REGGIE SPEAKS! TRI’s Exclusive Interview With LA’s Hottest Alligator

May 12, 2010

Reggie SpeaksFor 17 of his 20 years, Reggie the alligator lived on the lam in the country’s second-largest city. “I was constantly looking over my shoulder for a net that wasn’t there,” he says with a twinge of nostalgia, sipping on a glass of tomato juice at the Four Seasons in Los Angeles. “And as liberating as it was to be able to have absolute freedom, it came at a cost. Frankly, I’m at peace with captivity.”

Now, a feature in the LA Times detailing the former bad boy’s new life has rocketed Reggie back into the spotlight–and into our hearts. We were lucky enough to sit down with the regal reptile, to discuss love, life, and why skinny dipping with a belly full of egret flesh makes for a perfect evening.

TRI: Tell me about your childhood. What pushed you to strike out on your own?

Reggie: My childhood was rough in the sense that I didn’t really have a family. My mother died shortly after I was born and my father was wrapped up in his gambling–

TRI: Reggie Sr., he was an inventor, right?

Reggie: Right, and I think–well, I know–that he had to maintain this sort of ‘throw all your chips in’ mentality because inventors pour their hearts and souls into their ideas. My father invented a modified compact fluorescent lamp, and he threw all of his time, money, and energy into its development. It sounds romantic, but it’s extremely risky.

TRI: When did you decide to leave home? What was the final straw?

Reggie: I guess I was about two. It was late and my father had just returned from the dog track, and his breath reeked of greyhound. I was young but I knew we were broke. I knew we couldn’t make rent because Dad had been betting all day and I looked at him and said ‘I can’t do this anymore. This just isn’t the life I see for myself.’

TRI: That’s pretty profound for a two year-old.

Reggie: [laughter] To tell you the truth I didn’t think it through. I just crawled out the door and into Lake Machado.

TRI: Do you consider your years at Machado “lost?” Were they really as bad as the media has made them out to be?

Reggie: [pauses] Yes, and no. When you’re a restless juvenile alligator living in a city like LA, you’re bound to make mistakes.  I think Sean Penn knows what I’m talking about [laughter]. But I wouldn’t take any of it back. It’s not as if that time was completely barren for me. I used to hang out a lot at USC [School of Cinematic Arts] and to just be around people like Macy Gray, Judd Apatow–it was all very heady for me. I learned so much.

TRI: Would you define yourself as an actor?

Reggie: Aren’t there enough in this town? [laughter] No, no it’s just something that I’ve picked up now and again. I’m fascinated by the process, but I’m just an alligator.

TRI: What did you think when the LA Times reported that your girlfriend, Kate, was “probably Reggie’s first ever female companion?”

Reggie: That they clearly didn’t do their research. But Kate and I have talked about my past and she’s OK with it. She knows what’s she’s getting.

TRI: And what IS she getting?

Reggie: [laughter] Well all I can say is that she’s very happy. We’re very happy. The folks at the zoo have been wonderful. They’re the only people who’ve actually encouraged me to make love. And it’s remarkably difficult to finish on a cart path or in a sand trap.

TRI: Is there anything you miss about being out of captivity?

Reggie: Egrets. No question. There’s nothing like lolling around Machado with a belly full of egret, watching Drew Berrymore and her friends strip down to their skivvies. Only in LA.

Thanks to the LA Zoo, Reggie can finally finish

Photo credits: LAist, Florida State Library & Archives

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  1. mpetitti on June 18, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Hilarious. Very well done.

  2. Mila Schmidlin on October 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Haha, hilarious.

  3. John Torio on October 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Mila, WTF…

  4. Ty Cerce on October 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Oh Reggie, I miss you@!

  5. Javier Bettle on November 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Haha, just found this article. Awesome.

  6. Jessie Iredale on November 4, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Oh Reggie! We miss you!

  7. Hipolito M. Wiseman on November 12, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Reggie, you are less than half the man your grandfather Julius was.

  8. Gregory Despain on November 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Welcome back to this world of **** Reggie.

  9. Margert Daulerio on December 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I am sickened by the treatment of Reggie, getting thrown around like currency for so long, every action, be it sexual or not, scrutinized by the local zoo reporters. Finally, he can get off, and no one is happier than I.

  10. Chester Bonini on December 9, 2010 at 8:42 am


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