By Ersin Ozer Explorebigsky.com Contributor
Buscrat, the mountain-man entertainer, is best known for his hilarious narratives of wildlife encounters, Montana history and fables, his encouraging nature, and for being as old as Father Time. With his creativity and anecdotal storytelling, his style goes beyond the spectrum of traditional stand-up comedy.
This summer he’ll be touring Big Sky with his tales and comedy shows, but there’s more to this man of mystery than the jokes told or the fables given. I caught up with him for an exclusive interview; here’s a sneak-peak at the old-timer.
Where in tarnation are you from Buscrat?
From right here—I’m actually the first feller to be in Montana. I was the one who discovered it, that was way back when. I rode in on my Bronco-saurus and there was nobody else here! There was a young couple that lived here; for a short period, they called it the Garden of Eden. Well, God kicked ‘em out, and the place was unoccupied so I moved in and been here ever since.
How old are you?
Lots of folks ask me that, but way back then we didn’t keep track and after a couple thousand years I don’t know anymore. People call me on it. They say, “How could you have lived 2,000 years ago?” And I say, “I don’t know how I could have lived, back then without TV, but I did.”
I hear you tell stories ‘round these parts.
I tell some stories about Montana, what goes on and about the animals. I teach people. Especially visitors, you know dem city folk that come in, a lot don’t know what (hands gesturing in a Chris Farley-esque manner) bear-spray is! They don’t realize if you shoot a bear with a gun, it’s just gonna make ‘em mad, so you shoot the bear-spray in their eyes. I tell a lot of fables. I’ve been accused of telling stories for quite some time. They’re all true though. I’ve seen them with my own eyes. A friend of mine years ago, his name was Aesop, he liked some of my stories and published them.
Well friend, what’s your mission?
I like tellin’ good fables that teach morals and values, and sometimes they’re interesting and funny.
Like one day I was taking my doggies for a walk and my border collie, she saw some bones der in the ground and was diggin’ around. And then this cougar just appeared over a big rock and was just about to pounce on my poor little dog. I thought she was gone fer good. But she’s smart and so as she was diggin’ through dem bones she talked out loud and she said, “That was the best-tastin’ cougar I ever ate!” (Laughing) It worked too, that cougar took off and ran away! Course there was this raccoon there, and he was watchin’ the whole thing and he done come up to my doggie and said, “I saw what you done, and I’m gonna go tell that cougar you fooled him and he’s gonna be real mad!” So then, the raccoon runs off and tells the cougar what happened, and oh man, that cougar was just fierce-mad I tell ya! Mad as sin. The cougar came runnin’ back with that raccoon riding on its back, and the raccoon was just laughing, thinking, ‘Man, that cougar is gonna eat up that dog, this is gonna be great!’ Well, my doggie, she was still eatin’ those bones and saw in the corner of her eye that cougar come runnin’ back with the raccoon on top. As soon as that cougar got within an ear shot, my dog said, “Now where is that raccoon anyway? I sent him for another mountain lion 10 minutes ago!”
I like to let my fables help teach. I’ve gotten lots of emails. It’s nice to know that it’s doing good for folks who are trying to teach their children or for folks who are trying to teach other folks. A woman, she sent me one [email], which said, “This [moral of the story] is perfect for my husband.” Heh, she sent that anonymously, and I figured it out ‘cause I was wonderin’ why my wife was reading me one of my own fables the other day.
What is the ‘Buscratic’ method for dealing with un-kindly folk?
What you got to do, you treat ‘em as you want ‘em to become—and this is part of one of my fables too, called The Creature. That story talks about treating people a certain way and they’ll live up to that, and if you call someone a dumb ol’ idiot stick, well they’re gonna act like an idiot stick. People live up to our expectations.
Which values do you reflect onto folks in the audience during your comedy shows?
Well, about how to positively treat others, with respect. At schools, I tell kids to go read a fable and if they can write down what the moral of the story is, then I give them a candy bar. Even when I go talk this summer, I got a special part of my treasure I’m going to be giving out to folks—but that’s kind of a secret!
What else you reckon the readers here should know about Buscrat?
They’ll find out that even though they’re called fables, they’re all true. I like to motivate and encourage folks to succeed in their endeavors, to live a good life, when they’re down and out.
Buscrat’s fables can be read online at buscrat.com, and on the Fun page of the Big Sky Weekly. Or, check out his live, family friendly comedy acts this summer.