Todd Starnes Interviews Duck Dynasty Star on Faith, Family, and Facial Hair
Duck Dynasty makes America happy-happy. And that’s a fact, Jack.
The reality television show following the adventures of Louisiana’s Robertson family has become one of the nation’s most-watched programs. A&E’s Duck Dynasty drew an average of 8.4 million viewers per episode last season – the second-highest-rated cable show on television.
I’m proud to say I was a Duck Dynasty fan from season one, episode one. Last Christmas, I was honored to have Phil and Kay Robertson on my Fox Radio Christmas Spectacular. And earlier this week I had a chance to catch up with their son — Jase.
“I was one of the ones who said the reality show would never work,” he told me. “We were in the hunting world. I had this perception of reality shows that you had to have all this friction and fits of rage and four-letter words.”
Think Jersey Shore and the Kardashians.
“We’re pretty calm compared to that,” he said. “We’ve got some crazy characters in our family — but I didn’t think people would want to see that.”
The nation has fallen in love with Louisiana’s favorite duck call makers – especially with Uncle Si – and his ever-present Tupperware glass filled with sweet tea.
“People just identify with our principles and values,” Jase said. “We’re all about faith, family and facial hair.”
Jase said he hasn’t seen his dad clean shaven in about 30 years.
“My wife hates the beard,” he said. “When we dated, I would grow it out during duck season. she said she could handle anything for three months — but now I have it all the time.”
But he did acknowledge the beard has its advantages.
“No one ever tries to mug us — ever,” he said. “They look at us and say, ‘No, it’s not worth it.’”
A few years ago the brothers and their dad were hunting in Idaho when a guy tried to break into their motel room. It was around 3 a.m. and Phil heard the door knob turn.
“My dad sat up with his long beard, wearing his tighty-whiteys and his gun,” he said. “He leaned over, grabbed the gun and then the guy opened the door. My dad said, ‘Wrong room!’”
Jase said the would-be robber’s hands flew up in the air.
“He turned into a crawfish and started back out,” he said. “He backed up about 250 yards into the parking lot.”
When it comes to guns – the Robertsons are “all about the Second Amendment.”
But the greatest joy in Jase’s life is not the show or the family business — it’s his family. He lives in West Monroe, La. with his wife Missy and their three children — teenage boys Reed and Cole and 10-year-old Mia.
He said keeping the kids focused has been their biggest struggle in this age of Facebook and Twitter and instant feedback.
“I’ve had to sit down with both my sons and tell them that just because 1,000 girls say you’re the best-looking thing since sliced bread – that doesn’t mean it’s true,” he said. “They’re not mature enough to deal with that.”
He said he and his wife try to keep their priorities straight.
“The best thing Missy and I can do is have a good relationship,” he said. “We have a strong, godly relationship. They see that fame and fortune is not what we are after.”
Jase believes that helps keep the kids grounded.
“We also have to take time out of almost every day and say to the kids — this is what we’re about,” he said. “I try to do something positive every day – plan a positive action every day to keep their priorities straight. That’s all you can do. It’s not going to happen by accident.”
A number of viewers have commended the family’s frank discussions about life – including lessons on the birds and the bees.
“My dad told us to wait until we got married — do it God’s way,” he said. “I like the fact that my parents are so open about sex. I waited until I got married and a lot of the reason for that is because at an early age – my parents were real open.”
He admits that some viewers have not appreciated their candor.
“Godly sex is biblical and it’s a good thing,” Jase said. “I’m glad my dad loves my mom. If he didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”
Sure the Robertsons are a little rough around the edges but that’s their culture. That’s who they are. And that’s why American families are flocking to their show.
“The bottom line is we are trying to do what’s right,” he said. “We don’t just say we believe in God — we have active relationships with God.”
And they don’t preach at folks who may not share their Christ-centered values.
“If people want to simulate a godly lifestyle — great,” he said. “If they don’t — good luck with that.”