Pawn Stars fan favorite Chumlee has ended a turbulent 2016 with a heartfelt interview and a special message to his fans. The affable Pawn Stars goofball survived a major drug and weapons arrest that nearly found him behind bars. Because of this arrest, Chumlee's reputation has been through the ringer. He was even forced to delete his Instagram account because of all of the R.I.P. comments.
Austin Lee Russell, who fans lovingly know as Chumlee, has since risen from the ashes. He has moved forward, doing a lot of charitable work, meeting fans, and talking to the media. Chumlee has become the official face of Pawn Stars. Now, he wants to tell fans how he got on the show, as well as a heartfelt thank you.Chumlee recently spoke to George Knapp from LasVegasNow on how he managed to convince the History Channel producers to cast him as the fourth star of Pawn Stars. Chumlee had worked at the World Famous Gold And Silver Pawn Shop for around five years when the reality show started. How did he end up becoming the fourth wheel? It is well known that he is a childhood friend of Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison. That is not the only Harrison family member that Chumlee is close to.
Corey's dad, Rick Harrison, recently told the station, "I've been sort of taking care of Chum on and off since he was like 13, and that story is true."
Chumlee's close relationship with the family made him a natural fourth member. Anyone who wants to star in their own reality show should take heed that his goofy good humor and composure in front of the camera sealed the deal.
"There was 10 other employees in the shop and they were looking for a fourth person to put in the show, and I thought to myself, well, I've known these guys my whole life. We have good camaraderie, and I'm just going to be funny and joke with them like we would normally do, and not get nervous in front of the cameras, and it kind of worked out."Knapp asked Chumlee if he regretted that he has made himself the butt of jokes on the show. Goodnatured as ever, Chumlee explains that if he is in a room with the Harrisons, he is always the dumbest guy. Yet, as fans know, multi-millionaire and successful businessperson Chumlee is smart enough to not tread on any toes.
"Well you know, along time ago, when we first started making the show, I thought to myself, is this the route I really want to go? I'm really looking dumb, but I just thought, you know, people love it, so just stay true to myself. I honestly am not. I am the dumbest guy in the room when I'm with those three. That doesn't make me dumb, but they are definitely much book smarter than I ever could be."Now that the turbulent 2016 is over, Chumlee has taken time for reflection. He is very grateful for everyone who supported him and the show. Most of all, instead of being bitter or angry, he has learned from his mistakes and considers them life lessons.
"Yeah, I'm in a good place. I mean, I went through some stuff this year, but I mean, everything's good I just want to thank all my fabs who stick by me, everyone who stuck by the show and didn't pass judgment and waited for the truth to come out. I'm a young 34. So there's plenty of time to learn some more life lessons."While Chumlee's difficulties in the past year have caused some confusion about his status on Pawn Stars, there may have been more turmoil behind the scenes. A few months ago, the Inquisitr reported that in January of 2015, Pawn Stars patriarch Rick "The Spotter" Harrison told CBS News that he promised his wife, Deanna, that in two years he would "massively slow down" and quit filming the show. Well, this is that very time now, unless Rick has decided to amend this promise. Coincidentally, Chumlee has recently reported that the new season of Pawn Stars will include lots of "solo Chum."
What exactly does this mean?
In recent seasons, Chumlee has worked pawns by himself. He has gone to customer's homes and looked at their video games or collectibles. He has checked out cars and guns without the assistance of Rick, Corey, or even the old man. Chum going solo is nothing new, unless this means entire episodes are going to feature Chumlee.As of today, there has yet to be an announcement on the start date of Pawn Stars Season 14. Could this be because the History Channel needs to make an announcement about any cast members leaving? Highly unlikely. Right now, recent interviews with the core cast members have revealed that Richard "Old Man" Harrison will only be on the show in an occasional cameo.
Yet, it appears that there is a major shift at Pawn Stars with Chumlee quickly becoming the face of the show. Could it mean that Pawn Stars is going to feature Chumlee with occasional cameos by members of the Harrison family? Could Rick Harrison finally meet that promise he made to his Deanna and work less and spend more time at home? Could the newly engaged Corey be following his father's lead and spend more time with his fiancee Bianca? That remains to be seen. It is possible that Season 13 could mean the beginning of a new shift in Pawn Stars.
Do you think that Chumlee could be the new face of Pawn Stars? How would you feel if the Harrison family was only on the show occasionally?
[Featured Image by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]