Everywhere he goes these days - and he's always going somewhere - Jonny Fairplay gets asked why he's not on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
"I just say 'Honestly, I think they're saving me for Superheroes vs. Supervillains,'" says the surfer-dude who'll be appearing this weekend at the Toronto Comic-Con.
"I was actually sitting with Richard Hatch watching the first episode and they're asking them, 'How does it feel to be the 10 most infamous villains in the history of the show?' And I'm like, 'Well, THEY don't know!' I'm pretty sure Richard Hatch is a bigger villain than any of those guys."
As for Fairplay, whose real name Is Jon Dalton, he'll always be remembered as the guy who arranged to receive "news" on the island that his grandmother had died (she hadn't). The sympathy he drummed up carried him all the way to the final of Survivor: Pearl Islands.
Now that's villainy.
"It's no secret that (Survivor host) Jeff Probst hates me, and I don't go out of my way to be his friend either," Fairplay says, over the phone from an appearance in Joplin, Mo.
Fairplay, who lives in Providence, N.C. of late, was in a rush to get to Greensboro for the pre-March Madness ACC basketball final. This on the heels of a wrestling-related appearance he taped in Winnipeg for the new WFX league (he's a regular, taping an appearance every three weeks).
But even though he's not actually on Survivor, the show still dominates his life. Every Friday morning he does a series of paid radio interviews dissecting the previous night's show. He and Hatch (whose recent tax evasion jail term kept him off Heroes vs. Villains) also do a regular online commentary called Two Dicks and a John on stickam.com.
So he's talking Survivor a lot these days. "I think the heroes are lame. But the villains are even more painful. The first three episodes, it was, like, in their contract that everyone had to say the word 'villain' at least three times during their confessionals. I think Coach is good TV. I don't think he knows it, which is what makes it good TV. I liked Cirie. That's someone I respected as a player.
"There's plenty of people I hate. I think Colby sucks. In episode one, he's saying 'I don't even know who these people are.' Y'know what? You have a one-in-20 chance at a million dollars and you can't go to Wikipedia? You're a piece of crap and you don't deserve to win.
"Boston Rob sucks. I got a chance to meet Russell a couple of weeks ago.
Nice guy, but I don't think he's the self-professed greatest player he considers himself to be. Both those guys make the sneaky moves and vote people out, which is brilliant if you're playing for second place. But if you're playing for a million dollars, they kind of have to like you at the end."
Whether he's getting a raw deal from Survivor or not, reality-TV has been very, very good to Jonny Fairplay.
"I got called last month for The Celebrity Newlywed Game and it was my 47th TV show," says Fairplay, who, with his wife Michelle, beat the Monkees' Davy Jones and his wife.
"Somebody told me that tied me with Bob Hope for the most TV show appearances. And the last time I checked, he wasn't making any new ones.
I've been on Celebrity Poker Showdown, Celebrity Fear Factor, Camp Reality - I beat Vanilla Ice and Steven Baldwin. They keep calling, because they know I'm good TV. There's a huge difference between myself and these heroes and villains. Some of these people, it's like pulling teeth to get good TV out of them."
As for his Comic-Con appearances (he has a contract with the show's producers, Wizard World), Fairplay says, "I would be lying if I said I didn't laugh at a lot of the people there. It's like 'Wow, I've been with a girl before! Like a real live one!' But y'know, a lot of the celebrities are cool, and we hang out and talk.
"And some of the fans are cool, a very small percentage."
Comic-Con seeks pop culture buffs
There'll be enough pop culture to make a trivia buff's head explode at the Wizard World Toronto Comic-Con this weekend at the Direct Energy Centre.
Name your genre - sci-fi, horror, wrestling, comic books - and there'll be some pop cultural touchstone, from the cast of Saw VII, to Battlestar Galactica actors, to wrestling legends like the Iron Shiek and Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka and various wrestling divas, to the Brady Bunch's Christopher Knight to the guy who played the reptilian Gorn on the original Star Trek.
All this and Jonny Fairplay, the dirtiest player in Survivor history.
The expo runs from March 26 to 28. (wizardworld.com/toronto.html for tickets.)