So everyone in Charleston is talking about the near-disaster at Saturday’s Christmas tree lighting when a giraffe went off-script – and off-meds.
The 10-foot animal menaced the crowd bucking and jumping like a Gamecocks fan after another drilling of Clemson.
The city has issued an apology and promised it will never happen again, but no one has yet asked the giraffe ‘What up?’
We met with the giraffe, whose name is Bud Longneck III, at a trendy downtown bistro on Tuesday. He arrived fashionably late, publicist in tow, trying to avoid autograph hounds behind mirrored Wayfarers.
Longneck ordered the mixed-greens salad and tap water, and apologized for being late.
“You know how hard it is to park an SUV in a city parking garage? Well, try a transport trailer,” he said.
Right off, Longneck apologized for his outburst, said that he hopes this doesn’t hurt his career and that he’s still available for birthday parties. Here are highlights from the interview:
P&C: Let’s just put it out there. What happened at the tree lighting? You gave some people quite a scare.
Longneck: Come on – I’m only 2. I get as excited to see Santa as everyone. I was like, “Yea, it’s Santa!” I guess I got a little carried away.
P&C: You looked a little distressed. Do you really expect us to believe that you were just excited?
Longneck: OK, you got me. I was a little pi.. miffed about the whole Green Room situation. I told them I’m a strict vegetarian and what shows up on my snack tree – pigs in a blanket! Plus, the only thing to drink was bottled water, Dasani. Do I look like I have opposable thumbs? So yes, I was a little perturbed to be there. And then these people start snapping pics, their little cell phone flashes blinding me. I nearly went Russell Crowe on them.
P&C: So this was a stars-behaving-badly sort of thing?
Longneck: Well, I wasn’t happy from the start. Who ever heard of a giraffe at a Santa show? What do we have to do with Christmas, other than my cousin – he works at Toys “R” Us.
I mean, really. It’s like when they had those lobsters in the Nativity scene in that movie. What was it called …
P&C: Love, Actually?
Longneck: Yeah, that one. Some of Hugh’s best work. He’s a friend.
P&C: We’re getting a little off the preserve here.
Longneck: Sorry. Then, another thing that bugged me, is they brought in zebras. I’m supposed to share a stage with them? Is this Madagascar? I’m supposed to play Schwimmer to their Chris Rock? No way. Those posers are nothing but horses in prison uniforms. Paint ‘em black and they’re pulling carriages down East Bay.
P&C: So what kind of work do you normally do?
Longneck: I do some stand-in work for Discovery and National Geo. I had a walk-on in “We Bought a Zoo” – Cameron’s a friend. And I do a lot of Noah’s Ark re-enactments.
P&C: They have those?
Longneck: Yeah, some of them are hardcore, like the Civil War re-enactors. They used to do them at religious theme parks. Then the cobras scared some pregnant lady.
P&C: Well, you sure scared some people here. The city says they won’t work with you again.
Longneck: Yeah, same here. Complete amateurs. Why don’t they read the source material. They should have hired reindeer. Of course, those guys are union, so it’ll cost them more.
OK, sorry for the two in a row. But it fits: