In case you were wondering, those noises you heard on Thursday night at around 9 pm were the anguished cries of millions of Amazing Race fans as New York clowns Jon and Al were eliminated from the competish. Plane trouble and bad advice from a travel hotline did in the popular team, who scored an unprecedented 95 percent approval rating on the CBS website. But don't worry too much about the pair — they're still as high-spirited as ever. In fact, they even wore their trademark red clown noses throughout this interview.
TV Guide Online: I'm sure I speak for almost every Amazing Race fan when I say that Thursday's episode was a heartbreaker. Have others told you how hard it was to watch you guys come in last?
Absolutely! It's hard to absorb I tell you.
Al: We want to do a retake. A lot of people have come up and said, "You don't understand! You were our team, why did you do that?!"
TVGO: I'm sure your families have been giving you grief, too.
It's funny, Al and I were watching the episode at his house in Long Island with his parents and they're looking at us... tell 'em Al.
Al: My mother was completely shocked. When Phil said, "You've been eliminated," she looked over at us and said, "You're eliminated?" They were both in shock; they didn't believe it.
TVGO: It just goes to show how luck plays a huge role in the final legs of the race. Unlike some racers, you guys didn't make any big mistakes along the way. You just got tripped up at the last moment by some bad advice.
Exactly. We learned a valuable lesson, never stop doing your homework and never stop trying to figure out a better option. It's not like we lost because we weren't competitive or because we couldn't finish a Detour or a Roadblock. We were very competitive, and we would have been able to maintain a lead within the race if we had caught the Singapore flight. It's hard because we've received so many encouraging words from people, and now in some way we feel like we let them all down. But we can't change the outcome.
TVGO: Throughout the series, you were both clearly depicted as being the "good guys" of the race. But weren't there any moments where you got frustrated with each other?
To be honest, we never had any of those moments. We were depicted exactly how we ran the race and how we are as human beings and that's great for us. It was a great experience and it really opened us to what's important in life — taking a moment and trying to enjoy it. We tried to do that in the race and create some smiles along the way.
Al: A lot of people stop us on the street and ask, "Are you guys really that nice? Do you really not fight that much?" And we always say, "Yeah, we were just ourselves on TV." There were points in the race where we got frustrated. Not with each other, but with the different tasks we were trying to get accomplished. We always used humor to get us out of that funk. We'd tell ourselves, "It's not so bad. Let's laugh this off and have a good time."
TVGO: Knowing what you know now, what's one change you would make if you were to run the race over again?
Keep going and cover all the bases. Have a plan, a backup plan, a secondary backup plan, a third, fourth, fifth sixth, every plan possible.
TVGO: What's a moment we didn't see in the finished series that you wish had been included?
You don't see the racers at the pit stops, just relaxing and having dinner.
Al: I also feel sometimes, although most people disagree with me, the race is so intense and it just keeps going. During our pit stops we only have 11 hours to sleep, do our laundry, do the interviews, wash up, pack your stuff and go. That's why towards the end of the race you see how tired people are and how their eyes are all droopy. I think you lose a little bit of that in the series.
TVGO: Are you guys still clowning?
Jon travels with the Ringling Brothers Circus right now and I'm actually working on a cruise ship with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. We still do clowning, although most of it is without make up. We do lots of comic and character clowning and improvisation. Jon is also the human cannonball at the circus.
Jon: We're also putting together a website so we can keep in touch with our fans. We have the site — it's JonandAlRacers.com — we've just gotta develop it. Hopefully we'll have it up and running when the show is over. We don't really have a direction right now, we just want to share our experience with everyone, put up some pictures from the race and let people know what we're doing now.
TVGO: What memory or experience from the race has stuck with you the most?
For me, it's to try and enjoy life even more. Try to do better in your marriage and your parenting and try to take a moment once in a while. You gotta remember I didn't talk to my family for five weeks, and that was very difficult for me. You realize what you have, not that you don't know that already, but it makes it more meaningful. I've become a better person from this experience.
Al: There are a lot of different memories and the whole experience as a package just blew me away. The thing I probably remember the most, though, is the very beginning of the race when Phil said: "The world is waiting for you. Good luck... Travel safe... Go!" That moment keeps replaying in my mind. It was the beginning of an awesome experience. I get chills every time I watch that scene on video.