Q: There was a period in late 2011 where they frequently referenced your impending arrival, but it kept getting delayed. Was it a situation where the delay was planned or your future was in possible jeopardy?
A: My future? No, I don’t think so. [Chris] Jericho’s imminent return was coming, Kane’s return was coming, The Rock was coming. There were so many other things going on. In the meantime, there were these two personas that I have that are very much who I am. I’m literally split down the middle. I can either be the funniest guy in the room and life of the party, but I also can be the most uncomfortable-looking dude in the room at the same time. [With] the two personas I have, [the creative team] were really just trying to figure out, ‘Which one should he show the world?’ I’m glad [for] the wisdom that I didn’t necessarily understand at the time. Looking back, it was the right decision.
Q: Did you come up with the Funkasaurus idea or did somebody else pitch it to you?
A: Actually, the original nickname that I was told — it scared me to death — was Heavy G. I think the last thing you want to be known as is Heavy anything. No offense to Heavy D — rest his soul. Worked for him, wasn’t really my bag. Rob MacIntyre, who I trained with, was a big reason behind me dropping me a hundred and 50 pounds. Him and I were lifting weights and making jokes, trying to figure out better names. First it was the Funk Monster and then Funk Nasty. Then, he looked at me and [said], ‘Funkasaurus’ and started laughing, and he pitched it. The writer was like, ‘I’ll get ready [your] debut. What are we going to call you?’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to be Heavy G.’ He was like, ‘Look, man, I’ve got like 12 other things to do. Just call yourself whatever you want to call yourself’ so I told the announcer to call me the Funkasaurus. He looked at me like I was crazy. I’m like, ‘I don’t know why I want to be the Funkasaurus.’ So I got lucky that the swamped writer had other things going on. Luckily, it stuck.
Q: You’ve talked before about Saddle Ranch, a restaurant in Los Angeles, where important stories involving Snoop Dogg and former WWE wrestler Tommy Dreamer took place. Were you working security or just happened to be there?
A: I was a bodyguard for the owner of the establishment. It used to be pretty crazy nights at the Universal location — 13, 1400 people. Girls dance on the stage. Pretty much everybody when they came to LA usually wanted to find out where Saddle Ranch was at — celebrities and stuff. Snoop’s people saw me there and offered me a job. Fortunately, Tommy Dreamer observed me breaking up a fight and doing it very Funkasaurus-like. I’m not gonna tease ya — they weren’t big guys so it wasn’t like feats of incredible human strength or an awesome karate fight scene from a movie. They were about as big as my leg, and I picked ‘em up like suitcases and carried ‘em out, but I made jokes while I did it. [Tommy] told me I should do that on TV, which I thought was hilarious. I had already tried a few times to get into wrestling and it didn’t really work out. It was kind of funny — I had all but given up. I was bodyguarding. At the same time, I was working with kids during the day. I worked at Five Acres, where I was a recreation therapist during the day. I worked with 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds on motor development, trying to teach ‘em how to be kids again.