‘Survivor’ Castaway Joe: “People Will Say, ‘He’s the Goat,’ But So What?”

'Survivor: Kaôh Rōng' (CBS)

‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’ (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Shirin Oskooi. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

Watch Full Episodes of ‘Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’

Gordon Holmes: So, how are you feeling?
Joe Del Campo: I feel fine. We came back in May last year. I also had shoulder surgery this past January. I’m recovering very quickly. I’m trying to get back into the gym and look like I did on day one. Not like the day when I left where it looked like my skin was just hanging fabric on me.
Holmes: Walk me through what happened after you were taken out of the game.
Del Campo: We went back to basecamp, we went to the infirmary and the doctor said, “I’m going to give you a couple of hours, if nothing happens, we’re going to transport you over to the mainland and you’re going to have to be catheterized. We can’t do that here.” I didn’t like the idea of going to a hospital in Cambodia. So, they gave me things to drink and pain pills. It was beyond tolerable. Within that two-hour timeline I was able to have certain body functions happen. They kept me a little while, then they gave me a physical, then I was good to go. Then I went to Ponderosa. The next three days were pretty uncomfortable. I enjoyed the company and I enjoyed the food, but when I was by myself off that little rubber cushion…it was dim. (Laughs)

Holmes: (Laughs) Before they officially pulled you, Jeff kept talking. I was like, “C’mon, let this poor guy go.”
Del Campo: I guess he wanted to make sure that they had to pull me. And Doctor Joe said that if it backs up to my kidneys, it’s going to be some serious stuff. I think Jeff knew that I’d lasted that long and he hated to see me get pulled. He was very nice though, when we started heading out he said, “You left a lot of love on that island.” The four people I left there…we got very, very close. Stuff that was not seen on television. Private conversations with all of them. There was a kinship with them.

Holmes: When you were at the reward you said that you didn’t think that you or Cydney had a chance to win. Was that gamesmanship at that point or did you think Cydney couldn’t win?
Del Campo: As you know, things change in a heartbeat. That was said there, whether or not that would’ve stuck when we got back to the beach? I don’t know. Other issues could have come up. Other people could’ve made efforts to change opinions. That was just said in the moment.
Holmes: But when you said it, what was your impression of her game?
Del Campo: It wasn’t a question of her not being able to win. She’s an incredible player. Very sharp, University of Pennsylvania psychology degree, I believe. I believe that Aubry had said that Cydney could be dangerous because she’s good. You have to treat her with respect. I said what I said, not discounting the people who were on the beach, Tai and Michele. So, anything could have happened. It was said during the reward, but anything could have happened.

Holmes: “Survivor” is a game where the jury wants to know the moves you’ve made to get to the end. Did you ever entertain the thought of getting rid of Aubry to improve your resume?
Del Campo: I’m loyal to a fault. That’s me. I shook hands with Peter in the water, I said I wouldn’t vote him out. I didn’t. There were other things with Scot, I didn’t change that vote. People saw me as inflexible. From day two we said this is what we’re going to do. I was going to stay out of the limelight because the older guy usually becomes a target. Particularly if they saw us as a power couple. So, Aubry was going to do the field work because she’s so good at it and I was going to be in the back. People will say, “He’s the goat,” but so what? That’s the way we decided to play it. I didn’t want to try to do a power play, because I’ve seen in past seasons, that’s the guy you take out. I wanted to play as long and hard as I could.

Holmes: If you had gotten to a final two or final three, what would have been your argument to the jury?
Del Campo: (Laughs) That would’ve been a very weak argument, Gordon.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Del Campo: I’d say, “I’m the elder statesman. I won a tremendous reward. If you think that’s enough to be named Sole Survivor, then vote for me.” (Laughs) I wouldn’t be able to sugar coat it. “Well, I was last in that challenge, but I gave it my best.” There wasn’t going to be any sympathy old-guy votes. That was a strong group. I was happy to be with a cast that was tough. It made for a great season.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Aubry.
Del Campo: Calculating, intelligent, witty.
Holmes: Elisabeth?
Del Campo: Stepford wife. Very, very bright but kinda just…methodical…almost robotic.
Holmes: Tai?
Del Campo: Genuine, quite mystical in his beliefs, soulful.
Holmes: Nick?
Del Campo: Hollywood model.
Holmes: Neal?
Del Campo: Very intelligent, you have to be careful around him because he’s so sharp. Very calculating.
Holmes: Anna?
Del Campo: I had a very short time with her…maneuvering.
Holmes: Julia?
Del Campo: Sweet, intelligent, great sense of humor.
Holmes: Peter?
Del Campo: Morose. Bright.
Holmes: Scot?
Del Campo: Tall, powerful.
Holmes: Jason?
Del Campo: Tough on the outside, soft on the inside.
Holmes: Debbie?
Del Campo: Whimsical…sporadic.
Holmes: Michele?
Del Campo: Sweet, bright, and intelligent.
Holmes: Let’s finish with Cydney.
Del Campo: Laser focused.

Holmes: One of my favorite moments from this season is when you used your Jedi mind trick on Peter. Could you tell he wasn’t being honest?
Del Campo: Remember the Eagles song “Lyin’ Eyes”? That was it.
Holmes: Teach me!
Del Campo: Gordon, it’s all in the face. When you ask someone an uncomfortable question, if there’s something they don’t want to answer or lie about, a minimal cheek twitch or something they do with their eyes or a hand movement, it’s like a photographic thing. That would give me a clue. With Peter it was so blatant. He was a deer caught in headlights.
Holmes: I’m going to spend my afternoon doing that around the office.
Del Campo: (Laughs) It takes practice. You have to be genuinely interested in the person and you have to have a baseline to start with, like regular stuff. Then you move into the tough questions.
Holmes: This is going to get me into a world of trouble.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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