Survivor's Chris Hammons jokes that his kids want to beat Zeke Smith up IRL
Blindsided. Chris Hammons never saw it coming when his pal Zeke betrayed him on Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X. In our one-on-one conversation with Chris, he explains why he targeted Jessica so hard, reveals how his family reacted to his elimination and discusses the disgusting way he applied to be on the show.
SheKnows: What was the conversation like around your dinner table on Thanksgiving after your blindside?
Chris Hammons: My father-in-law was angry at Dave, Jess and Zeke. Everybody was really angry at Zeke for flipping on me. My kids were wanting to invite him into town so they could beat him up. [Laughs]
SK: So was your elimination a true blindside? When did you realize you were getting voted off?
CH: The first Chris vote I knew it. I was like, "There's no chance these people were gonna go against me unless they had it." They weren't gonna throw out four votes to whatever. They either had it or wouldn't write my name down. I hadn't even had my name written down at that point. As soon as I saw "Chris," I knew I was history.
SK: Looking back, what move would you make differently?
CH: I would vote Dave off at the swap instead of CeCe. That would've eliminated the relationship with Zeke and eliminated Dave's Idol. Zeke would've said, "OK. Now I have to work with Chris going forward until we get Ken and Jess out of the game."
SK: When you watch the game unfold, do you respect the way somebody like David plays?
CH: Absolutely. I think Dave is playing one of the best Survivor games that has been played in a long time. He's been a really fantastic player.
SK: Is there anybody you would say does not deserve to win the $1 million based on how they're playing?
CH: I'd hate to give away too much, but I'd say there's a lot of people I wouldn't give the $1 million to. [Laughs] There's a lot of people I don't think deserve the money.
SK: You were targeting Jessica for a while. What was it about her that created such a rivalry between the two of you?
CH: It originates with the Paul vote. It was way too early to be making a move. It was almost like she just made the move to make a move. All she did was splinter a Gen-X tribe that was already splintering. The next vote is when we had a supermajority, including Ken, to vote Jess off because she made that turmoil in the tribe. Then Dave played his Idol for Jess, and it just seemed to destroy any hope of any kind of working together between all of us. Moving forward, I felt like she was too much of a threat with the hub she had. She had Adam, Ken and Dave. Dave was calling the shots, but she was the glue that held those people together. I felt if she was eliminated that those people would just be free agents for us to pick up.
SK: So when you got to sit there and watch Jessica's dramatic rock-drawing elimination, did you enjoy it? Did you feel bad for her?
CH: I did not have the same reaction that a lot of people did. I do not feel bad for her. It wasn't because I took too much joy in the fact she was leaving, because I just left and I knew what it felt like. I would rather going out drawing rocks. That's saying something. It's like, "Hey, I'm choosing a side. I'm doing this on my own free will." It's a lot better than getting backstabbed by your buddy, Zeke. I would have much rather gone out in an epic Tribal drawing rocks than getting blindsided the day before like a buffoon.
SK: Watching Jessica's elimination was crazy from my living room. What was it like actually being there to see it in person?
CH: It was fantastic just watching the arguments back and forth between Dave and Zeke. Bret started chiming in and he was fantastic in his remarks. He added a whole spice to it. Then the vote. And a re-vote. Dave playing an Idol. Having a front-row seat as all that unfolded is just great as a Survivor fan.
SK: Have you and Jessica made any connections since the game wrapped? Is the rivalry dead?
CH: I think so, for the most part. I'm not as close to Jess as I am a lot of the other contestants. I don't know how she feels. She may still hold some sort of grudge against me. I don't know. I don't really think about it that much. I'm not as close to her as I am with others, but I'm certainly communicating with her. She hasn't ever said a bad word to me.
SK: Having been blindsided by him, what's your take on Zeke now?
CH: I think he's super-smart. He just got too aggressive too early. I think it was a huge mistake voting me out. He talked in the episode about gathering his soldiers for the war against Dave — well I would've been a pretty good soldier. I think he wanted to be the general. We could've been a co-general together over that little army. We would have been really hard to beat at that point. By eliminating me, he eliminated a human shield, so to speak. I think it's a huge mistake on his part, but he's definitely playing the game hard.
SK: What was your end-game strategy? Who did you want to take to the end and why?
CH: Sunday. Not because she's a bad player. She had decision-making in a lot of stuff, but I think it would've been perceived that I drug her along and she just rode my coattails. Adam, I felt like, was a little bit floundering around and clinging to Dave's group. He wouldn't have as much of a résumé at the time to go against me. Then there's Hannah, who was just so goofy and all over the place. She really hadn't done a whole lot at that point except listen to Zeke. She was kind of wishy-washy in her votes.
SK: Bret came out of the closet to Zeke as the two shared a one-on-one conversation. Did Bret ever share that information with you?
CH: It was a secret. From what I know, he only came out to Zeke. I think it was an effort to solidify something with Zeke since I was gone. He had no choice but to pick a side. He picked Zeke's side. That would be a heck of a thing for two gay guys to bond over — him coming out on the show to Zeke. I think something he felt like was in his best interest.
SK: When did you find out?
CH: After the show. Bret and I were buddies and really close, so he of course told me after the show.
SK: How did you get on Survivor?
CH: I kept trying and applying. I guess after 30-something seasons, I became interesting or fit a niche. My application video was pretty wild too. I ate a piece of dog crap to get on the show. I think it's pretty wild and it may have gotten my foot in the door a little bit.
SK: Wait. You actually ate dog poop thinking it would get you on the show?
CH: I ate a piece of my dog's shit. Then I looked at the camera and said, "I just ate shit to be on Survivor." It was disgusting. There was a little more to it. It was like, "Hey, I'm a lawyer. My name is Chris. Let's eat some dog shit." [Laughs] I told a little bit about myself, but enough for them to know who I was. That was the hook.
SK: Where did you come up with the idea to eat dog poop?
CH: It was my father-in-law. [Laughs] He gave me the idea years ago. He was making fun of me, saying, "The only way you're getting on that damn show is to go out there and eat a piece of Jake's shit." All these years later, I was like, "I've tried everything else. Why don't we just do it?" So I did it. [Laughs]