Love him (guilty!), hate him (boo!), or hate to love him, no one can deny that the latest Survivor: Nicaragua castoff will always be one of the game's most memorable players.
And that's exactly the way he wants it.
In our exit interview this morning, Marty Piombo remembers our first conversation in Nicaragua about his place in the Survivor history books. "I'll never forget my statement to you, which was, Hey listen, I'd love to win the million dollars, but at the end of the game, when it's the finale and we walk out, [I don't want] people to say, 'Who was that guy?' And I remember you very quickly replied, "I don't think you have to worry about that."
At least I made one correct prediction this season.
Do you think you were too cocky?
Sure, I was cocky. I wanted to have fun with it. Could I have played a brand of game where I was the quiet, under-the-radar guy? That's just not my personality, not my style. Could I have gotten further? Maybe. But I love the way I played, and I loved playing with the people that I played with. But I would've loved to have gone further with hardcore players like Brenda, Sash and Jill.
What's your response to Tyrone accusing Jill of racist remarks?
The biggest disappointment of this game—other than Jane's hateful comments, dragging my children onto the show last night—was that whole racist card being played. People have real lives and real jobs and they live in a community. She's a Christian woman, honest, hardworking. Plus who the hell is going to become a racist on Survivor while you're playing to win? She's one of the most competitive, smart people I know. Not one of [Tyrone's allegations] is based on any level of truth whatsoever. I can only assume it's somebody who's bitter and had to blame somebody other than himself.
Do you think you were screwed from the beginning with old vs. young setup?
I think so. I think I could've possibly gone further if we'd started out mixed up. And clearly the bad luck of the tribal switch was the beginning of the end. And I knew that—I just chose to try to put the heat on Jane.
What happened between you and Jane?
I never had anything personal against Jane. But within five minutes of the game starting, Jane ran up and said literally, "My husband just died, I need the money, please don't vote me off." Sharing that deep personal information and using it in the game, I found distasteful. I have more personal tragedy and loss in my family than Chase and Jane combined—but I never, ever would've used that in the game...[It was] really really sad to see her become such a deeply hateful, resentful person. To say the things she did, especially about my kids, says a lot about her and the way she was raised and her background—but there's not much I can do about that.
Why did you break Jimmy Johnson's heart?
I loved Jimmy Johnson. I was portrayed as this guy who hated Jimmy Johnson. Not at all. Did I resent the fact that hey we had a celebrity on board? You have to expend a lot of game capital, as I call it, to gain respect, leadership, trustworthiness...all this stuff you would need to work for, he just gets because he's Jimmy Johnson. Was that hard? Yes. But if Jimmy Johnson had said, "Marty, let's do something together," I would've been on it in a heartbeat and exposed the fact that I had Yve, Danny and Jill with me and we could've done some great things.
We expected Jimmy Johnson's famous coif to take center stage, but instead your hair became a star of the show.
I love it because it's a distinguishing brand. I had nothing to do with it other than putting my buff on. There was no mousse, there was no product involved. It was a Nicaraguan grime, salt, sweat, oil, grossness. I kinda love it. I thought it was fun and funny.
Everyone seemed to love it except NaOnka.
Apparently NaOnka did not like my walk either. I tried to come up with a better walk for her last night but it clearly had no impact. Like Jeff Probst has said, she is just kind of like a child. What's perplexing to me is that someone like that can make it as far as she has. The older tribe would not have tolerated lying, cheating and stealing. And a lot of it with no purpose. In one of the only conversations I had with her, I said, "You know, all that stuff you did would've been great if there was a reason—a next step or a strategy—but you did it with absolutely no purpose in mind whatsoever. And you'll always be remembered as the person who stole stuff just because."
Who's the biggest douche of the guys?
That's so hard—I like everybody so much that was out there. Jimmy T. just annoyed everybody. Chase is not a douche, but he is just plain ol' dumb.
Is Chase dumber than Fabio?
100 percent. We're talking dumber than a bag of hammers.
Which brings me to Dan. Why is Dan on the show?
Why is NaOnka on this show? Why is Purple Kelly on the show?
Um, they can move!
I think the challenges were set up for geriatric ward this season anyway. There wasn't a single challenge where Danny actually lost it for anybody. Could he have done better and could he have won it for somebody? Maybe. But Danny's a trustworthy guy, and in this game if you have somebody you know 100 percent is gonna vote for you—it's just somebody you gotta have along. I'm sorry, but I love the guy and I wish he could've been better on the show—he's a great storyteller and he's a charming man.
I think it paid off for you, but why is Sash walking around with your Hidden Immunity Idol?
The question is, did it work? The answer is, absolutely. I had a gun pointed to my head basically...I had to evaluate that and say, I could give the idol to Jeff Probst tonight and incur the wrath of the tribe and absolutely guarantee that I get voted off next. Or do I trust my gut and my instincts with Sash? Even if it's a 2 to 3 percent chance that maybe I curry favor with him, it's worth taking that risk.
It was extremely emasculating. Don't get me wrong. It was not a happy time giving it to him. Not cool at all. But not doing it was going to guarantee that I don't go farther.
Is Sash the smartest player in the game?
I think Sash and Brenda are by far the smartest players out there. I would definitely give Fabio some credit too. You start to see a little bit of it last night. As Jeff Probst said at the beginning, like it or not, he can "Dude" his way through this game. But Sash is a really cerebral player, and Brenda's cunning, dangerous and smart.
Do you have any regrets?
The only thing I feel badly about is Tyrone's racist comments and Jane's deep, deep resentful, hatefulness and dragging my kids on the show. That's a really sad thing for me. I felt badly that I left Danny, Benry and Fabio exposed because of my failed plan. [Otherwise] this was the best experience of my life beyond my family and my kids. I enjoyed that they portrayed me as being a funny guy and arrogant and cocky. I had a good time and I'm glad my sense of humor came through.
Was Marty too cocky for his own good, or did he play the best game he could? Are you going to miss the man, or at least his crazy hair?