Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Joe Exotic's songwriter gets publishing deal, continues to write songs about Carole Baskin

Illustration for article titled Joe Exotic's songwriter gets publishing deal, continues to write songs about Carole Baskin
Screenshot: YouTube

Once upon a time, in those halcyon days when crippling anxiety over COVID-19 and economic collapse felt fresh and new, a quarantined nation bonded over its mutual love of Tiger King, a Netflix docuseries about big cats, Trumpian hubris, and a lady who may or may not have fed her first husband to tigers. While the series no doubt spurred some to take up big cat activism, it mostly served as a means for people to chuckle at Joe Exotic, whose “original” music and their accompanying videos went viral in the subsequent weeks.


A shocked nation gasped, then, when it was revealed that Joe Exotic hadn’t written the songs, nor was that actually him singing them. Credit Vince Johnson and Danny Clinton of the Clinton Johnson Band for the transcendently goofy tunes, and congratulate Johnson, who just scored a new publishing deal with BMG and a distribution deal with Create Music Group. Clinton, sadly, passed away last year.

Johnson will release all of the songs he penned for Joe Exotic as part of the deal, per TMZ, and will drop a few new cuts proving that, despite his former employer being behind bars, he’s still very much in the Joe Exotic business. Yep, his first single with The Vince Johnson Band is, like the morbid “Kitty Kitty,” about how Carole Baskin might be a stone cold murderer.

“Killer Carole” is exactly what you think it is. A cheeky, dick-swinging slice of pop-country that’s tailor-made to be sung at honky-tonks the world over. “Is the body buried deep, is the body underground?” goes the chorus, “Tell me, Killer Carole, where the body can be found.” This is so fucked up.

That said, Baskin may be facing the music soon. Despite having been awarded control of Joe Exotic’s zoo, a Florida sheriff is open to new leads in the case, prompting a lawyer for Don Lewis, her missing and probably dead husband, to put forth the theory that he was strangled and thrown from a plane. This week has also seen experts weigh in on the validity of Lewis’ will, which they say is a forgery.

Yes, it’s all very, very exhausting, and it’s not fading away any time soon. Last month, it was revealed that Nicolas Cage has signed on to play Joe Exotic in a series from American Vandal showrunners Dan Lagana and Paul Young. Kate McKinnon is slated to play Baskin in yet another series, this one based on a Wondery podcast about the story. Netflix, too, is apparently keeping the tiger theme going with a deep dive into Siegfried and Roy’s tiger-related drama.

Joe Exotic, meanwhile, is still asking Trump to pardon him.

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.