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CNN Larry King Live

"Dirty Job"

Aired July 06, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, cleaning septic tanks?

MIKE ROWE, HOST, "DIRTY JOBS": We're in the toilet.


KING: Collecting road kill, inspecting sewers?


ROWE: Sure. Sure. It stinks. Oh, yes, like a sewer.


KING: They're not just dirty jobs, they're downright disgusting and often dangerous.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no, no, no, don't fall in the poo.


KING: Somebody's got to do them.

But who would want to?

Now, meet the host of the reality TV hit, "Dirty Jobs" ...


ROWE: Oh, god.


KING: ... and some people who do those gross out gigs for a living, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

The producers of this show made me an offer that I could refuse. They wanted me to go out and do one of these things. Lots of luck.

We welcome Mike Rowe.

You've seen him on television for years hosting many, many, many things -- commercials, many shows.

He's now the host of the hit show, "Dirty Jobs".

It airs on Discovery Channel.

How did you get this gig?

ROWE: Nobody to blame. But me, I'm afraid.

KING: You auditioned?

ROWE: No. That's one of the auditions that I definitely would have -- would have passed on. This was more of a -- well, first of all, I'm a guest, you know?

The hosts are the people that welcome me. And the idea initially was to pay a tribute to my dad and my grandfather, you know, who had, like many people's dads and grandfathers, I guess, lots and lots of different dirty jobs. I just thought it would be fun to, you know, get the camera pointed at people who normally don't have a camera.

KING: This was your idea, then?

ROWE: It was called "Somebody's Got To Do It" in San Francisco. And it was a ...

KING: A local show?

ROWE: Yes. A regular segment on "Evening Magazine." And I got a couple segments together, sent them to a producer I know here in L.A. -- a guy named Craig Peligian (ph). And he and I talked to Discovery and eventually determined that the thing might work as a series.

KING: Are you surprised that it worked so well?

ROWE: I'm surprised how fast it worked. The show is really simple. It couldn't be simpler.

KING: How long has it been on?

ROWE: About 150 years now.


ROWE: It's been on three years. We've done 152 jobs. And initially we wanted to do three hours and maybe 12 jobs. And what happened was I just messed up. People started watching. I didn't think it would happen.

My business model has been made based, really, on get involved with shows that are doomed to fail and thereby freeing up many months of off time.

KING: Good idea.

ROWE: For 18 years it worked great. I just miscalculated with "Dirty Jobs".

KING: But you got good commercials along the way, too.


KING: You got a lot of work.

But this is kind of where did I go right?

ROWE: Pretty much. This is the classic be careful what you wish for. Yes.

KING: And you go out and do jobs, too?

ROWE: I do.

KING: All right.

What determines what you'll do or what others will do?

ROWE: Well, I will do whatever my host does, or at least I will try.

KING: So you do what they do?

ROWE: Absolutely. I ...

KING: And you say you're a host?

ROWE: Well, we're going to meet some people tonight, I understand ...

KING: Right.

ROWE: -- that I've worked with. And my mentality, rather than, you know, hosting a reality show which, frankly, I'm not very good at and I think we have enough of those, I try and be the guest. So when the crew arrives, I arrive with them and we meet the subject, for lack of a better word.

KING: Gotcha.

ROWE: And I just try and keep up.

KING: And when "Dirty Jobs" sent you to Las Vegas, you spent some time investigating what happens to all of Sin City leftover hotel and restaurant food.

Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), you see what I mean about -- no, no, no.

ROWE: Go! Jeez, Louise.

How about a paint scraper?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ain't so bad once you get used to it, right?

ROWE: I'll let you know as soon as I'm used to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're really going to have to get moving because these pigs are -- the pigs are hungry ...

ROWE: The pigs are hungry?


ROWE: I know. Thirty-five hundred waiting. It can't be pretty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They like to eat on time.

ROWE: And I don't. Look at that. That's a beautiful piece of chicken right there.



KING: Do you pay these people?

ROWE: They're doing OK on their own.

To appear on the show?

KING: So you don't pay them?


KING: You don't pay them to appear?


KING: So it's their jobs and they're happy to show off these jobs to you?

ROWE: Absolutely.

KING: And not get paid for it?

ROWE: Absolutely.

KING: This show is a gold mine then. ROWE: This show -- nobody in their right mind can really take credit for it, because the truth is there are millions of people that are doing important but uncelebrated work. And a crew shows up and says, hey, would you like to be on in 128 countries?

Can we tell your story?

The average answer is, well, sure, you know?

Normally they look at me like I have two heads and say why?

And we say, well, why not?

KING: How do the producers find the jobs?

ROWE: The show is programmed entirely by the country. At this point, I haven't had an original idea since the first 12 or 15 jobs. We have research people that, you know, try and keep an eye on things. But at the end of every episode, I fall to my knees and I beg the people watching to please go to the Web site and send an idea. And they do.

KING: What is cat fish wrangling?

ROWE: Well, some call it wrangling, some call it noodling, some call is grabbling. Basically, call it what you'd like, it's stumbling into a swamp, groping around for a hole in the mud, sticking your arm in it and hoping a catfish bites you. If, in fact, that should come to pass, you grab it by its lower jaw, pull it from the mud and you have now noodled. It's bare handed fishing.

KING: And -- I see. Oh, and you sell the fish?

ROWE: Of course.

KING: Yes.

ROWE: See that?

Look at that, Larry. There's me right there. The first catfish I ever wrangled.

KING: So you're -- you're a noodler?

ROWE: I am a noodler, yes.

KING: All right.

Do you ...

ROWE: It's -- You do it once and you cross it off the list. I'm not an noodler by trade. I was an noodler on that day.

KING: Any phobias that keep ...

ROWE: All of them. KING: Do you have any that you would keep you -- absolutely you would not do a job?

Is there a job -- forget it, no way Charlie?



ROWE: no. If -- if I'm shoulder to shoulder with somebody who is making a legitimate living doing the work, I will do my best to keep up.

KING: You did a show catching snakes.

ROWE: Oh, sure.

KING: Oh sure!

ROWE: Oh, yes, yes.

KING: That's what they asked me to do.


KING: and I thought about it for two, three, four seconds.


Don't you have an agent?

Well, you don't need one of them.

KING: Why did you catch snakes?

ROWE: Snake wrangling happens, in this case, up in Ohio. There's an endangered species of Ohio water snake that lives in a lake. A woman named Kristen (ph) gathers the snakes. She makes them vomit. She examines their vomit to determine if they're on a specific type of diet. If they're not, they can do certain things to the lake to help enhance their diet. They're trying to keep the snakes alive. They have teeth, by the way, and when they bite, it hurts.

KING: Mike Rowe is our guest.

His psychiatrist will follow.


KING: He had previous jobs. He was once a professional opera singer. A lifelong Baltimore oriole fan, so you do have current depression. He sold $100 million worth of simulated diamonds on QVC. He's the narrator ...

ROWE: The ultimate dirty job.


So he's been a thief, too.


KING: He's the narrator of "American Chopper," the series "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel and dozens of Tylenol TV commercials.

Lots of other nasty job descriptions ahead, from road kill cleaner upper to bovine pregnancy detector. Oh, that's a big one.

But up next, the job that doesn't include the sweet smell of success.

A preview as we go to break.


ROWE: Oh, god. Les, that's not good.


ROWE: You know, I feel kind of a natural at this, actually.

Thanks. Six years of college.


ROWE: It's all coming together for me.

Why does this smell worse than -- than the crap?

SWANSON: I don't know.

This is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen or ever done. Right here, Les. This is it. This is it. It's the worst.




ROWE: This is the final stop for thousands of toilets, sinks, bathtubs and municipal drains. Les and I were up to our knees in the thick of it. Oh, god.


KING: We're back with Mike Rowe, host of the hit show "Dirty Jobs," which airs on Discovery.

We're joined by Les Swanson, a honey wagon specialist. Which -- which is that?

What does that mean, Les?

SWANSON: Well, we have a liquid waste hauling company. And the generic term for them are the -- is honey wagon. They've been called that since they were two wheeled carts in the Middle Ages, I guess.

KING: But basically you do what?

SWANSON: Clean sewers, septic tanks, any type of liquid waste that needs to be transported and disposed of. It all smells.


KING: Why, Les?

Why would you want to do that?

Or that you don't want to do it and fell into it?

No, that -- that's a bad pun.


SWANSON: Well, it's nice to be good at something, you know?

I think I'm pretty good at it, you know?

KING: Is it a talent?

SWANSON: It's a god given talent, yes.

KING: You've either got it or you don't?

SWANSON: That's right.

KING: What makes you a great, great septic tank cleaner?

SWANSON: A poor sense of smell.


SWANSON: A lot of patience. I like to get dirty.

KING: You like to get dirty?


KING: What's the best thing about the job?

SWANSON: Oh, the satisfaction ...


SWANSON: It's problem solving, literally. I mean it's ... KING: You mean each -- each one presents a different problem?


KING: Have you found some you couldn't clean?

SWANSON: Well, our motto used to be if it's -- if we can't fix it, it can't be fixed or else ...

KING: So have you run into some that couldn't?

SWANSON: Yes. Then it's time for somebody else to move in and (INAUDIBLE).

KING: This is probably the stupidest question I've ever asked.

What's the worst thing about this job?

SWANSON: Oh -- people who don't appreciate what you're doing for them.

KING: You like it, don't you, Les?

SWANSON: Well, I feel ...


KING: Come on, admit it. You like it.

SWANSON: Some days it's rewarding, yes.

KING: You've gone out with him, Mike?

ROWE: Oh, my goodness, have I gone out with him. Look, let me tell you something about Les that he's not going to tell you himself. He's exactly the reason and exactly the type of person that we look for on the show. He -- I mean, just watching him talk right now, he doesn't talk because he can. He thinks about what he wants to say. He's not impressed by the cameras pointed at him. He took me into maybe the worst place I've ever seen in my life, that pumping station where we just were. It was 98 degrees.

SWANSON: It was not.

ROWE: We were (LAUGHTER) ...

KING: Where was that?

SWANSON: Madison, Wisconsin?

ROWE: It was so bad.

KING: I like the way you said that.

ROWE: It was bad. Listen ...

KING: The others are good.

ROWE: I turn to him when we're at the worst of it. He's knocking these giant hunks of cholesterol off the -- off the walls. And we're just literally up to our waists in unmentionable filth. And I say, "Les, what -- what happened to you, man?"

And he said, "What do you mean?"

And I said, "Well, what were you doing before this?"

He said, "I was a guidance counselor helping shape lives."

And I said, "Why did you quit?"

And he said -- he said, "I got tired of dealing with other people's crap."


ROWE: So I mean, look, I mean, seriously, if Les and all of his buddies call in sick for two weeks, the toilets don't flush.

You want to talk riot in the streets?

I mean, you might as well not have the power come on.

KING: How many people work for you?

SWANSON: There are five of us.

KING: Is it a good money profession?

SWANSON: It's about $5 an hour, I guess, if you ...

KING: That's all?

SWANSON: -- it's 24 hours a day.

No. It's ...

KING: You need (INAUDIBLE) ...

SWANSON: We earn a living.

ROWE: The tips are fantastic.

SWANSON: We're helping two kids -- yes -- two kids get through college (INAUDIBLE) ...

KING: One your heroes -- was Norton a hero of yours, from "The Honeymooners?" Gleason's guy, Norton?


KING: Art Carney.

SWANSON: Art Carney.

KING: He went down into the sewers.



SWANSON: I'm sorry. That was before my time, I guess.


SWANSON: I remember "The Honeymooners," is that it?

KING: "The Honeymooners".


KING: Norton worked the sewers.


ROWE: He's a young man, Larry.

SWANSON: Maybe I missed that part of it.

ROWE: He's a young man.

KING: So when you finish a job, is there a sense of reward?

SWANSON: Yes, if we've relieved somebody's problems or solved the problems, I feel good about it.

KING: Are you married?


KING: Yes.


SWANSON: Thirty-four years and 10 months and a few days. Two boys.

KING: Your wife has to love you.

SWANSON: She has to?


KING: You come home, don't you?

SWANSON: Yes. I clean up before I go home, though.


There's no residual bad smell? SWANSON: No. I try to ...

KING: Do you not smell it?

SWANSON: Oh, I do.


KING: You do.

SWANSON: And it doesn't smell like money. You're supposed to tell yourself, you know, it smells like money. But it doesn't.

KING: Mike, do they laugh on the job?

ROWE: Sure, they do.

Are you kidding?

These are the -- these are the happiest people that I know. I know a lot of people and, you know, most of my friends in real life have white collar jobs and live predictable existences. But by and large, as a group, people with dirty jobs have a better sense of humor. They have more balance in their life and they know how to laugh.

KING: Les, where does the stuff go at the end of the day?

SWANSON: Most of our materials are disposed of at the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District. And it's -- the local big city for us is Madison, Wisconsin.

KING: You dump it?

SWANSON: Yes. And they recycle it.

KING: Into what?

SWANSON: Bionutrients. They take it out to the fields and grow crops with it -- corn and soy beans and ...

KING: So we eat it?

SWANSON: Yes, a refined form of it.


SWANSON: That's -- that's the ultimate recycling, though.

KING: I can't tell if we're just losing everybody.

SWANSON: The dinner hour.

ROWE: They're too paralyzed to change the channel.

SWANSON: It's the dinner hour, yes. KING: From -- from Al Gore to this.

When we come back, the dirty job that starts with cow crap and from there goes to pot.


As we go to break -- 50 years and I'm doing this.

SWANSON: You're loving it.

KING: Here's a look at what's coming up.


ROWE: This would be sort of a mechanical butt hole.

MATT FREUND, POO POT MAKER: Grab on to the edge of it.


FREUND: That's just not right.

ROWE: Just like that, food and poo have become the same words.

OK, somehow or another. Ooh.







ROWE: This poo plowing is something Matt does every single day. Now, if you consider that each one of his 250 Holstein dairy cows produces 150 pounds of poo her day, you do the math. Actually, if you multiply the 150 pounds of poo produced per day by the nearly 14 million cows in the country, well -- oh, no.


KING: Joining us now in our salute to Mike Rowe, the Purple Hearted Mike Rowe, the host of "Dirty Jobs" on Discovery.

Lee Swanson remains with us.

We're now joined by Matt Freund, the professional poo pot maker, who has given me this hat called cow pots. And I'm honored to have it. And you're in the business of doing what, Matt?

FREUND: Well, I'm in the business of making milk. But in making milk, we have to take care of the waste. And over the last eight years we've worked on a project called cow pots. And these cow pots are actually a biodegradable plantable pot.

KING: That's a pot you're holding in your hand?

FREUND: This is the pot that I'm holding in my hand.

KING: And that comes from -- from cow poo?

FREUND: This is cow poo.

KING: Can we get a shot of that?


FREUND: So the neat thing about this pot is that it grows a bigger, faster, stronger plant and it doesn't smell. So it's kind of a better mousetrap.

KING: So you're making milk and pots?

FREUND: And pots. And the reason that we make the pots is that it cleans up the environment. What we're trying to do is we're trying to take some of the nutrients off of our farms and give it to our city cousins in an environmentally friendly way. So what this does for us is it just helps us clean up the environment on our farm.

KING: Does every milk company have to do something with poo?

FREUND: No. It -- we all have to do something with poo and we have to do it correctly. It has to be spread at the proper time. It has to be used for fertilizer. But ...

KING: You came up with this?

FREUND: We came up with this idea.

KING: How in the world did you come up with this?

FREUND: Well, you sit around a lunch table, you figure out what are you going to do with your poo. And that's what we came up.

ROWE: I just have to jump in, Larry, and say I'm so gratified to hear the word poo being used with such -- with such a casualness and yet a certain authoritative tone.

KING: Well, that's -- this is a first class show.

ROWE: It really is. And when I think of all the other bottoms that have sat in the very chairs we're in right now and all the poo that's been flying around for all these many years ...


ROWE: -- and actually be able to smell it out, it's -- it's -- it's huge.

KING: But what's it like, Matt, to gather the material?

FREUND: The cows give it to us all over the place, so gathering it isn't the issue.

KING: But someone has to pick it up, right?

FREUND: Well, what we do is we push it, as you saw on the video.

KING: Oh. You push it.

FREUND: we push it with the machine. So, there are times when we're picking it up. But most of the time we push it.

KING: They do a lot of pooing?

FREUND: They do a lot of pooing, a lot of pooing.

KING: Mike, did you do it?

ROWE: Oh, sure. Sure. Absolutely. You know, Matt -- I mean the reason that he worked so well on our show is because I -- I think if there's a greener show on the air right now than "Dirty Jobs," I don't know what it is, you know?

I mean brown is the new green on our show.

KING: Correct.

ROWE: And Matt and Les, you know, are literally up to their necks every day in the brown and, you know, making everything a little greener for all of us. That's -- that's ingenious.

I don't know if you made the point, Matt, but when you -- when you bury that, it just dissolves ...

FREUND: Right.

ROWE: -- basically enhancing the life of whatever you plant in it.

KING: You got a better growth with -- where -- who do you sell that to?

FREUND: Oh, we sell to any home gardener. We'll sell to greenhouse growers. We'll sell it to retailers to sell.

KING: What do they call it?

FREUND: We call it cow pots. And it's -- what it does is it replaces plastics. So it reduces our carbon footprint by not using foreign oil and it's just a better product. KING: Al Gore would love this.

FREUND: Al Gore would love it. I'd love to give him one.

ROWE: Maybe we can -- gosh, do we know anybody who knows Al Gore?

KING: I know him.

FREUND: If you know him ...

ROWE: Oh, you know Al Gore?

FREUND: If you know Al Gore ...

KING: I'll get him a pot to him, right?

ROWE: Holy poo.

FREUND: There you go.

KING: Matt, wouldn't you -- wouldn't you rather have a desk job?

FREUND: you know, no.

KING: You like it out there?

FREUND: We're a dairy farm. We have 400 acres and a couple hundred acres of forest and a three acre pond. And a lot of people by us aspire to come out to our area to live there.

ROWE: Wait a minute. You say a three acre pond.

Are you talking about the pond we're looking at right now?

FREUND: Oh, no. That -- that's only a little pond. But it's not as good as ...

KING: You make cow pots -- what do other companies do with the poo?

FREUND: Well, we use it for composting. Most dairy farms ...

KING: What do -- what do most dairy farms ...

FREUND: Most dairy farms spread it for fertilizer.

KING: Just take it and spread it?

FREUND: Right. The trick is to keep it contained until it's time to be used for fertilizer. And that's what most farms do.

KING: Les, what do you think of that job?

SWANSON: I love it. I'd love to go visit him and help him clean the bottom of his manure pit.


KING: It's dirty, it's smelly.

SWANSON: It's fascinating.

KING: It's right up your alley, Les.

ROWE: It's like a vacation.

SWANSON: I love it.

ROWE: You guys should switch off for a few years.

SWANSON: I've never been to Connecticut.

KING: What do you think of his job, Matt?

FREUND: Well, I like his job. We were talking in the room before about how he could help me with my digester. So ...

KING: Your digester?

FREUND: Well, we make energy with the manure before we make pos. We actually make methane and I use that to heat my house. So -- we also use the ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's awesome.

FREUND: We also use it in the production of the pots.

KING: I can see someone just tuning in. This is our next pot and it's legal.

SWANSON: And I thought Larry King was on this hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, what's happening?

ROWE: Some people have potpourri in their homes.

KING: Oh, potpourri. It's ...

ROWE: Yes, yes.

KING: Potpourri.

ROWE: Matt took it to a different level.

KING: Mike, we have an e-mail question for you from Alexandra in Connecticut: "Dear Mike, which dirty job is the most memorable? Is there a job you dream about doing but not have been asked?"

You have not been asked?

ROWE: I don't have dreams anymore. I've lost the ability. My REM is gone.

We've done 152 jobs.

KING: Any one you want to do?

ROWE: No, not particularly. You mean like for the rest of my life?


KING: What's your next one scheduled?

ROWE: I go to Alaska tomorrow.

I'm going to be doing some work with geese.


ROWE: I'm sure there will be some poo involved. I don't have all the details yet, but stand by on that.

KING: Let us k.

ROWE: I will.

KING: You know, you don't need all this. You're the -- you got -- you do the Ford commercials, right?

ROWE: Oh, yes.

KING: On camera and over ...

ROWE: Oh, sure. Yes. I'm a big shot.

KING: Let me hear that voice.

ROWE: Built Ford tough.

There you go.

Doesn't it make you want to buy something?



KING: With your luck, he'll go assemble a car.

Later in the show, Mike's adventures as a bovine OB-GYN.


KING: But up next, another crappy job. This one is for the birds.


KING: I'm not going to make it.

ROWE: Wow!

KING: I'm not going to make it through this show.

Let's go to break.


ROWE: Picking up owl vomit. It's a dirty job. This black stuff, that's vomit.

Without puking, they just -- what would happen?

I guess they would just blow up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, you can see the teeth sticking right out.

ROWE: No kidding?


ROWE: Oh, yes!

I saw that owl pellets are a lot like candy or cereal. There's a surprise in every package.




ROWE: (voice-over) Next to the dairy was an old grain bin. The only thing it holds now is owls and their vomit.

ROWE (on camera): I see vomit. I see poo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's a jackpot there.

ROWE: Yes. This is my lucky day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of it's very light. Some of it's very dense.

ROWE (voice-over): He was starting to get excited about those things.

ROWE (on camera): I think that's poo-encrusted vomit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's exactly what it is. Those are the good ones.

ROWE: It's like those chocolates you get in a box, you know. And every now and then there's a disappointing center, only it's disappointing on the outside and the inside.


LARRY KING, HOST: We're back. The hit show is "Dirty Jobs" on Discovery Channel. Mike Rowe is its host. He remains with us as does Lee Swanson, the honey wagon specialist, the septic tank cleaner, Matt Freund, professional poo pot maker. And we're joined by Don Cicoletti, avian vomitologist.

Don, I grew up with a lot of guys in Brooklyn not one wanted to be an avian vomitologist. What is an avian vomitologist?

DON CICOLETTI, AVIAN VOMITOLOGIST: That's a name I made up for a guy that picks up owl pellets.

KING: You pick up owl pellets.

CICOLETTI: Yes, it's...

KING: That's the poo of an owl?

CICOLETTI: No, it's the vomit.

KING: Oh, I'm sorry, the vomit of an owl.

CICOLETTI: Yes. They swallow their food whole. Their stomach fluids digest the meat and then about 12 hours later they regurgitate a pellet of hair and bones that the kids in school use for projects.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something to look forward to.

KING: How did you come to get into this?

CICOLETTI: Because I knew they didn't have owls in Brooklyn and I might be able to make a couple of bucks.

KING: Where did the idea come from?

CICOLETTI: Professor Slezneck (ph) -- he's old now.

KING: Oh, yes, I know.

CICOLETTI: But this was like 30 years ago and he actually started it.

KING: You inherited this business?

CICOLETTI: He was a professor at Washington State University. Yes, it's been a long time. I didn't inherit it. I would supply him with the pellets and he'd move them around all the schools.

KING: Where do you find the owls?

CICOLETTI: Trees, barns.

KING: How many people work for you? CICOLETTI: Just me.

KING: Just you. And you go out, the owl throws up, you gather the throw up?


KING: Put it in a what? You bring it.

CICOLETTI: Oh yes, I brought you some.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, Larry, you got to have one of these. Don always brings me treats whenever we see each other.

KING: I'll put it here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll slide one over there.

KING: So what do we call this?

CICOLETTI: It's technical. It's an owl pellet.

KING: And that's as it is, right? It hardens and eventually just dries and you give it to who?

CICOLETTI: I sell it to the kids in school?

KING: What do you mean the kids in school?

CICOLETTI: Well, in elementary school they would do pretty much basically what I'm doing, just taking it apart to find the bones in it, to see what they had just for the oddity of the whole thing. But by the time they're in college they have to identify what the animal is. All the bones are there. This is a -- this would be your basic mouse head.

KING: That's a mouse head.

CICOLETTI: Yes. And there's a lot of other bones in here, too.

KING: And kids in school...

CICOLETTI: Here's a jaw.

KING: All right.

CICOLETTI: Here's the tooth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the teeth, Larry, teeth sticking right out there.

KING: Yes.

Hey, Don, how many other people are doing this?

CICOLETTI: I don't know for sure, but there are more. KING: And how do you make it known? Do you call the school and say, listen, I've got owl vomit, would you like some?

CICOLETTI: When professor Slezneck (ph) retired, he sold his business to one of his students, and now he sends them all around the country.

KING: How do you market this?

CICOLETTI: At trade shows and on the net.

KING: Like a Ford show or a Chevrolet, you drop by with...

CICOLETTI: Yes, something that the teachers would go to. They go around...

KING: The National Education Association.

CICOLETTI: That's his job. I just deal with the owls.

KING: What do you charge for this?

CICOLETTI: Well, that's top secret.

MIKE ROWE, HOST, "DIRTY JOBS": You want to sell some or not, Don.

KING: I'm going to get you business here.

CICOLETTI: I really don't want to reveal that.

KING: Can you make good money doing this?

CICOLETTI: It keeps me alive. That's all I do.

KING: Les, would you do this?

LES SWANSON, SEPTIC TANK CLEANER: I did this when my kids were in sixth grade. We went out to a farm and...

KING: No, I mean would you go around looking for owls and hope they throw up?

SWANSON: Yes, we did. I would have bought them though I think if I had known that they were for sale. We had to go looking for our own.

CICOLETTI: It's actually a competitive business.

KING: Matt, this is right up your alley.


SWANSON: Something coming out of something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this one I haven't thought about it and I didn't have to do with my kids but it sounds pretty intriguing.

ROWE: I mean if you're a kid think how cool it is to know that there's a mouse or a mole in here and you can rearticulate it. You can put it together from a skeletal...

KING: I mean how did you like doing this, Mike?

ROWE: Wow, that's a good one, Les. I loved it actually.

KING: You loved it?

ROWE: Well, yes, I did. And you know the reason Don is so great on "Dirty Jobs" and the reason why I'll never forget him is he -- Don has a habit of saying things during the course of the day that you can imagine being a T-shirt and probably should be.

At one point, I looked to Don. He's all bent over, kind of jacked up leaning over something trying to reach for one of these things. And I said, "Don, you know, what are you doing?" And he said, "As long as I'm bent over I might as well pick something up." And I'm like that's kind of brilliant. We're all bent over.


ROWE: Yes, so you know...

KING: What's the rewards of the job, Don?

CICOLETTI: It's like a box of chocolates.

KING: That one has already been used. OK...

CICOLETTI: But you never know what you're going to get in there. The reward is I don't have to deal with people. And right now I'm sitting with you and all my birds are working for me.

KING: Good way to put it. They're all throwing up.

By the way, what are owls like?

CICOLETTI: Mike knows. He had one on his butt.

ROWE: Owls are very protective...

KING: They are?

ROWE: ...of their space. Yes, they are.

KING: Don't mess with them.

ROWE: Don't mess with an owl. I mean they're wise and all that. But they do that thing with their head, when it goes all the way around, the fear of God in you.

CICOLETTI: The horned owls can be mean. I've had them scratch me up. But the barn owls are just friendly as can be. KING: Did you ever think of maybe making potato chips?

Anyway, coming up later, Mike does his best to keep some swine neat as a pen and gets the inside info on how to tell if a cow is expecting.

But up next we go down the drain to find out where stuff ends up after it goes down the drain. You'll never look at a manhole cover quite the same way again. As we go to break, a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diapers, cigarettes, stuff I can't describe. You're giving me the shovel because oftentimes rats will come out and a man wants to be able to defend himself in some small way. A syringe and a glove, there must be doctors down here.

You've got my rake. Oh, no, I nearly lost the perfectly good cameraman down here.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a storm drain under every street in Los Angeles County, running from the mountains 51 miles to the ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suck it. Oh, oh, diapers. That's how you change a diaper.


KING: We're back. We're all assembled; Mike Rowe, Lee Swanson, Matt Freund, Don Cicoletti and now Johnny Pool.

That's your real name?

JOHNNY POOL, STORM DRAIN CLEANER: that's my real name.

KING: Storm drain cleaner. How did you get into that?

POOL: With the city of Los Angeles Storm Water Division. We started in '94.

KING: What were you doing before that?

POOL: I worked at the high premium treatment plant where they treated the sewer. And I heard that there was a new division starting up that would be cleaning storm drains.

KING: And you rushed right over?

POOL: I was interested.

KING: Couldn't wait to get there?

POOL: Couldn't wait to get there.

KING: Why?

POOL: Well, it's a rewarding job. This thing about keeping the environment clean, cleaning up the earth, global warming, keeping...

KING: Yes, but look at what you do, look at that.

POOL: But all of that leads to -- all the basin storm drains lead to the ocean.

KING: But why not let someone else do it?

POOL: Because I want to do it.

KING: Despite the side effects?

POOL: Despite the side effects. And you can get diseases from cleaning storm drains. We wear protective clothing. I'm wearing one of my protective shirts right now. We have hearing protection because the machine, the backer -- that machine that's built by the Vactor Manufacturing Company out of Illinois, this is what we use to clean our storm drains with. And it's a giant vacuum cleaner.

KING: What's it like, Mike?

ROWE: That vacuum thing will pull you inside out and take you right off the face of the earth. I've never seen anything like it. It's like an old Hoover on steroids or something. It's amazing. The thing could suck the asphalt off the street. I'm telling you. I've never seen anything like it. And the man operates it like a magician.

KING: All right, what's the job like?

ROWE: The job is different than going into a septic tank or a wastewater treatment plant because, like Johnny said, all of the stuff, all the litter -- I mean the litter is the least of it. You're talking about hypodermic needles. You're talking about knives. You're talking about anything.

KING: This is under Los Angeles?

ROWE: It's under the streets in the storm drains. And that stuff gets washed straight to the ocean. There's no filtering like it is, you know, in the sewage business. So Johnny's job is critical. He's literally on the front line of it because he's cleaning. He's keeping the stuff off the beaches and out of the waters.

KING: Don, would you do that job?


KING: Matt? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I would. I think he's got an important job and I think he takes it seriously. So it's not a bad. He gets a nice watch now and then.

KING: Les?

SWANSON: I'd love to have a Vactor.

CICOLETTI: They're a little pricey for me.

KING: Would you like to go down there with him and do it?

SWANSON: I'd like to try it, sure.

KING: Do they pay you well?

POOL: Very well. At least they pay me very well.

KING: Does the city of Los Angeles appreciate what you're doing because you're doing what very few would do?

POOL: The city of Los Angeles does appreciate it. But it's the residents, the people that live in Los Angeles. See, the rats, their habitat is trash, and you'll find trash in the storm drains.

KING: You see a lot of rats?

POOL: I've seen rats as large as 12, 13-week-old puppies underneath Los Angeles.

KING: Hey, Don, let's get over there.

POOL: And when we pull up to that location and these are two- men...

KING: Still want to go, Les?

POOL: ... they pull -- you know, they take out the lid. I put the vehicle in suction mode, get out there and the rats just scurry.

And if you keep the trash out of the storm drain, you do two or three things. You keep their population down plus you keep the trash from going to the ocean. We want to do whatever we can to keep the trash from the ocean because as a matter of fact, by the year 2010, we're looking to have no trash in all of our waterways.

KING: We're going to have an e-mail. We're going to have some phone calls. And we're going to ask our guest who makes the most cash for their so-called crappy job. We'll try to get the bottom line on this and whether they would want their kids to do it, when we come back.


ROWE: I feel something squishy. I feel -- oh, that's what I felt. Hold steady. Hold on a second. Oh, dear, I'm going in the wrong hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did go in the wrong hole.

ROWE: Good grief, she's about to have a baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she's probably about seven months.

ROWE: Movement, too, nibbling.


ROWE: The little calf is nibbling me. I'm going to need my arm back.


KING: We're black on LARRY KING LIVE. Making television can be a dirty job and there's our own dirty job crew hard at work in the L.A. control room. Take a look. Boy, isn't that a killer.


KING: Oh, look at that.

ROWE: Somebody get in there and help her. Oh, no.

CICOLLETI: They're exhausted.

KING: Don't kill yourselves.

Hey, you know what Johnny was telling me? You know what he's found down under the city of Los Angeles? And where are you? You're in storm drains. He's found guns that have led to arrests.

POOL: That's correct.

KING: Money, counterfeit money, once real money, body parts.

POOL: Femur bones.

KING: Femur bones and watches. You never have to buy a watch. That watch you found?

POOL: This watch I found. It's pure gold. It's not...

KING: Not a fake.

POOL: It's real. This is a Citizens watch. And I found that -- this watch along with another Citizens watch and a Seiko Kanesis watch in a storm drain full of water in a purse.

KING: Boy, do I want that job.

POOL: So I haven't bought a watch in 12 years.

KING: OK, who -- which of these, Mike, makes the most money? ROWE: Oh, we don't...

KING: I don't want to pry, but what would you guess?

ROWE: It's hard to know with Don. He keeps it close to the vest. My guess is he's got some crazy underground operation going on. You know...

CICOLETTI: If you've been to my house, you would know.

ROWE: ...I think -- well, you got -- you know Johnny is a municipal worker.


KING: A big dairy farm.

ROWE: Matt's got it going. Matt's got a thing. Matt's got a widget. You know this thing could change a lot of things.

KING: Les, do you vote for Matt?

SWANSON: Especially with milk prices the way they are nowadays. They're finally getting what they deserve.

KING: Yes, Matt almost in the oil business.


KING: All right, let's -- I'm going to grab...

ROWE: Yes, yes, I think really Larry is probably doing pretty well. I mean...


KING: We have an e-mail question from Beverly in Canyonville, Oregon. Watching the show where you were bitten several times by snakes, would you do another show with snakes?


ROWE: Oh well, you know, the snappy answer is no except for the fact that next week we're doing a big one. We were in Texas and we saw this giant billboard that said "Snake Farm." And it was a huge thing. And we went in and the guy had dozens of pythons, bigger than this table. And we spent the day there with that guy.

So if you like snakes, next week is big.

But the short answer is I try not to go back and repeat any of the jobs.

KING: That was the reason you didn't do it?

ROWE: Yes, that and a deep-seeded abject fear. KING: Yes. Let's take a call.

Ashton, Illinois for Mike and Les, Matt and Don, and Johnny, hello.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Mike. We just wanted to say we're great fans of yours and we thank you for your great personality. We were wondering what the worst -- the most worst memorable job that you've done that you would never do again and why?

ROWE: Well, I mean, the short answer I'm going to go with replacing a lift pump in a wastewater treatment plant, you know. I mean I came close to it with Les, but...

KING: Why was that the worse?

ROWE: Four-ton motor, bottom of a five-story silo, motor breaks, silo fills with raw sewage, man have to go around the sides and through a series of water-tight doors to get to climb on top of the pump, swim through the sewage, tie it off and then hang on as the whole thing is winched up through the top.

As I've said in the past, the sound the lift pump makes when it breaks the seal of poo that's been holding it to the floor will haunt you in your dreams.

KING: Johnny, would you do Don's job with the owls?

POOL: Yes.

KING: Don would not do your job.


KING: Matt, would you do Johnny's job?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I suppose I'd give it a shot. It might be interesting.

KING: Les, would you go with the owls?

SWANSON: Oh, yes. That's...

KING: I'm voting you the sickest only because you get the most excited about all these things.

ROWE: He's lethal.

KING: You're borderline, Les. You're borderline.

We're going to take a break and come back -- in our final segment, how do you tell if a -- how do you tell if a cow is pregnant? The host with the most disgusting job of the business gives us a lesson, him, in the bovine birds and bees when we come back.


ROWE: How many times does 39 go into 144, 20? The answer is 3.70, $3.70 per bite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, Mike, come on back up here and get to work. Quit playing around down here. We've got some hogs to feed.



KING: Welcome back. I wish I had more time.

Don't forget, you can download our podcast any time online. Past podcasts include interviews with Angelina Jolie and Paris Hilton. We just uploaded a new one. It's my interview with former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr along with widows of John Lennon and George Harrison. To download it, just go to or to

What's with the pregnancy, Mike?

ROWE: Well, you know, it's big business. Cows need to be pregnant in order to promulgate the species, et cetera, et cetera. Checking for pregnancies is important.

KING: To create business for...

ROWE: Of course. Yes, it's huge.

KING: What did you do?

ROWE: Well, what you're seeing right now is me reaching as far as I can into the rectum of a cow to feel through the wall into the top of the uterus to thereby determine the length of gestation.

KING: What was it like?

ROWE: It was like threading a squishy needle with a giant plump sausage. I don't even know what that means.

KING: I don't know what it means either.

We have an e-mail from Donna in Hopewell Junction, New York. "Mike, is your tetanus shot up-to-date?"

ROWE: My tetanus is fine. I'm a little concerned about the Hepatitis. But generally I think everything is -- I think the crew and I have developed a natural immunity to tell you the truth. We...

KING: Yes?

ROWE: ... we've become remarkably sturdy. KING: Let me get in one more call.

Lansing, Michigan, hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I just wanted to ask Mike what job scared you the most. And do you fear any long-term health benefits from all the jobs you're exposed to?

ROWE: You know the best thing about my job in particular, no offense to these gentlemen, but I get to leave at end of the day. So I don't have any abiding concerns, long term. But as far as fear, you know, mule logging in Tennessee was tough. Rough necking on an oil rig in Texas, Louisiana, very difficult. Working on a crap boat, you know very dangerous jobs. I think we've probably hit most of the dangerous.

KING: You may run out of jobs.

ROWE: I hope so. That would be great. The sooner the better.

KING: You're going to Alaska.

ROWE: Yes.

KING: Les, when are you next in your septic tank?

SWANSON: Monday morning.

KING: Monday morning.

CICOLETTI: Bright and early.

KING: When are you next out gathering cow poo?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be there Monday morning.

KING: Monday morning.

Don, when will you next be with your vomiting owls?

CICOLLETI: I'm not sure.

KING: OK, that's fair enough.

And Johnny, when will you be next out looking for a watch down in the storm drains?

POOL: As soon as I can get there.

KING: Can't wait, right, Johnny?

POOL: Can't wait.

KING: Boy, if you can get out of here and get right there right now...

POOL: Do it right now.

ROWE: I love it.

KING: Our guests have been Mike Rowe, Les Swanson, Matt Freund, Don Cicoletti, and Johnny Pool. All part of the very successful "Dirty Jobs" show airing on Discovery.

That's it for LARRY KING LIVE tonight. Our HAZ-MAT team is standing by outside to scrub down the set.

Tomorrow night, we replay our show with actor/comedian Robin Williams and Howard Stern's sidekick, Robin Quivers. And then on Sunday night, my interview with former "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington.

I hope you stick around now. We've got an encore airing of a CNN special presentation called "50 YEARIS OF POP CULTURE." It's a two- hour special I had the pleasure of doing with CNN's Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest.

Stay tuned for that. Have a good night and a great weekend. So long.