It dawned on me after spending a recent afternoon with three “Duck Dynasty” dudes — and 3,900 of their fans — that I didn’t hear a single duck call, except from a car.
They are the stars of A&E’s unlikely hit reality show about a Louisiana family that became millionaires through the family duck-call business, Duck Commander. They were here for an appearance at Eden Prairie’s Grace Church, the scene of a fundraiser for Southwest Christian High School in Chaska and Chapel Hill Academy in Chanhassen.
There were lots of people dressed in camo and showing off beards (some real and some obviously not) in homage to Al and Si Robertson and their neighbor, Mountain Man.
Si joked to some of his look-alike fans that they looked homeless.
Si and Al, making their first visit to Minnesota, were too famous for me. But Mountain Man and I got along just fine in the only interview given to local media.
The Kardashians they are not, and that’s a wonderful, family-friendly thing, although I heard one Kardashianesque concern.
“Does my hair look all right?” Mountain Man asked as we began shooting my startribune.com/video. He also complained of being a little tired — which didn’t alter the speed of his speech — because some guy’s snoring kept him awake on the commercial flight to Minnesota. He had business in Tennessee and flew up like regular folk. On the way home, he was flying home on the private plane with Si and Al.
Mountain Man’s answer to my Billy Ray Cyrus question will break his achy-breaky heart.
Q What is your favorite way to have duck prepared for dinner?
A Duck gumbo. I love duck gumbo.
Q Have you ever eaten duck for breakfast?
A I eat a lot of sausage mixed with deer meat. Deer sausage. I eat of lot of it, and I eat duck eggs every morning.
Q Are you the kind of guy who can’t resist sticking his hand in an alligator’s open jaws?
A I sure can resist it. I value my hands. I don’t try to fool with nothing you can get hurt with. That’s why I don’t go swimming in the ocean. There are things out there that’ll eat you.
Q Do you guys get mistaken for ZZ Top?
A Naw. I imagine Phil might because he’s got a longer beard. Back when my beard was kind of trimmed up, they said I looked Chuck Norris.
Q How much soap and water does that beard see?
A I gotta wash that rascal every morning. I use a shampoo and — don’t tell nobody — but I’ve got to use conditioner because it gets like bristle pads you scrub a cast-iron skillet with.
Q Are you guys popular because you fill a TV niche as latter-day “Beverly Hillbillies”?
A The top thing that made us popular, without a shadow of doubt, is it is a show with prayer in it. It’s Godly based with morals. Throughout the country, I get more handshakes for it being a clean moral show the kids can watch. And they love the prayer at the dinner table.
Q What is your favorite church hymn?
A There are so many of them. I think “Amazing Grace.” I really love that song.
Q Do you think you are participating in one of those TV shows that essentially makes fun of Southerners?
A No, I don’t. I think this show shows the world that Southerners have a lot more common sense than we’re given credit for, and we can survive off of the land if we have to.
Q Is there anything you do off-camera that would surprise viewers? For example, do you enjoy opera?
A Naw. Well, I’m becoming a country music songwriter. I love to write country music. I don’t have [an album] out yet, but it might surprise people that I do that.
Q Who is your favorite singer?
A That’d be me. I’ve got a beautiful voice.
Q Do you know anybody who voted for Barack Obama?
A I sure do.
Q What would your daughter’s punishment be if she went twerking and dancing suggestively with a married man on the VMAs?
A If I had a daughter [do that], I would be very disappointed in her. We’d have a real father-to-daughter discussion.
Q Billy Ray Cyrus told Queen Latifah that Johnny Cash compared him to Elvis Presley. Would you put Billy Ray up there with Elvis?
A Not that I know of: Who is Billy Ray Cyrus?
Interviews are edited. C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.”