Let me begin by saying that this is not my conspiracy theory. I do not know the name of the first brave soul to figure it out, nor do I know what happened to him or her, if the powers that be — and they are powerful indeed — tried to stop the truth from getting out, what weapons of spice and face paint they might have used. I know only one thing. The truth: that Guy Fieri, Smash Mouth frontman Steve Harwell, and Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J are all the same person.
I know, I know: It seems absurd. Sure, they all look alike — the same hair, the same circa-2004 trappings, and the same buoyant robustness, like seventh grade pumped up into a parade balloon. These attributes, one might argue, could be yours, too, if you so desired. But what if Guy Fieri, Harwell, and Violent J don’t just happen to look alike and share the same confounding aesthetic? What if there’s something more systematic going on here? What if Guy Fieri, Harwell, and Violent J really are all the same person? Or, more specifically, what if they’re clones?
Let us embark on a journey into the shadowy world of peroxide, UV protection, and goatees, and explore the little theory that I like to call Fieri Mouth. (A portmanteau of Guy Fieri and Smash Mo — you get it.)
As they tell it, each of the three was born and raised separately: Smash Mouth Guy, né Steven Scott Harwell, on January 9, 1967, in Santa Clara, California; Fieri, né Guy Ramsay Ferry, on January 22, 1968, in Columbus, Ohio; Violent J, né Joseph Bruce, on April 28, 1972 in Berkley, Michigan. From there, they forged their own respective paths to ska-pop/deep-fried/nightmare-clown fame, and, as the “story” goes, acquired their own permanent sunburns, developed their own preferences for hair product and short-sleeve button-downs, settled into their own BMIs, and developed their own labyrinthine shaving routines. In this version of events, each at some point independently decided to bleach and spike his hair, and each, apparently, very much liked the results.
To which I say: Are we so gullible? The inescapable truth of the matter is that Fieri, Harwell, and Violent J did none of these things independently, because they are discrete copies of the same DNA, hardwired from birth to exist exactly as they are today. This is Fieri Mouth. They are Fieri Mouth.
People have been connecting the dots for years. There is Guy Fieri–Smash Mouth fan fiction (“‘I love you, my all star,’ He said, smooching Guy on the Lips.”); there’s a Facebook group devoted to the connection between Fieri and Harwell; memes featuring Violent J are regularly sent to all three of them on social media. But even though the truth has gradually crept into the open, it’s not clear that any of the three accept it. Harwell, for one, has long denied it, often by posting photos of his occasional appearances beside Fieri — the time he appeared on Fieri’s Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, on which Fieri dubbed him his “brother from another mother”; the time Fieri cooked him a large amount of eggs to eat for charity — to demonstrate that they are not the same person. This is not the same thing as not being clones, which they are.
Violent J has spoken of being mistaken for Fieri in the past (“Guy Fieri, whatever, that cook guy,” in his words); and vice versa: “#mythbusted,” Fieri wrote on Twitter in 2015 alongside the image of his face next to those of Violent J and Smash Mouth Guy, an exercise that busted exactly no myths.
There is, however, much more evidence supporting the theory that these three are clones than there is against it.
Consider the following:
Item no. 1: Here’s a picture of Harwell:
And Violent J:
Item no. 2: Here’s a picture of Harwell:
And Violent J:
Item no. 3: Here’s a picture of Harwell:
And Violent J:
Item no. 4: Rearranging the letters of their birth names — Steven Harwell, Guy Ferry, Joseph Bruce — produces the sentence “Hereby: We are clones [jugfuls verry pht].” Ignore that last part.
Item no. 5: “My last meal would be my mom’s cheesy potatoes. Hell yeah. My mom makes the best meal on the fucking planet. Or the cheesy noodles. Either one of them is good, but I’m going with the cheesy noodles.” — Violent J, 2015
“Mac Daddy Mac n’ Cheese.” — Guy Fieri, 2008
Item no. 6: T.G.I. Friday’s:
- is where Violent J met his wife (“I walked in there and she was the hostess at a Friday’s, sitting people down, and I was just like, ‘Damn, man.’”),
- continuously plays a Smash Mouth song at all locations, 24 hours a day, even when the establishment is closed, and
- was previously represented in the public eye by none other than Guy Fieri.
Item no. 7: Their common ability to summon exuberance centered primarily on throwing things:
“Smash Mouth Singer Freaks Out When Food Fest Crowd Won’t Stop Throwing Bread At Him.” — Stereogum, 2015
“Guy Fieri threw an autographed Lean Cuisine into a crowd of people” — Mashable, 2015
“Juggalos Throw Feces At Tila Tequila.” — Stereogum, 2010
Item no. 8: Here’s a picture of Harwell:
And Violent J:
I rest my case.
A Broader Conspiracy
Fieri Mouth are not alone. The more I studied this phenomenon the more I could not ignore that fact. I imagine a Svalbard Global Seed Vault for the über-beige phenotype, a repository of the hair-adventurous and Croakies-favoring sent forth across the Earth by some unseen power. There are more of them — many more, in fact — their sweat beading and their centers of gravity so very low.
Here’s Sammy Hagar, a.k.a. The Red Rocker:
Here’s Gary LeVox, the lead singer of country trio Rascal Flatts:
Here’s Uncle Kracker:
Here’s Fred Durst:
You or someone you know could be a clone. Jay Leno. Larry the Cable Guy. One lives in the White House. If you live in the right part of the Midwest, one could even be your father.
In closing, I leave you with this. Fieri speaks often of his hunt for “FlavortownUSA,” a place of good eats, sure, but also one where, as Fieri promises on the website of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, visitors can be themselves. “There is nothing like authentic,” Guy’s Kitchen enthuses. “Nothing beats the real thing.” If you squint, you can see something else in the years of denial about the trio’s genetic destiny: a search for the truth about their shared identity. Guy’s efforts to saturate the nation with comfort food, then, can be viewed as an attempt to bring his lost brothers together. As a wise clown once said, “You just gotta stay true. Stay true and everything will be cool.”
Fieri and Violent J aren’t the only ones straining to make the connection at last. Here’s Harwell fantasizing about uniting with his ICP brethren at what can only be the truest home he’s ever known: the Vans Warped Tour:
I dream of the three gathering together someday in Times Square, a banquet of hair gel and cargo shorts — and there, as they sup on Donkey Sauce and Guy-talian Nachos, they can all, finally, be one.