PHIL HARRIS and SIG HANSEN, THE DEADLIEST CATCH
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Alaskan crab fishing has this reputation of being the most dangerous job in the world. But how hard is it really?
PHIL HARRIS: Guys think that they can do that job. And 99.9 percent of the people can’t. The last guy I hired, he was giving me this spiel about how tough he is and the whole bit. And then we got out there and he crawled up on his hands and knees to the wheelhouse, big tears running down his face, and he said, ”Get the Coast Guard out to pick me up — I’m gonna die.”And how demanding are your own responsibilities as captain?
It’s like, if you make a mistake in your job right now — say you screw this interview up — what’s gonna happen? Your boss is gonna say, ”Hey man, you really f—ed this thing up, why don’t you do it again?” I go make a mistake and somebody gets either hurt or killed. There is zero room for error. You have to really, really concentrate and know what you’re doing. You don’t have the luxury of screwing up.Have you been injured a lot while fishing?
I broke my back in two places, I broke both arms, I broke my ankle and my toes, my wrists, you name it. The only thing I haven’t broke basically is my neck.
What do you regard as the essential piece of survival equipment?
A survival suit [combination flotation device and thermal body protector]. That’s mandatory. But when I started fishing we didn’t have survival suits. You were really a tough guy then. Because the guy running the boat told you, ”Hey, if you break your arm, there’s 50 guys at the dock that want your job.” So, you’d fish with a broken arm. Back then it was a lot tougher than it is now. There’s a different breed of kids now that are coming up doing this. Everybody’s sue-happy these days. Back then we didn’t sue boats. You got hurt, you just lived through it. I cut the end of my finger off. Well, so what? You go and get it worked on and you lose the end of your finger, big deal. Let’s go to work. Nowadays, the kids are gonna start a lawsuit and make a big deal of it. They’re not as tough as they used to be.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What effect has the success of The Deadliest Catch had on your life?
SIG HANSEN: Everywhere I go, people don’t even ask me if I’m Captain Sig. They just walk up and go ”Hey, Captain, can I have an autograph?” That blows me away. And I’ve got a thick stack of résumés from people who want to go [fishing] for free — from doctors to lawyers. You name it. But I don’t want a crew made up of doctors and lawyers. I want the crew I have.
Plus, you have your own website where fans can buy thongs emblazoned with the phrase ”Can’t find ’em, grind ’em!”
The people who do the site said, What do you want on there? And I said just be creative. I gave them some slogans and they went and ran with it. It was quite a surprise to me to see [the thongs] on there — I get a kick out of it.
Are they hot sellers?
I think the T-shirts and the mugs are the hot sellers. But we’ve sold a few thongs
And Mike Rowe on WHO has the most dangerous job…
MIKE ROWE, DIRTY JOBS
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Is it true that you were almost the onscreen host of The Deadliest Catch rather than just the narrator?
MIKE ROWE: I worked on the boats and I hosted the first season. And, when we were nearly complete, the network called and said, ”Look, we’re going to go ahead and do Dirty Jobs, congratulations — but you got to pick one. Because they’re gonna be on the same night and we can’t have you telling us stories about six dead fishermen on camera and making a fart joke with your arm in a cow’s ass.”
What’s been your dirtiest dirty job?
For pure disgust, it was probably removing a lift pump out of a waste water treatment plant. Normally, after the crew and I have a day out, we’ll sit down somewhere and have a beer. We couldn’t even talk to each other after this. I was, like, ”Guys, I’ll see you around.” We just went home and tried to forget what we’d seen.
You used to work at QVC? What was that like?
The ultimate dirty job. It’s almost as if I sold out before I had any success to compromise. It’s odd — today I’m the spokesman for Ford and I have this hit show in 128 countries. And it’s weirder than people think. I lecture now at Fortune 500 companies. I go to universities and talk about the changing face of the proletariat in modern-day workplaces and how technology has fundamentally changed the basic sense of what work looks like. You know, people pay me to pontificate on all of this s—! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like it. I just can’t believe somebody hasn’t called me out for being an imposter yet. People listen, God love ’em. But then, I do have 150-plus stories to back up any harebrained point I might care to make.
How many different types of animals have you had your fingers on and/or inside over the last couple of years?
I don’t want to overstate it, but… a lot. Most recently, in Montana, I castrated a yak. A yak, for God’s sake! So it’s getting a bit more esoteric. We’ve done 152 different jobs, and animals have been the star of the show, for better or worse.
So who has the most dangerous job out of Les, Sig, Phil and you?
An actuarial accountant would say Sig and Phil. A survival expert would probably say Les. But, all modesty aside, nobody is as unqualified to do the job at hand on a daily basis as me. So, I have the most dangerous job! I’m on the crab boat or the oil rig — I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing! I’m a lumberjack and I’m NOT okay. So I’m going with me.