Some people just aren’t fans of animals. Either they weren’t raised with them, or have only had negative experiences with them, and shrink away from any kind of creature.
Even animal lovers of the garden variety may not appreciate the more exotic types of critters. There are few who go out of their way to hold or own tarantulas and scorpions and other creepy crawlies.
And then there are those enthusiasts who bask in the glory of all creatures great and small, gentle and dangerous. Steve Irwin is one of the best-known examples of this sort of person, and his passion and knowledge helped many people learn about animals they wouldn’t normally encounter.
His family has kept his legacy going, and a recent episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” has proven that. Robert Irwin, now 14 years old, is definitely following in his father’s footsteps.
But for this special show, the whole spectrum is present on stage: On the animal-lover side you have Robert, in the cautious-but-willing-to-try area you have Jimmy Fallon, and on the absolutely-not-no-way side you have Kevin Hart.
This makes for some comedic gold as the teenager trotted out animal after animal, and tried to convince Hart to participate. He started with a baby ostrich, and Hart ran off the platform, protesting the whole time, even as Irwin highlighted the charms of the baby bird.
Next, Irwin pulled out a snake. Again, Hart was having none of it. “Come on in! It’ll be totally fine,” Irwin urged while holding a king snake.
After Fallon held one of the snakes and another one was brought out, Irwin tried again. “Kevin, it’s your turn now — here you go!” he said encouragingly.
The crowd started cheering and chanting Kevin’s name. “Let me tell you what I’ve gotten really good at in my life,” Hart says. “Saying no.”
Eventually, he crept up the stairs, his hands outreached to receive the reptile, but as he got closer he got cold feet and danced back off the stage. So they moved on to the next animal.
Irwin described the next creature, but Hart was not reassured. “It don’t sound like this is the animal for me,” he said. He tripped back down the stairs, momentarily panicking when he thinks someone is coming at him from behind the curtain.
They tried to get him to close his eyes and just hold whatever fluffy little critter would get placed in his palms. Even Fallon tried to convince him, but Hart couldn’t even hear him.
“Physically I’m not capable of processing what you’re saying right now,” he said. “I’m sorry. I love you and it’s your birthday.”
Irwin referred to the cute critter’s “beady” eyes, which unsettled Hart all over again. But “Big Red,” the cute little critter, turned out to be a rather large tarantula that had even Jimmy trying to crawl up the wall.
“It’s your birthday, YOU should hold the spider,” Hart told Fallon.
Fallon held out his hands as the crowd cheered and Hart screeched. As Irwin explains how only one breath will upset the spider, Hart starts screaming and breathing in Fallon’s direction.
He even built up enough confidence to sneak up and slap the desk while the spider was still in Fallon’s hands.
“For this last animal, we’re all gonna come down here — we’re going to join you down here,” Irwin said, walking to where Hart was hiding.
“Well I’m gonna go up here,” Hart retorted, staunchly marching away from whatever animal was about to appear next. To be fair, the lineup of animals seemed to be leading to something even more disturbing.
Warning: some strong language is used in this video. Viewer discretion is advised.
But it was just a little falcon. Despite the fact that it was a bird, and not a huge one at that, Hart still wanted nothing to do with the animal. But Fallon was game, and perched himself in the crowd and donned a thick leather glove.
Somehow they managed to drag Hart into participating, and the falcon flew to him even while he was screaming and shrinking away. Despite it all, Irwin maintained his composure, made sure the animals were safe and introduced people to some animals they may never have known about before.
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