'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' star John Cameron Mitchell to portray Joe Exotic in NBC's 'Tiger King' series

Karu F. Daniels, New York Daily News on

Published in Entertainment News

A year after becoming a pandemic-era pop culture phenomenon, Joe Exotic will have his story told in an upcoming television series.

After many celebrity notables openly lobbied to take on the role of the star of Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness,” a cross-dressing icon of New York City’s underground drag scene has snagged the gig.

NBC has announced that its upcoming limited series has found its star in Tony Award-winning stage and screen veteran John Cameron Mitchell. The creator and original star of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” will portray Joe Exotic in the production, tentatively titled “Joe Exotic.”

The show’s co-producer, “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon, has been attached to portray Exotic’s nemesis, Carole Baskin, since the network made the order last summer.

In a statement, Mitchell said he was “thrilled” to take on the part, calling the imprisoned Oklahoma zookeeper a “modern folk antihero.”

Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Schreibvogel, is currently serving a 22-year prison stint for hiring a hitman to snuff out rival Baskin. Amid the increasing popularity of the Netflix true crime documentary, the 58-year-old convict publicly sought a full pardon from former President Donald Trump.

Mitchell, a performer and writer, gained a cult following during the late '90s originating the raunchy role of a brassy, self-made German glam rock goddess who endured a botched sex change operation while scheming to flee depressive East Berlin in the 1970s.


The acclaimed musical show, which originated off-Broadway, was adapted into a movie in 2001 and produced on Broadway in 2014, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Michael C. Hall, Darren Criss, Andrew Rannells and Taye Diggs in the physically demanding, gender-bending role.

Mitchell won a special Tony Award for the trailblazing work.

Playing the flamboyant and polarizing Joe Exotic isn’t too much of a departure for the El Paso, Texas-born former military brat.

“Joe and I are the same age and like him, I grew up queer in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas so I feel like I know a little bit about this guy and his desperate attempt to conquer an inhospitable world,” Mitchell said.

While there is no premiere date slated for the series as of yet, the company said it will air on NBC, USA Network and NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.

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