Bear Grylls has battled everything from wild animals and deadly snakes to raging rivers, dense jungles, and sheer cliff faces, but it’s a different kind of challenge fighting for survival against some hot sauces.
Armed with just a knife and fork, Bear recently went head-to-head with Hot Ones host Sean Evans. The show sees Evans interviewing guests as they eat increasingly more spicy wings. As his eyes watered like a jungle downpour, Bear fought his way through Sean’s questions, giving some answers as meaty as a yak’s eyeball.
Here are our favorite quotes from the episode:
On who impressed him on Running Wild: Will Ferrell, I mean I will always be indebted and love that man. He was our first ever guest. We took him to the Arctic – in those days, we’d go for days and days. Now it’s much shorter and tighter, and we’ve learned otherwise. If you ‘break’ people, you don’t get anything out of them after a while. But we didn’t know that at this stage, so Will was in at the deep end…
Still to this day if I see him, he goes “first of all, people still talk to me about that show” and “secondly it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life”.
On eating animal testicles: They’re all pretty terrible – and there have been a few testicles over the years. The worst testicle was the goat’s testicle in the Sahara, that this Berber tribesman had cut off. I saw the goat beforehand – it was quite a small goat and I thought, ‘this is going to be ok’, until I saw the size of the testicle and I thought, ‘that is out of all proportion.’ … I thought I’d try and swallow because I didn’t want to bite into this massive testicle, that was just going to get ugly. So I tried to swallow this thing and it got halfway down, but it’s too big, so I threw it up. Now I have a mouthful, and then I bit down, and I got testicle sack, sperm and vomit in my mouth. But I didn’t want to be rude so I tried to hold it there, and then eventually got it down. That was a bad day, yeah.
On the greatest adventure book of all time: Unbroken, an incredible story by Louis Zamperini. They made it into a film. The book is insane. He was an American soldier in the Second World War. His plane crashed in the Pacific and it ended up being one of the longest survival life raft stories in history, whilst being strafed by Japanese enemy aircraft and shark attacks.
Most of them died, a couple eventually made it, you finally make it onto this island. But the island was one of the most horrific Japanese Prisoner of War camps, and his journey was only just beginning. He survived Nagasaki, nuclear bombs, the transport ships from hell… The story is amazing. He was broken in so many ways afterwards but he found healing and he found a faith in his life and a great family and he set up his amazing youth programs. A true hero.
On bad timing to have diarrhea: Halfway up a rock face, I had that on a big cliff. I’d eaten a dodgy snake the day before. Anyway, I was halfway up this rock face and I felt it coming, and when it comes, there’s nowhere to nowhere to hide. I said to the camera guy, “look turn the camera off, this ain’t waiting for no one”.
I had one hand up, one hand on the rock, the other trying to get my trousers down. I did the business into free air, the crew underneath going “argh”….I eventually got sorted, I am holding on and I tie my trousers and I look over there, and there’s cameras all blinking still. I thought, there’s nothing sacred!
On earning scars and adventure injuries: My back accident – I broke my back in three places – was a life-changing journey for me. A freefall accident jump went wrong, I spent the best part of a year in and out of army rehabilitation, struggling to be able to reach a bathroom, strapped up in braces.
My back never lets me forget it and I think the thing that’s not letting me forget is that number one, don’t be an idiot, you only get it wrong once. Be smart, and always be grateful for life. There’s been so many times I should have died and I’m still going and I’m so grateful of that. Life is a great privilege and I think that’s what the pain in the back always reminds me of, every day.
On his advice helping fans survive: Oh there’ve been some good stories. Great ones like snowboarders getting lost, and a few drinking urine. Kids falling through the ice, there’ve been some pretty hardcore serious incidents of that and then kids have been amazing and remembered something. You know, fall through the ice, you’re not going to remember complicated difficult things, but simple things like, ‘turn around and go back out the way you came, rather than panicking’.
Simple things – like rolling in the snow. Snow can absorb the water off you, obviously dry snow is going to take the water away. It’s the water ultimately, with wind chill, it’s gonna make you cold. Great stories like that I love, I love hearing them. We get them the whole time. I never tire of it, there are so many heroes out there.