Murtz On The Scene: Exclusive Interview With Big Brother Canada‘s AJ Burman

If you have followed the online coverage of Big Brother Canada this season, it should come as no surprise that I was thoroughly disappointed with my friend, AJ Burman being sent home last night. While one could argue that AJ’s constant “Pawn Star” personna of voluntarily putting himself at risk finally caught up with him, I just wasn’t happy about the fact that he was instantly evicted without having the chance to play in a veto competition to save himself (although we all probably know that he would have likely lost that very contest).

AJ and I go back a long way as we went to highschool together, have watched pretty much every WWE PPV together and certainly both know reality television just about as well as anyone could know it from watching it at home. In fact, we even went to the Big Brother Canada open audition call together.

While I had my suspicions that AJ had made the cast, I was never really sure until I saw the cast reveal and the entire thing is still quite unbelievable to me.

With all that being said, it was with a heavy heart that I conducted this interview with AJ as I was hoping it would take place at the finale after he got his cheque and we were buying furniture at The Brick. I have always said that on a reality show, the goal should always be to make the jury and anything after that is a bonus. With that in mind, I believe that AJ played a pretty great game. I know that is an unpopular opinion, but the fact of the matter is that if you don’t like players who float, you do not know the game of Big Brother. The best strategy is to not make any enemies and wait for an opportunity at the midway point to make a move and that’s exactly what AJ tried to do… at least until the instant eviction that sent him packing.

So here it is. My post-game interview with my friend, AJ Burman.

Murtz Jaffer: I watched the episode with your entire family last night at your house including your parents, sister, niece and nephew. I have to say that this was a surreal experience for me because it was the first time I have known someone going into a reality show before they went in as I am used to befriending them after the fact. How tough was it to keep the secret?

AJ Burman: Really, really hard – especially from you, given how close we are as friends and how involved you are in reality TV.

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MJ: Did you notice me cheering for you on the day you moved into the house and can you elaborate on what your gameplan was going in?

AJB: Yes I noticed you in the crowd – you are easy to notice. My gameplan was to be the joker and everyone’s friend going into the house, and make everyone like me, especially the stronger men. It worked out for a while!

MJ: It’s clear that you were the victim of the twist. Is it more satisfying knowing that it was the instant eviction twist that sent you home rather than any kind of strategic miscalculation you made on your own?

AJB: Yes, it is a little bit reassuring that the person who put me up did not want me to go home, and it was her miscalculation that cost me and not my own.

MJ: This was the second time this season that a twist happened when you were on the block (the first being when Suzette was saved by Canada). How do you feel about the role of twists on reality television and were you upset you didn’t get a chance to win the veto?

AJB: I was upset that I didn’t get a chance to play for veto. The twists are something that the houseguests don’t like, because it feels like it takes the competition away from the players. As Emmett once said “They should change the name from Big Brother Canada to just ‘Twist”… he is a man of few words. We did anticipate things like this happening but we didn’t want them at all. We are all big fans of the show, so the house wanted to play more of a traditional form of Big Brother as we had pictured it. That said, we knew we were entering a competition where the rules change all the time. The twists did add to the random speculation, which became as much a part of our day as eating and sleeping.

MJ: Many people thought that your strategy of not winning competitions and volunteering to constantly go on the block as the pawn was crazy. Can you elaborate on whether this was by design, because if not for the twist, I feel like you were on cruise control until the final five.

AJB: Not winning competitions was not really strategy – I couldn’t win the ones I was in. I was playing against way more physical players and couldn’t beat them. I was okay with going up as a pawn because it was Suzette sitting next to me and I felt confident that she would be the one going home, because I knew the whole house wanted her out. I took on the role of “Pawn Star” because each time I was in a situation that I was sure was a sure thing. I wouldn’t have gone up as a pawn willingly against Andrew because at this point everyone has a potential of going home. Obviously!

MJ: It’s clear that you felt like you were in with the guys, when they clearly had more loyalty to each other. We all know that you were aligned with Andrew, but did you have any alliances with the rest of the guys who turned on by voting you out?

AJB: Alec. Peter, Andrew and I had a four way agreement of information. It wasn’t an official alliance. Andrew and AJ are both equal in that though, so obviously one of us was going to get evicted. I don’t feel like I was betrayed at all.

MJ: I put all of my money on a minority alliance between you specifically with you and my doppelganger Aneal but also including Talla, Gary, Topaz and Suzette. Did you ever consider this?

AJB: No! I never saw the parallel between you and Aneal, but now that you say it, so true! I definitely never considered playing with Suzette or Gary longterm, but I really wanted to play with Aneal – he just went too early. I was hoping Aneal would win something so that I could convince him to put up big targets. In the end I felt good with Andrew and Talla as my alliance – “The Three Stooges” – in the house.

MJ: Speaking of three things, the three things that that people will remember the most about your stint on Big Brother are your purple zip-up, your strategic conversations with yourself and referring to yourself in the third person. Were you conscious of all three while in the house?

AJB: I’m surprised about the purple sweater, the fact that it is so popular, but I do like wearing it, and will keep wearing it outside the house. I know I talk to myself a lot and it actually comes from growing up watching Days of Our Lives, as the characters do that a lot, especially my favourite, Stefano DiMera. AJ enjoys referring to himself in the third person, much like one of my favourite wrestlers, The Rock. I do it in my regular life, and it came naturally in the house as well.

MJ: This season was filled with showmances and how much did the presence of these couples affect the moves that you could make in the house?

AJB: It does affect the moves you can make. The showmances become big targets, but if you take a shot at one person in a showmance you have to be ready to take on both. This necessitates putting them on the block together a la Tom and Liza. What’s interesting is that the people in the showmances were pushing Talla and I together a lot, and I felt that was strategy on their part to get another couple to share the target with them. Although Talla and I were aligned we didn’t want to put that target on our backs.

MJ: Who would you like to see as the next jury member and who would you like to see win?

AJB: I want to see Andrew win. I would like to see Topaz as the next juror because it will make for some interesting TV.

MJ: See you soon man.

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