'll just work with the one that I have." We just squashed it and we moved on.
Reality TV World: Big Easy, do you feel the same way? You seemed pretty convinced that Vyxsin had taken it on the show, so do you no longer still feel that way?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: Well, let me say something before that, if you actually watched the show, you will see that even Kisha -- she was like -- it wasn't just Big Easy saying it. Even Mallory, she was like, "So she just gets to...?"
I mean, it wasn't just Big Easy that felt like she took it. I said, "We're not sure 100% percent." We moved on from it. We squashed it right there, and that was pretty much just the end of it, but.
Reality TV World: Big Easy, do you have anything on that?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: Nay.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:We learn Big Easy has gotten disconnected from the call.]
Reality TV World: Flight Time, I'll just continue on with you until Big Easy returns. When I talked to [twelfth-season Racer Kent Kaliber] and Vyxsin about that last week, they said felt you guys were basically bullies when things didn't go your way. So, I just want to give you guys a chance to respond to that.
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: I think that Kent might have gotten caught up in the moment. If you asked another team that competed with us on the Race, I'm sure that out of the 23 teams that we competed against, none of them would accuse us of being bullies.
If you really wanted to get down to it, he did more bullying to her than we ever did. I never said a thing to her, so no comment. I mean, that's the kind of relationship that they have... We're definitely not bullies.
Reality TV World: Another of this season's controversies was when Kent and Vyxsin only got a 30-minute time penalty instead of a waiting a full day [for the next flight] when they missed the mandatory flight from Japan to China -- which is what the other teams have told me they felt was appropriate based on the instructions. But when I interviewed Kent and Vyxsin, Kent pointed to the Race rule that says 30 minutes is the time penalty if taking another flight didn't get them an advantage versus the original flight. What's your take on that whole thing?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: My take on that thing is that if they got rules on the Race, they got rules. And when you break the rules, you get a certain penalty. Now, we got accused of cheating because we got teams sharing information with us, but there's nothing in the rulebook that says you can't share information.
It says in the rulebook that if you take an alternate form of transportation, you get a 30-minute penalty. So, a 30-minute penalty may have seemed like they should have gotten more, but that's what's in the rulebook so you can't really do that. It's not our show. We just had the opportunity to be a part of it, and we embraced it as a good time.
We tried not to break the rules that the people who control the show came up with. I mean, I'm sure that the team who ended up getting eliminated as a result of them not getting a bigger penalty, they might have a different thing to say about it, but as far as -- we tried not to raise a bunch of craziness about them. We tried to worry to worry about the thing ahead of us and not the things that were running behind us.
Reality TV World: Another "cheating" debate that's come up was when you guys used Kisha and Jen's trailer setup to figure out what you guys had wrong [during the final leg], and Gary and Mallory admitted they also did the same when I talked to them a few minutes ago. Some viewers have criticized that as cheating or said Jen and Kisha should have torn their setup down before they left, what are your thoughts about that? [Do you consider that a] similar type of thing?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: Like I said, The Amazing Race has some rules that people don't know -- unless your Racers, you don't know what all the real rules are, and there was nothing wrong with a team wanting to look at another team's work.
Even earlier in the season, when they had to put the dinosaur together, there were teams walking up, looking at each other's the whole time. That's just the way it is. Any time you break a rule, you get a penalty. So, nothing's wrong with looking at the other team's work.
Reality TV World: Did you ever figure out what happened with the luggage tags you thought you lost in Europe?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: With the luggage tag, what happened was -- I'm not sure how they pulled that off in The Amazing Race -- but once we got to our room and sat down, we realized that we never had 20. We only had 18 luggage tags, we never had 20. Once we sat down in the room and looked over the papers, we had made notes, and we realized we only had 18. So, we had to go back to another hotel and deliver two more pieces.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:Big Easy rejoins the call.]
Reality TV World: You guys ended up 30 minutes behind everyone else when you had to wait for the next train in Brazil. Did you start worrying about your chances at that point, or were you still confident you weren't going to finish last?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: We hadn't done a challenge yet, so it really wasn't that bad. We knew there wasn't going to be one challenge and then the Race is over. We knew there was going to be something where we could catch up with the other teams.
At that point, if you watch it, I said, "If we lose like this, oh well. We had a good time, and we did what we had to do." So, if we'd of [unintelligible] aint nothing we could do about it.
Reality TV World: What was your reaction when you two found out the next task required you to get a Brazilian wax?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: Well, neither one of us is really hairy, so we weren't really afraid of that, but we weren't excited to do it either. You know, we were the men in the Race. We signed up for it, and it don't matter if we had to jump off planes or swim with sharks, we were going to do it.
But I had a great time watching Zev and Justin doing their thing. That was probably the funniest episode of The Amazing Race I have ever seen, and I've been watching for [awhile]. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: What was the advantage of checking your bags on that final leg? Was that to save you time in Customs [coming in from Brazil] or was it more than that?
Herbert "Flight Time" Lang: The advantage was not having to run around with those backpacks on. Those backpacks weigh anywhere from 35-40 pounds, and to not have those on your back and have to worry about them while you're running, is definitely an advantage.
Reality TV World: Obviously you guys weren't lucky to win, but any ideas on what you would have spent the money on if you had won?
Nathaniel "Big Easy" Lofton: I definitely would have donated some money to charity. We would have talked to the Globetrotters to see what kind of charity we could have donated to with them. We would have made some people happy with the money from the show, but we do that everyday anyway.
The Globetrotters do a lot as an organization already, like with the Make a Wish Foundation and different things that we do. Right now, we give away four free [eyeglasses] every time we make a shot during the game, a four-point shot, so we always donate. About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.