Send in the Clowns: An Interview with The Amazing Race 4’s Jon & Alby Phil Kural -- 08/14/2003
Circus clowns, best friends, and viewer favorites Jon & Al were one of the most well-rounded teams on this season of The Amazing Race. In this interview, they inform us how far they were behind the other teams, what future racers need to know, and how they feel about having the support of so many fans. - not to mention knowing the answer to “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
RNO: I have to admit - I didn’t expect to be doing this interview. You were my pick to make the final three. How far behind was your plane from the other three teams?
Jon: I didn’t expect to be doing this interview either! Our first plane was due to get in a half hour before the other teams, but due to the fog and delays and then not being allowed to board the other teams’ plane, we were forced to board a plane that arrived 1 hour and 40 minutes later then the other teams.
Al: When we arrived in Australia, we were 1 hour and 42 minutes behind; at the pit stop with the penalty, we were 30 minutes behind.
RNO: When Phil told you that another team had a time penalty, did you think that you were still in the Race, or did you just know that you were too far behind to catch up?
Jon: We totally thought we made it; we never lost hope.
Al: I definitely thought we had a chance. At that point I was overcome with emotion and thought, “Wow - this is finally our break!”
RNO: At the beginning of the Race, by the looks of the other teams, did you think you would have problems because you were a little older than some of the couples, or was that not an issue?
Jon: That never even crossed my mind. Age is an attitude!
Al: Nah… never thought about the age difference at all.
RNO: I think one of the best things about the two of you was that not one of the other teams said anything bad about you. Not even once! What do you attribute that to?
Jon: I don’t know; maybe because the way we treated each other, them, and other people around us.
Al: I think one of the most important things that Jon and I did was to keep a positive attitude and have fun and laugh. When chips were down, we held our heads up high and just ran a positive race.
RNO: Compared to other seasons of The Amazing Race, it seemed like the challenges this time were tougher. Which Roadblock and Detour did you feel were the hardest to complete?
Jon: The Detour in Cortina, Italy - running up and down the Alps - was grueling due to the length of the mountain and the altitude; the toughest Roadblock was the ice diving, which Al did.
Al: The ice dive was definitely the scariest for me. I couldn’t believe I had to do that. My whole body felt like it was going into shock. I just said, “Do it… don’t think about it.”
RNO: Were you more disappointed that you didn’t make the final three or that you didn’t win the Race? Believe it or not, there is a difference here because at least if you make the final three, you can cross the finish line.
Jon: I was disappointed we didn’t cross the finish line and win!
Al: Of course we would have loved to cross the finish line, but I can’t say I was disappointed because I felt Jon and I ran a fantastic race and were positive all along the way… sure, we would’ve loved the money, but there are some things in this world money can’t buy and I think Jon and I achieved that.
RNO: During the tenth leg of the Race, you shared a cab with the Goats in South Korea. Did you feel that may have been a bigger mistake than you originally thought, or was it a good way to save money?
Jon: Money was the reason why we shared the cab, but we knew the second we all piled in the cab that it was a huge mistake, but made the best of it.
Al: It was definitely a good way to save money but it made traveling difficult and cumbersome… I am so glad they did not leave without us.
RNO: How do you feel about the remaining three teams? Do you think that any of them got there on luck only, or did they all carry themselves well?
Jon: Well, two of the three remaining teams escaped elimination by non-elimination rounds, so I would say they were definitely lucky!
Al: The remaining three teams are definitely very competitive and ran a good race. I definitely think luck had something to do with it, looking at the three teams; if it weren’t for the non-elimination rounds, two of them wouldn’t be there.
RNO: Was the language barrier as big a problem in South Korea as it looked? It was almost as if nobody there spoke English. Was that something that was edited in there, or were there next to no English-speaking cab drivers?
Jon: The language barrier was a huge problem; to me it was the biggest problem of the Race. Al and I are pretty good with maps, but in Korea all the letters looked the same and it seemed impossible to figure out the signs and follow a map.
Al: Communication was definitely a challenge in Korea; it was difficult to read the maps and explain what we needed to do.
RNO: Out of curiosity, exactly how many clowns can fit in that little car at the circus?
Jon: 15 to 18, depending on the car.
Al: LOL… funny! Well, in 1988 and 1989, we did a salute to classic clowning and fit 25 clowns (no kidding) in a Volkswagen Bug.
RNO: If there were one eliminated team that deserved a second chance in the Race, who would you say it would be? Why?
Jon: Us! Because we totally could have won.
Al: Gosh, that’s a difficult question. Hmm… I don’t know… oh, I know! Jon and I, because we should get extra minutes for the times we spent helping other teams! LOL… don’t know what else to say!
RNO: If someone applying for the Race came to you and asked what the single most important thing to do before the Race would be, what would you say? Do you think knowledge of other cultures is just as vital as exercise?
Jon: Being prepared for other cultures is very helpful, map reading is key also, but the single most important thing to me would be learning how to stay calm and focused in stressful situations.
Al: I really don’t think you could figure out the Race beforehand; I think just have an open line of communication with your teammate and think positive and appreciate you are going to have the experience of a lifetime.
RNO: What do your families think about the two of you being on TV? I’m sure they are proud of the way you handled yourselves. Ever get spotted on the street?
Jon: Yes, my family enjoyed their Thursday nights! Yes, I have been spotted, its great; a lot of fun. Love the fans! I would love to do more television work.
Al: Yes. I am so proud of my family for supporting us, and they loved the way we ran the Race… they thought Jon and I were classy and had fun and were totally respectful of other cultures, other countries, and each other, and that’s what it was all about. Yes, it’s overwhelming how many people recognize us; its fun! I love it when people come up and say hi… don’t be shy!
RNO: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Jon: Because the fog was so thick, it was afraid to fly.
Al: LOL… to get a plane leaving Korea ASAP!
RNO: Is there anything you would like to add or say to all of your fans? Believe me, you have many; they email me often!
Jon: Thank you all for being so supportive; look for our website, JonandAlracers.com. Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game!
Al: I would just love to tell all the fans how grateful Jon and I are for their support… It made it so much easier for us and believe me, it was difficult being eliminated, but we are so happy they approved of the way we ran the Race and we hope we represented Americans in a proud manner. Thank you all sooooo much!!! Jon and I would love to do more travel stuff together and keep in touch with our fans as well… they can keep tabs on us at our website. We look forward to keeping in touch… also… enjoy life and smile!!! Thank you!
RNO: Thanks for answering my questions! You two kept me laughing during the Race and your positive attitude and race ethics are definitely an example to follow. Good luck with whatever the future holds!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent Amazing Race articles at the Amazing Race 4 page and take a look at our sections on Fame and The Osbournes. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Amazing Race, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!