Doc Antle Has Changed the Way I See These Cultural Moments Forever

Isabel Jones

Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle (known in school as Kevin), is an animal trainer, businessman, self-proclaimed conservationist, and one of many anti-heroes in wildly popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

On screen, Antle is portrayed as a slightly more level-headed model of the show’s flamboyant main attraction, Joe Exotic. As entertaining as Antle is in the series, it's important to note that he's been accused of some terrible things (allegedly putting tiger cubs who've grown too old for petting in gas chambers, for one). While the series doesn't touch on all of these accusations, it does, however, delve into Antle’s cult-like Myrtle Beach Safari venture, and (however briefly), his experiences in Hollywood. Tiger King presents Antle’s show biz ventures as one would their crazy uncle’s chance encounter with Mariah Carey at a Pizza Hut in 1996, but after further examination it seems like the doctor of “mystical science” actually has quite the IMDb page.

From late night talk shows to the actual 2001 VMAs stage with Britney Spears (!), here are some of Antle’s most memorable (and categorically bizarre) forays into the mainstream spotlight.

The David Letterman Show

In 1992, a mustachioed, mullet-wearing Antle (clad in a jumpsuit and carrying a black leopard), made an appearance on Letterman’s talk show as an assistant to zookeeper Jack Hanna.


Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Why Jim Carrey didn’t secure the rights to the Doc Antle story decades ago will forever consume my thoughts. Antle served as “principle animal trainer” on both the 1994 and 1995 films.

The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo

Lucky for Antle, sequels are apparently all the rage in the animal-centric film world. He worked as a trainer on the ’94 film, and returned for the second installment in ’97.

Janet Jackson’s “Together Again” Music Video


Doctor Dolittle

Mighty Joe Young

Antle served as both an animal trainer for the 1998 film and an uncredited “Party Guest Grabbed by Joe.”


Nas and Diddy’s “Hate Me Now” Music Video

RELATED: Trust Me: Tiger King Is Unlike Anything You've Ever Seen, and You'll Love It

Britney Spears’s 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Performance


The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Antle visited the show in 2001 and then again in 2002. He wore what appears to be the same outfit for both visits.

NBC/Getty Images

NBC/Getty Images

Ashanti’s “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)” Music Video


Good Morning America

In 2011, Antle went head-to-head with Robin Roberts (whilst bottle-feeding a massive tiger), defending a 17-year-old’s decision to sleep with an adolescent tiger in her bed every night. “That Felicia is risk-free is by no means true,” he told the GMA host, “but neither are most 17-year-olds behind the wheel of a car, right?” he went on, “They die like flies, across the country.”


Beyoncé. Just Beyoncé.

Antle met Queen Bey when she visited Myrtle Beach Safari in 2014. They even fed a baby tiger together (slide 2). In my mind, this trip also provided the inspiration for The Lion King: The Gift.